The new "Customers ask Alexa" function from Amazon feels a lot like disguised promotion.

Getting sick of advertisements on all platforms? In any case, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant will soon be able to provide it to you as well. Well, sort of. We’ll elaborate.

The major retailer unveiled the debut of a new Alexa feature dubbed “Customers ask Alexa” that focuses on queries about items and brands during the annual Amazon Accelerate seller’s conference. Now, when consumers ask questions linked to a company, they will receive responses authored by that brand along with links to its Amazon storefront.

Select merchants will have access to the new feature starting in October 2022, although it will initially only be available by invitation. In 2023, all qualifying brands will have access to the feature.

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Here is all the information you require.
Customers asking their Echo (or other Alexa-enabled device) inquiries like, “How can I clean up pet hair?” may now receive a response from a vacuum brand encouraging them to purchase their best-selling vacuum as a result of this new feature. Currently, Alexa uses information gathered from the internet to respond to inquiries; however, basic enquiries like cooking, pet care, household chores, and other topics may eventually include advertisements in addition to user-friendly responses.

All responses offered by businesses are purportedly subject to “Alexa’s content filtering, and quality checks,” and Alexa is said to only disseminate the most pertinent responses. Although Amazon claimed that any responses provided through “Customers ask Alexa” will always be credited to the brands from which they originate and “are not paid for or promoted,” it seems to us that this is very much sponsored material.

Amazon introduced this function in an effort to recognise brands as the authorities in their respective sectors, but ultimately, brands are aiming to sell their own product, not provide customers with broad guidance and options across several brands of products.

While marketers normally pay for sponsored content as a way to market their products, it must also be appropriately acknowledged to customers; nevertheless, Alexa’s new capability will essentially provide unpaid spon-con. When customers use “Customers ask Alexa,” they will basically be receiving guidance in the form of an advertisement because brands will be able to compose their own Alexa answers.

We worry that using Alexa to ask questions is now simply another tool for Amazon to persuade you to buy more items you don’t need. This roll-out might be beneficial for brands given the explosive growth of shoppable content on social media and other platforms in recent years.

We suggest? Consider Alexa’s new branded responses with a grain of salt. Brands will probably compete for the top rank in relevant replies in an effort to increase brand recognition and product sales. Before making a purchase based simply on an Alexa recommendation, we advise conducting your own independent research into the goods in question. The Amazon-recommended item isn’t always the greatest choice for your money.

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