Will Alexa Conversations Impact Consumer Research?

“Alexa, what’s today’s date?” It’s a common question asked of the reported 100 million Amazon Alexa devices sold. Yet until now, any conversation has been somewhat stilted and needing to be prefaced by “Alexa”.

Amazon, though, is planning to make interactions more natural by eradicating the need to say her name repeatedly and increasing the device’s flexibility. Its promotional video shows that an initial question, like “Alexa, what movies are playing nearby?”, can be followed by movie selection, ticket purchase, and plan making for the rest of the night – without the user needing to repeat the opening command. This is likely to change the way that people shop, adding a new lens when researching consumer decisions in things like path to purchase.

Alexa has the edge on assistants like Google Home because it uses algorithms that guess the user’s next question. So how could Alexa and similar devices make their way into the research world? If Alexa becomes smarter and conversational, this suggests that it could be used for questioning and response. Some agencies are already using voice assistants to hear consumers’ voices. Amazon’s corporate muscle, plus the recent Alexa Conversations announcement, means we’re likely to see some major developments in this area.


This was first published in AQR InBrief September 2019 Issue.