Why Your Business Should Have an Alexa Skill

Remember when the App Store was launched in 2008? The response from companies ran the gamut, from completing ignoring it to viewing it as a vital part of their offerings. The Alexa skill library is now at an inflection point. Voice-enabled services are the future, so companies that get in on the ground level expose themselves to a world of novel opportunities. Will your company take advantage of these opportunities? Does it make sense for your business to embrace voice?

Consumers love voice

With more than 30 million Echoes in the U.S., it’s clear that there is a strong (and growing) base for Alexa skills. These users are the early adopters in the voice revolution, but they will not be alone for long. As more consumers realize the value of interacting via a conversational layer, they will prefer to work with companies that provide voice interactions. In addition, there are many other Alexa-enabled devices on the market, with more expected to come. Amazon’s voice-enabled devices have experienced significant growth, since other companies are recognizing the power of voice and tapping into the Alexa system. By positioning yourself in this space early, you stand the best chance of growing with the increasing market.

The market can change, so be ready

While Google’s Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana and Apple’s Siri are part of the voice landscape, Alexa is dominating the market. In 2017, Echo speakers cornered 71 percent of the market, with Google at a mere 24 percent. However, when it comes to technology, anything goes: The voice market is heating up, and competition will become increasingly fierce as businesses begin to understand and capitalize on the technology. Understanding how Alexa skills work and creating your own skills are core to branching off with other brands, which utilize a similar approach to development.

Get your brand out there

The learning curve for using voice-enabled services is much lower than that for using text-based services, which increases native engagement dramatically. Creating a positive interaction with users can help boost your brand image and spread the word organically about your products or services. Entertainment companies especially stand to benefit from voice (right now, more than 50 percent of users tap voice-enabled services for entertainment, such as reading books or listening to music). However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for other types of companies, especially as the voice market evolves. Take, for example, the way Zyrtec has created a useful skill for allergy sufferers to be able to evaluate the pollen count and other factors before leaving home.

Amazon initially swore off advertising with its Alexa skills, but it could change its mind. Recently, CNBC noted that the tech giant is in talks with large companies about their involvement in voice-enabled advertising, which would likely involve a search ranking system biased toward paying sponsors. Allowing paid advertising on via Alexa would allow marketers to explore a whole new way of reaching current and potential customers.

A brand new market – time to create an Alexa skill

The best thing about entering the Alexa skill space is that the market is still relatively small. With fewer players, you can fail early and often with little repercussion to your bottom line (yes, you might need to develop multiple skills before hitting on the one consumers like best). Being early to market also means you will not be likely to damage your brand if your skill is a flop. (In most situations, users will simply ignore your skill.) However, there’s no need to fail in this space: There are still plenty of needs that users have to meet, and they are willing to open the door to businesses that provide a valuable skill.

Deciding whether your brand needs to develop a skill depends on your company’s mission, values and goals. For those who are looking to the future, developing a useful Alexa skill that meets customer needs can be an effective way to support your business’s mission. If your business is considering entering the voice market, an Alexa skill could be a good jumping off point. Need a little help getting started with your Alexa idea? Contact us today to see how you can get your Alexa skill developed.

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