If you want to get your customers to take your product and utilize all of its features, there are a lot of good ways that you can do it. Amazon has been pushing Alexa pretty hard, and with today’s newest additions to the family, they found one way to encourage owners to use their Echo for ordering products from them. And not everyone likes the idea.
One weird little thing that Apple did that helped encourage iPhone users to try out Siri was add in some funny responses. She could tell jokes, and even help you find a good spot to hide a dead body. Once people found out about this, they wanted to try it out. They wanted to see what other things you could ask her, and they wanted to show it off to their friends.
I’m honestly not sure if Apple did that as a way of getting people comfortable with the feature, or if they just thought it would be fun. Regardless of their motive, it worked. For the first time, people started using voice commands like they were normal parts of their lives. This translated over into Microsoft’s Cortana, and Android’s Google Now commands. Most recently, Amazon’s Echo became yet another way to use your voice to control technology.
When I saw the announcement for the Echo Dot, I skimmed through it to see if there was anything interesting. Sure, it’s a neat little gadget that customers with an Echo might want, but there was something that really caught my eye on the product page. The product is exclusive to the Echo platform.
Sure, it’s only going to work with other Echo devices, that’s what exclusive means, right? No, if you don’t already have an Echo, then you can’t even buy one of these. Want to buy an Echo and add a Dot to your order, so you’ve got the complete set? Nope, you can’t do that either.
The only way you can purchase this product is by using Alexa on your existing Echo, and saying “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.” If, like the scenario above, you’re ordering your Echo and want to add on a Dot, you’ll need to wait until the Echo arrives, and then use it to place your order.
I get it, Amazon. You’re trying to encourage your customers to use their Echos to their full potential. You want to make them comfortable with placing an order from you, using only their voice. However, what you’re really doing is giving customers an annoying step that they have to complete, just to do something that they are happy doing with a few clicks (or even just a single click).
It might pay off for them, but it might also annoy their customers because there really is no reason for it. Sure, you need to have an Echo to even use the Dot. But that just means that customers who don’t have one, won’t be buying the other. Want to go a step further to limit people from buying the Dot if they don’t have the other necessary piece? You already know if a customer has one, because it’s tied to their account. Just don’t let them click “buy” without having an Echo tied to their account.
Something else this does is prevent people from buying the Dot as a gift. Unless you’re part of the new elite club of Echo owners, you can’t even pick up a Dot as a present for your friend that has one.
Apparently, at least for the time being, iOS owners can use the Amazon app to purchase the Dot. This goes against what Amazon has said, so it’s possible that this feature will be pulled from the app. It’s also possible that Amazon will cancel the order, since you didn’t meet the requirements, so don’t get too excited.
Amazon is free to sell their products to who they want, and through whatever means. However, limiting the way a customer can purchase your product isn’t likely to encourage sales.