British Florist Becomes the First Voice Commerce Retailer for Flowers Through Alexa in the UK
Flower delivery company Interflora has launched the first voice commerce Alexa skill in the United Kingdom. The skill allows people to buy and send flowers through the voice assistant, using Amazon Pay to conduct transactions by voice.
The Interflora skill is accessible on all Alexa-enabled devices. Once they ask Alexa to open the voice app, customers can pick from a list of bouquets and arrange to have them delivered by one of the 1,200 florist partners whenever they choose. The voice app makes recommendations for potential bouquets as well, using the timing of the delivery and the occasion to make a shortlist. Users can state their preferences for color and species of flowers to help the voice app design their bouquet as well. If the skill is used on a smart display like the Echo Show, the user can see what the bouquet will look like on the screen. Interflora’s skill can also suggest a good message for the attached card or transcribe a dictated message from the purchaser to put into the card. The Interflora skill also offers suggestions and ideas for caring for plants and flowers upon request.
“As market leaders we’re delighted to be first to market in the UK with such great technology, alongside Amazon,” Interflora head of ecommerce Jim Clark said in a statement. “Our passion lies in connecting people and helping them to share a moment or emotion with someone special. To make that possible with just your voice feels really exciting. People lead such busy lives so we have developed our skill with our customers in mind, making it as quick and easy as possible to order flowers. It feels like a natural step for us to be there when it’s convenient for people.”
Voice Commerce Blossoms
Interflora’s spot as the first retail voice commerce skill in the UK comes at the cusp of a growing trend. Send Me a Sample, a marketing company that specializes in voice interactive campaigns has run projects where people can ask Alexa for a free sample of DKNY perfume or Nutella, among other brands. Those efforts were not retail sales, but they help set the stage for people to be comfortable with the idea.
In the U.S. the list of stores that allow shopping by voice is getting longer every month. The number of people shopping using a voice assistant is commensurately expanding, faster even than previously predicted. Market data aggregator eMarketer recently projected that 31 million Americans will shop by smart speaker this year, an upward revision from the 22.7 million predicted at the end of last year. According to Voicebot’s survey data, 26.1% of smart speakers owners have tried at least once to buy something by voice as of January 2019. That represented about 6.8% of U.S. adults at the time of the survey with 3.9% saying they had become monthly voice shoppers. While the UK may not reach that level in the next year, there’s no reason to think Interflora will remain alone in turning to voice assistants to sell its products.