It might still be a little early, but fashion and voice tech are starting to connect.
One of the most obvious signs is Amazon’s Style Check feature, available through the company’s Alexa-powered Echo Look selfie camera. But that’s just the start. Alexa and Google Assistant, as the two dominant voice services, are ushering in a growing lineup of shopping opportunities and services.
Alexa alone offers more than 50,000 skills — including a burgeoning array of fashion and beauty features — and Google has been emphasizing its own Shopping Actions, which connect people and stores using Google Express, Google Home and the Google Assistant.
What’s perhaps most exciting, and unnerving, right now is that there is no gold standard for how retailers and brands should be using voice assistants. So companies are dabbling in a variety of use cases, from styling and advice to actual order placement and customer service.
Here’s a quick look at 12 retailers joining the chorus.
Shoppers who have purchased from eBags can rely on Alexa to ask about orders and receive status updates on shipments.
Shoppers planning a trip to the Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach, Calif., can learn about store details and information about on-site amenities — like food options, valet location and restroom facilities — ahead of time with Alexa.
Gwynnie Bee’s voice support ranges from a branding exercise to account management tool. Alexa users can learn about the apparel rental subscription service through an “interactive adventure story” that walks them through the fundamentals. If they sign up for the free trial and connect their accounts, they can start or open their Gwynnie Bee closets, check reward points, initiate returns, offer sizing feedback and check up on deliveries.
Echo device users can ask Alexa what Today’s Special is, listen along to the Home Shopping Network’s live TV broadcast or search their favorite products or personalities.
Kiko Milano Cosmetics
Beauty customers can ask Alexa about orders and get status updates.
Kohl’s customers are able to browse and shop using both Alexa and the Google Assistant, which can unearth the most popular, highest-rated products or the best deals.
Alexa users can ask for store locations, hours, return policy and info on events and its Star Rewards program. The department store also offers a bit of fun: Consumers can hit up their Echo speakers to get a morning affirmation from Macy’s.
The high-end department store uses voice for customer service, allowing users of both Alexa and the Google Assistant to ask about purchases or get order updates.
The “Ask Perry Ellis” Alexa skill offers voice-activated personal styling for men. Users can ask what to wear for an occasion, and receive suggestions based on local weather or dress code, with recommendations arriving via e-mail with product links to perryellis.com.
With the REI Co-op voice assistant, Alexa can tell users all about the outdoor retailer’s Deal of the Day, its store locations, equipment rentals and latest info on sales, classes and other events.
“Tarjay” shoppers can buy and reorder using the Google Assistant. Target was the first to implement a voice coupon through a test this spring, which allowed shoppers to activate the $15 coupon by talking — or typing — the code phrase “spring into Target” using their Google Home speaker or Google Assistant mobile app. The promo proved very popular — so much so that a Target representative said at the time that the offer ended early because it hit its goals so quickly.
Walmart has made millions of its best-selling products available through the Google Assistant. Users can add items to a shopping cart or buy them directly. And the big-box retailer’s partnership with the search giant lets consumers link their Walmart and Google accounts together, making it easier for them to reorder favorites. The chain also offers an Alexa skill called Walmart Stories, which expounds on how the retailer uses cool technologies to shape the staff and customer experience.