Tesco’s research department Tesco Labs has announced the release of new Google Home applets, using voice activation to order grocery items online.
Spurred by the recent release of Google Home in the UK, the company uses the If This Then That channel (IFTTT.com) to support adding products to a shopper’s basket via search term. For example a shopper could request to “add milk to my Tesco basket” or “buy more eggs”. To set it up shoppers need Google Assistant and Tesco accounts and to have both connected to IFTTT, where the applet can then be activated.
Competition in voice activated technology has stepped up a gear in recent months as Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple’s Siri all battle for supremacy and aim to win customers. After many years of voice technology being available, it appears that this is finally starting to take off as we find more ways to use and integrate this into our daily lives.
Tesco’s app is as yet in its infancy, but it certainly appears to have potential. The retailer’s Tesco Labs division previously had a Google Glass app to add items to shopper baskets and this latest move is another bid to keep up with technology trends. However, it is a wise one as voice activation appears to have a significant future role to play, particularly online where shoppers are usually busy, on the move, and have limited screen capacity for complex tasks such as browsing an entire grocery store. Digital assistants could surely add value here.
In the foodservice sector voice technology has already been integrated into apps, such as Starbucks’ My Starbucks barista, which has been available to Apple customers since January. The company also launched a Starbucks Reorder Skill on Amazon Alexa, allowing customers to order via voice. Tesco will not be the only grocery company testing and continuing to develop this technology. It will be interesting to see which platform(s) ultimately succeed in becoming an essential addition to our daily lives.