With Alexa Buying Products Is As Easy As Saying “Yes”


Alexa-swear-930x477Amazon’s Alexa, a virtual assistant that allows users to add voice commands by speaking into the Echo speakers, can now order over a Million products on Amazon. According to The Verge, ” if you say, “Alexa, enable NBC News,” or “Alexa, enable Fitbit” or “Alexa, enable Dad-Bot”  to an Echo speaker, the smart software will add those third-party skill sets to your set up, so you can issue more voice commands for those apps”.

With Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Fire TV, you can order over a Million products available on Amazon. The Voice Command has been activated for Amazon Prime subscribers. The Virtual Assistant cannot order apparel, shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Fresh, Prime Pantry, Prime Now, or Add-On items.

Virtual assistant Ordering brings a new challenge to the Virtual assistant space where brands were vying for conversational commands and adding skills such as making a shopping list or checking the flight status. Amazon Alexa’s Skills Kit was recently upgraded with 1400 Skills that allow users to enable Skills from Third Party Apps by simply speaking into the speakers with the command “Alexa Enable”.  “Now people who own devices like the $180 Echo and the $130 Amazon Tap can enable new skills, or capabilities, simply by saying, “Alexa, enable” and then saying the name of the desired skill. Until now, you had to retrieve your phone or tablet, find the skill, and turn it on.”. according to Venture Beat. Some of the updates on Amazon’s Alexa are:

  • There are now over 1,400 Alexa skills and the catalog has grown by 50 percent in just over one month
  • Customers have made over 3 million requests using the top 10 most popular Alexa skills
  • Since January 2016, selection of Alexa smart home API skills has grown by more than 5x

A comparison of Google Home scheduled for launch later in the year and Amazon’s Alexa shows Amazon is far ahead in the game, though Google Home has unique features such as the synced audio playback to multiple devices.


With a  Virtual Assistant Interface, the buyer journey is now redefined as users can now buy products with voice commands. The Path To Purchase is redefined to  “No Click Ordering” with the Virtual Assistants.


Five Golden Rules To Win With User Generated Content


UGC, User Generated Content  resonates better with the conversion rates for UGC being 5X higher. Brands have reportedly seen an increase of 10 percent in conversion rates when User generated content has been used in the buyer journey. While Sweepstakes is a commonly used tactic to expand reach for your campaigns, UGC helps you target your existing customers creating a deeper bond with your brand. According to a Forrester research on UGC,  User Generated content is helpful through all stages of buyer journey, making it a key tactic for new product launches.

Consumers research more and more products online and on the go. Consumers don’t just research big-ticket items like cars or computers, they research everyday purchases like toothpaste and cereal. 

Marketers view user-generated content as a critical tool during the early stages of the customer life cycle. 

Marketers employ UGC as a key component of new product launches. For leading consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers, user-generated content has become a key tactic for new product launches — the lifeblood of CPG brands

Awareness Campaigns For Storytelling

Campaigns that are designed to harness the power of UGC require an awareness campaign that positions the campaign to be unique enough for audiences to react, engage and share. Generating awareness with existing fans and followers can increase conversions from your Sweepstakes Contest.

In a User Generated Content Campaign, Under Armour has effectively used Video advertising to create awareness with a YouTube video to promote the contest with hashtags #RuleYourself and #IWill.

 Customer Centricity

Consumers have a world of content to choose from. If you are too self-serving, you will turn customers away. Instead, focus on your customers’ needs to provide value-added content that puts customer first, product or brand second. Include ratings and reviews wherever possible.

At the same time harness the power of endorsement, turning referrals into a point that creates compelling messages for your audience.

According to Forrester’s report,  “Harness the power of peer-to-peer endorsements by sharing them widely. Incorporate stellar ratings or innovative product uses into point-of-sale materials and online or mobile ads. One CPG manufacturer learned that display ads that incorporate ratings and reviews drove higher web traffic and conversion than ads without such information”.
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J C Penney’s “Penney Days” Campaign Focuses On Modern American Mom



Emphasizing the focus on Mobile and Online consumer J C Penney launched “Penney Days” to drive shareholder value by growing revenue with a top line growth strategy. The spring marketing campaign that launched earlier this month is backed by a brand strategy that focuses on shifting the consumer perception for quality brands  and private labels available at the stores, emphasizing the purchasing power of a penny by offering select merchandise for one cent with the other pair bought at the regular price.  The campaign idea is based on making  every shopping trip in stores and at jcp.com worth the customer’s time, money and effort. Penney will continue to roll out other items for a penny throughout the year.

The campaign has a bigger message on social media.


Get Your Penny’s Worth

“We want to be the shopping mecca for the modern American mom, which means we need to dimensionalize the idea of worth. We know our customers live very busy lives and we want every trip and interaction at JCPenney to be worth her time, her hard earned money and her effort,” said Mary Beth West, chief customer and marketing officer for JCPenney. “The launch of this new brand promise underscores our strategic focus on building private brands and revenue per customer to create sustainable loyalty. If JCPenney can help her discover the things she loves more easily, innovatively and consistently than anyone else, we know she`ll come back for more.”

JCPenney rolled out its first week long Penney Days event starting Feb. 28 in stores and at jcp.com.

Perception Shifters

Research showed that many consumers underestimated the selection of quality brands and merchandise available at JCPenney , as well as the style and value offered by private brands. These perception shifters will be highlighted in national magazine ads showcasing the Company’s fashion and home collections this spring.

Omnichannel Focus

JCPenney’s adjusted EPS in Q4, 20115 grew to USD0.39 from USD0.04 in the comparable quarter of the previous year. The improvement in JCPenney’s earnings was driven by higher sales and improved gross margins. JCPenney continues to enhance its omnichannel capabilities. In Q4 2015, the company began to test the “Order Online, Pick Up In Store” facility in over 10 percent of the stores. The company plans to roll out the facility throughout the chain prior to the back-to-school selling season this year. The company is also focused on enhancing its mobile channel, as reported by Market Realist.

The key initiatives planned for the year are:

  • The company will be focusing on the growth of Sephora stores-within-stores. The company plans to open approximately 60 new Sephora locations in fiscal 2016.
  • The company plans to promote “Get Your Penney’s Worth,” a unique promotional campaign that makes select items from the company’s assortment of private brands available for just a penny.
  • The company plans to upgrade the center core shopping area of over one-third of the company’s stores. This center core area is adjacent to Sephora stores-in-stores and includes fashion jewelry, handbags, sunglasses, and fashion accessories.


Among the Bricks and Mortar Retail stores Target has taken the lead in Digital sales with a Millennial focus. According to MarketWatch,  Target  said digital sales during the fourth quarter jumped 34 percent, breaking company records and exceeding global digital sales growth at rival Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Globally, Walmart  reported that e-commerce sales increased about 8 percent in the fourth quarter on a constant-currency basis.




Festivities Surround Leap Year Deals


snoopy Brands are bringing festive cheer with Leap Year Deals that range from offering USD 29 packages to getting a free Pan Pizza if it’s your B’Day and Leap Year Dozens from Krispy Kreme. According to Fortune, JetBlue offered a short-lived promotion with USD 29 flights for departures on Monday, Feb. 29. For the ones that are making a booking on the Leap Day, here is a special offer from Marriott at Marriott Stanton South Beach – On Feb. 29 use the code ADP when making reservations to get 29 percent off rates for stays between March 3 and May 31.





Pizza Hut Leap Day Birthday Offer

The ones who are celebrating their B’Days, Pizza Hut is offering a free Pan Pizza for Leap day babies at participating locations. With offers and promotions being one of the influencers in driving brand preference in retail, Brands building loyalty with timely offers increase the engagement with  target audience.



Krispy Kreme’s Leap Year Dozens Offer

Krispy Kreme is offering discounts on purchase of a dozen doughnuts. With Leap Year dozens, users can buy a dozen and get a dozen of Original Glazed for USD 2.29 at participating US shops on 2/29