How Retale GO Helps Consumers To Find Store Info, Locations By Voice

"Voice technology is ushering in a whole new phase of brand-consumer communication — driven by machine learning," said Retale Managing Director Nels Stromborg.

Voice-activated device usage has jumped 130 percent over the past year as consumers have grown increasingly comfortable with issuing a variety of commands to their intelligent assistants — and voice-based commerce isn’t far behind.

It’s with this in mind that Retale, a place-based shopping app that promotes discovery via store discounts, launched Retale GO, a shopping information assistant for Amazon Echo and Google Home.

With it, “consumers can find localized shopping information just by asking their devices,” said Nels Stromborg, managing director at Retale. “They can request store information from over 320,000 locations — all via our network of retail partners in the U.S.”

Stromborg talked to GeoMarketing about why marketers need to think about voice and image search now — and how to tie new voice content to their existing marketing efforts.

GeoMarketing: What was the impetus for creating Retale GO? Why did you think it was important to create a shopping information assistant for these voice-activated devices, and what does it offer to marketers?

Nels Stromborg: Our mission to be the ultimate mobile shopping companion for consumers. To meet that objective, we must be where our shoppers are; we must make it easy for them to get the information they’re looking for, when they need it. As new platforms emerge, we have to push the boundaries of digital innovation and transform that shopping experience to incorporate these new technologies.

Retale GO does just that. With it, consumers can find localized shopping information just by asking their devices. They can request store information from over 320,000 locations — all via our network of retail partners in the U.S.

This type of capability and channel is a huge value for marketers. It [can create] a true one-to-one communication, providing an instant, hands-free conversation between shoppers and their favorite brands, fitting into the normal flow of a person’s day. It’s a more personal and convenient approach to commerce and engagement that shoppers are demanding more than ever.

Audio and voice are having a renaissance. How are you seeing this impact brand/consumer communication across the board?

Voice technology is ushering in a whole new phase of brand-consumer communication, driven by machine learning. Keep in mind, voice assistants are essentially consumer-packaged AI tools. These devices have the potential to transform the way that people interact with the Internet, computers and brands, breaking down the barriers between them and putting them on the same communication plane – it’s a frictionless experience. The result is a new form of personalized, “always-on” interaction for consumers that is hands-free, instant and accessible right from within their own home.

This creates a prime opportunity for brands, advertisers and marketers. It enables them to connect with consumers during those key “micro-moments” when consumers are prepping for shopping trips, doing product research and more. But, to fully take advantage of the potential of voice-powered technology, marketers will need to reshape their current approaches and begin to view voice as a primary touchpoint for consumers.

Voice searches already make up 20 percent of all mobile queries according to Google. So, to hit the ground running, marketers must look for creative ways to push content via voice, while also tying it into their existing marketing efforts to build out a further reaching ecosystem that works across platforms to drive sales.

As voice search continues to grow like this, ads are “invading” Amazon’s Echo and other voice assistants. But how can brands navigate this new technology and deliver actually exciting and relevant experiences?

To be successful, brands, marketers and advertisers need to realize the uniqueness of the technology. Given voice is much more interactive and verbally-driven, developing experiences for the channel is a completely different ballgame compared to mobile, web and other visual-based mediums. Too often, marketers simply recycle campaigns across channels. But with voice, it offers a completely unique format, with its own differentiated opportunities and challenges. Understanding that before diving in is key.

Brands must also make sure to provide valuable, relevant information that shoppers actually want, while also removing the traditional friction of shopping. If it doesn’t do that, frankly, it will annoy the hell out of consumers.

From there, brands must ensure they are not becoming overbearing by pushing unwanted content on to customers. Voice experiences must feel native to the platform and the information that is being offered must be something that the consumers are actively looking for.

How is consumer adoption of both IoT devices and these voice-activated intelligent assistants changing the marketing landscape? What will might the “connected intelligence” space look like going forward?

Brands should potentially focus more on the data streams they might be able to access from IoT versus thinking about ways to market to people in those experiences. For example, take smart refrigerators. Would you want ad’s on your refrigerator? Would you want 30-second video pre-roll every time you run out of yogurt? Probably not.

Instead, what might be more useful would be to take what your fridge knows about what you consume, and then connect that knowledge to your shopping list. Or take that data, and use it to influence the design of your products — for example, create packaging that is sized differently because people are consuming it long before it’s expiration date. Theoretically, CPG companies could push consumers with sequential offers to save money over time based upon their actual consumption. There is no question that these IoT devices are going to be widely adopted, and the data that is being gathered is almost unimaginable.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.