Wendy’s Hints at Voice Commerce Intentions with New Promotion

Wendy’s app

Hey, Wendy, which contextual commerce technologies are you working on to succeed in the rapidly evolving digital marketplace?

Wendy’s Canada announced Monday (Sept. 27) that, to promote its new app, the restaurant is holding a contest to give out 20 Wendy’s-branded smartphones with a “Wendy” voice assistant. While the phone itself may be a publicity stunt, the inclusion of a voice assistant that responds to the spoken phrase “Hey, Wendy” suggests that the company is looking into voice-activated integrations.

After all, if the chain has already developed the technology, it seems unlikely that this will be the last we see of it. Voice commerce is among the more promising areas into which leading restaurant brands, aiming to stand out against digital competitors, are looking.

By the Numbers

Many major quick-service restaurant (QSR) chains, including Domino’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Wingstop, have already made forays voice ordering through voice assistants such as Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant.

Adoption of voice commerce has been on the rise since the initial outbreak of the coronavirus. PYMNTS’ 2020 How We Will Pay study, created in collaboration with Visa, found the share of consumers making purchases via voice assistant was already at that point up 42 percent since 2018 and up 10 percent since 2019, and the technology has only grown more popular as the pandemic has progressed.

Additionally, PYMNTS data find that the consumers engaging with voice ordering technologies are among the most valuable group to win over. PYMNTS’ The Bring-It-To-Me Economy report, created in collaboration with Carat from Fiserv, finds 89 percent of consumers who shop via voice assistant are ordering online more now than they had been before the pandemic began. In contrast, only 52 percent of consumers who do not shop using voice assistants are buying online more now than they did before.

Read more: Deep Dive: QSRs Find Their Voice

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What the Experts Are Saying

Contextual commerce initiatives such as this voice assistant allow brands to turn more moments into sales opportunities, engaging with consumers in more parts of their lives.

“There are more channels and more places for merchants to actually embed themselves in experiences and contexts that consumers are looking for,” Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer, told Karen Webster in a recent interview. “That relevant context is driving a tremendous new wave of buying activity, and a shift in where and how people are actually engaging in commerce.”

Additionally, by building a more intimate connection with consumers, voice assistants have a unique opportunity to drive spending.

“I think with voice, we are going to find that customers are more and more okay with giving up the nearly infinite selection choice over to Alexa, to narrow it down for them,” Amazon Pay Head of Product Kris Zanuldin told Karen Webster in an interview last year. “And I think that’s where we envision it in the future. It’s a road to get there — but eventually, just like any trusted friend, you will ask for a recommendation. And more likely than not, you’ll take advantage of that resource.”

Related news: Payoneer CEO Says Amazon Created Its Own Competition By Teaching SMBs How to Sell Online

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