Target Brings Voice Coupons to Google Home

In March, Target ran a $15 coupon promotion for Google Home and Google Assistant users. The coupon was designed to promote orders by voice for Target through the Google Express online store. Anyone who claimed the coupon has until April 21st to claim their discount. Originally, Target had planned to run the coupon program through that date, but the company told Adweek in an email that the program met its goals early and is no longer available.

“The ‘Spring Into Target’ promotion was offered via Google Express with voice to provide our guests a convenient way to tap into the new seasonal products at Target this spring. … The promotion was popular and we hit our goals early. … Guests who activated the offer still have until April 21 to redeem.”

When you could claim the coupon, the response was:

“Three cheers for Spring! You’ve unlocked the Spring promo. Save up to $15 on your next order from Target on Google Express. You can order essentials like paper towels, laundry detergent, and trash bags. To try it out, ask me to order something you need from Target.”

AndroidPolice did report that some users had an issue when Google Assistant recorded “in to” instead of “into.” Those users needed to edit the text manually in Google Assistant on their smartphones to “into” in order for the coupon to be activated. It appears that the coupon could not be used completely with a voice shopping order flow. AndroidPolice suggested that the credit appeared in the Google Express app on Android and iOS after asking for it by voice, but the user was required to click “apply” to take advantage of the coupon. So, it was not a complete voice shopping experience since there is a requirement to use a visual app to claim the discount.

Growing Interest and Use of Voice Commerce

Duane Forrester, vice president of industry insights for Yext, told Adweek that he sees the popularity of this program as evidence that voice assistant use extends beyond, “simply playing music and asking about the weather.”

“Maybe we’re witnessing a growing body of evidence of people trying to do things like check their bank balances and talk to doctors—or at least a desire to do those things. This could be a situation where Google has that data and said people are willing to shop, so let’s enable that. And to encourage them, we will offer this coupon to kickstart it.”

A recent survey by Voicebot, PullString and RAIN found clear evidence of consumer interest and use of voice commerce today. Smart speaker owners told us that 26% had made a purchase through their devices and 11.5% were doing so monthly. Another 16.7% of the general population beyond smart speaker owners expressed interest in using voice commerce. Google and Target are simply taking advantage of this interest.

The First Voice Coupon

This is not the first coupon program associated with Google Home and Google Express. In October, Google and Walmart ran a program that gave users that purchased a Google Home or Google Home Mini a $25 credit for shopping through Google Express. However, that was not a voice-accessed coupon. You received the coupon for an order of a Google Home device which was done through a visual flow. The Target coupon is the first known coupon that could be requested directly by voice.

Google introduced voice commerce through Google Assistant and Google Home in late 2017 and the Target experiment is further evidence that promotions are popular. In fact, Voicebot’s survey found that nearly 37% of all Google Home users have made a voice shopping purchase. That is a higher percentage than owners of Amazon Echo smart speakers. Google extended voice commerce capabilities in March 2018 with a series of capabilities that Google Assistant app developers can add their voice apps to support shopping. All of these data points suggest voice shopping can tap into existing consumer interest and that voice assistants are destined to become a significant channel for ecommerce sales.

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