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How Voice Will Impact The Alcohol Industry

Updated: Mar 3



Historically, it’s been challenging for the liquor industry to get decent insight into who their customer is and what they want because of the nature of legal requirements on sales where alcohol companies need to sell through third-party distributors.


Voice technology is a budding field that can help companies regain sight of their demographics and segmentation by presenting the opportunity for conversational engagement with customers while still enabling a legal connection to commerce. Voice is finding its way into commerce and, according to a Narvar study, consumers often use voice devices before, during and after a purchase which means there is a huge opportunity for helping users have hands free access to brand information.

Image Source: The Narvar

Alcohol companies can grow with this technology in a myriad of ways. For example, voice devices can engage customers in entertaining experiences, create leads, generate unique data sets on customer behavior, build loyalty and drive commerce. The potential for a better connection to customers is endless and companies are already starting to tinker with voice, both in and out of consumer homes.


Shops have begun using voice devices in stores, giving brands a new lens to understanding purchasing habits and consumer insights. Companies are also creating Voice apps (Skills & Actions) for consumers to use in the comfort of their homes. Diageo, a multinational alcoholic beverages company which includes giant brands like Crown Royal, Ketel One, Captain Morgan, Don Julio, and Guinness has an Alexa skill called Talisker Tasting Experience which helps educate consumers on how to taste scotch. Diageo has also tinkered in other voice opportunities such as a Happy Hour Alexa skill which provides customized cocktail recipes so people can seamlessly continue enjoying a drink or hosting a party at home without having to dig through the internet for information.

Image Source: Beverage Industry Magazine

Johnnie Walker, another of Diageo’s major brands, has also shaken things up with its own voice device skill. With the goal to educate over 1 million people about whiskey, Johnnie Walker looked to Alexa to create a fun experience that was personal, easy and accessible for users. Using an Alexa device, a person can say “Alexa, enable Johnnie Walker” to learn about whiskey history, label facts, decide on a bottle or have a guided whiskey tasting. Having built-in checks to make sure shoppers are over 21, the skill allows users to complete a purchase or find a liquor store nearby based on their location.


With so many opportunities to reach people in and out of their homes, voice can help consumers put down their phones and pick up their drinks. Below we quickly lay out a few voice features and concepts that could be applied to the continued development of the alcohol industry.

USE CASES


FILL THE CONTENT GAP: Answers to many questions asked of Alexa are often met with “Sorry, I don’t know that. There is a lack of content on many topics of interest. Alcohol brands have the opportunity to create experiences that answer these questions. Think about the lifestyle and activities that your brand aligns with and add value for consumers by answering pressing questions to win the Voice SEO game. By moving first and having a scalable plan, a brand can make a land grab in voice SEO, and maintain a lead, while competitors are first starting to understand the process.


RETAIL/EVENT ACTIVATIONS: Voice devices in stores or at events can help companies create better user experiences and customize their offerings. For example, Bottle Genius created a skill to help liquor store customers discover their ideal whiskey flavor and direct them to their personalized recommendation. In the end, the customers have a smoother, more educated shopping experience that is tailored to them. With this talking kiosk system, both brands and consumers benefit from the information exchange.


COMMERCE: A brand’s platform can enable the tracking of intent of purchase, depth of engagement on their sales funnel, and eventual conversion to purchase on partner platforms. The initial phase of a brand’s platform launch can be intended to test commerce conversion, but more importantly to garner data on where they are driving the most depth in their sales funnel, and bounce rate areas. By focusing on commerce bottlenecks, brands will continually optimize their voice sales funnel.


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