Retail

eCommerce Firm Ocado Launches Skill For Amazon Alexa

As consumers get busier and more digitally savvy, their need for new tools to help them manage the simpler aspects of life grows as well. Many companies have responded by adding skills to Amazon's personal assistant device, Alexa, and now eCommerce firm Ocado Technology has joined the fray with its own skill that aims to make grocery shopping simpler.

Ocado’s new skill allows consumers to ask Alexa to add items to their grocery orders by voice command. Shoppers can simply say, “Alexa, ask Ocado to add milk to my order,” and the device will ensure that the milk is on their shopping list, a press release from the company said. Those Ocado shoppers who already have confirmed orders on the site will see the item added to the existing order, while those who haven’t scheduled deliveries will find the requested item in their shopping carts until they schedule a delivery.

Ocado’s new technology also allows Alexa users to chat about the grocery order in general as well. Asking the device a question like, “Alexa, did I add potato chips to my order?” or “How much is the total of my order?” will also prompt quick responses from the virtual assistant, the company said.

Because Ocado trained Alexa to understand the 15,000 most-searched items on its grocery portal, Ocado.com, it adds an item to a user’s grocery cart based on what that shopper has purchased in the past. For instance, if a shopper buys a specific size of Ocado’s private-label mature cheddar cheese every week and then asks Alexa to add cheese to the list, that specific type of cheese will be added. If a particular item is out of stock, the Ocado skill will notify the shopper via Alexa and offer alternatives, the company said.

Fans of Alexa may find even more skills coming to the device in the near future, as Amazon recently announced that it would open the Alexa program to outside developers.

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