Amazon Alexa has always been a subtle medium to help customers build their shopping lists. Moving forward, besides Amazon, even brands and businesses will be able to suggest their products and services. Under the just-announced “Customers Ask Alexa” program, Amazon will plug in promotional messages from companies that choose to submit answers to commonly asked questions.
The days of Alexa offering generic but helpful, and certainly short, answers to frequently asked questions seem limited. Until recently, Alexa offered generic tips sourced from the Internet, to common queries such as “How to remove carpet stains?” or “How to reduce pet shedding?”.
Amazon’s Alexa will now listen to such queries and could offer a response in the form of a subtle advertisement. Essentially, Customers Ask Alexa could creatively turn answers into product spots. The official blog post announcing the new initiative said the following:
Brands registered with Amazon Brand Registry will see the new Customers Ask Alexa feature in Seller Central, where they can easily discover and answer frequently asked customer questions using self-service tool. Customers Ask Alexa will be available to shoppers via the Amazon search bar in late 2022 and via Echo devices in mid-2023.
Amazon recognizes brands as experts on their products. With this new capability, we have made it easier for brands to connect with customers to help answer common questions and better inform their purchase decisions.
Interestingly, Amazon has stressed that brands don’t sponsor or pay for the feature. This implies that Amazon isn’t earning directly from businesses, via the Customers Ask Alexa feature. The online retail giant has further assured that all brand-submitted answers will be subject to content moderation and quality checks. The program will begin next month and will be limited to a select few users of Alexa via an invite-only system. Amazon is planning a broader rollout in 2023 in the US.