The voice-activated assistant is gaining currency with consumers.
Use of the devices is growing like gangbusters. Research from eMarketer shows that as many as 35 million Americans will use voice-activated hardware at least once monthly this year, up 128 percent from last year. The two dominant players of standalone devices, of course, remain Amazon’s Echo speaker and Google Home. Then there’s the plethora of offerings across mobile devices.
The digital helpers, of course, can be used for everything from gathering information to scheduling the day to controlling appliances.
And now those virtual assistants (including those offered by companies other than Amazon and Google) can help gain points, too.
Today Bridge2 Solutions, a software-as-a-service platform technology company, debuted Points Pal, which is being billed as the first voice-activated experience for rewards offerings, able to be deployed across virtual assistants.
The company said the commands, across everything from Alexa to Cortana, can be directed to the assistants after the command “open Points Pal.” As the company said in its statement, the offering is designed to help “unlock the $160 billion in alternative currencies, provide point ubiquity and drive loyalty to brands.” As noted in PYMNTS earlier this year, U.S. consumers hold 3.8 billion memberships across loyalty programs, up 15 percent from the year before, as estimated by COLLOQUY’s Loyalty Census.
Moving beyond traditional applications tied to desktop or mobile applications, Bridge2 noted the voice interaction extends to embrace various facets of the eCommerce experience. Spoken user commands can delve into the intricacies of how many points an individual has accrued in their rewards program, what was in the shopping cart the last time around or what is the point price to redeem something. Consumers can also combine rewards points and a payment card to make a purchase.
The firm said Points Pal merges next-generation technologies and removes barriers across consumer devices, thus allowing users to start a voice-interactive event on one device, such as a virtual assistant, and then complete the action (whether it was search- or transaction-related) on either the same device or another, such as a mobile phone or tablet. While currently focused on redeeming points for tangible items ranging from books to computers to gift cards, travel rewards and other experiential events will also be offered at some point in the future.
Larry Wine, chief commercial officer at Bridge2, said in a statement, “We are very excited to be able to continually enhance the shopping experience with reward currencies to give the consumer even more flexibility.” He also added that “Future Points Pal enhancements include streamlining the voice commands to deliver the equivalent of a ‘one-click purchase,’ and having the voice-activated devices present personalized recommendations based on prior purchase behavior with reward currencies.”