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Building a Smart Home Skill for Your Ecommerce Business

Posted by Matt Mitchum on March 29, 2018

Being successful in ecommerce is all about having what customers want. This is a complex combination of keeping up with the latest trends while remaining consistent enough that return customers always know exactly how to get the service they want. No doubt you've put a lot of effort into your website design, your product listings, and your online customer experience -- smart ecommerce businesses are keeping pace with today's online business trends by integrating live chat shopping assistants, order management, interactive user account portals, and the latest homepage design features. However, ecommerce is notorious for being behind the curve when it comes to mobile integration.

We hate to break it to everyone who's been dragging their feet about designing a smooth mobile app, but mobile is the future. The trends currently dominating early 2018 are almost all based in mobile. Voice search, the new major change in internet protocol, and smart home are the reigning champs from 2017, and are both on the rise. The best way to take your ecommerce business from 'middle of the pack' to a cutting-edge innovation leader is by transforming your shopping experience into a voice-interactive smart home skill.

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Smart Home Skills and Business

Smart homes are the most popular tech product of 2017, delighting both homeowners and office managers alike. They not only unify everyone's favorite IoT toys, they are also ushering in the new world of voice search and conversational AI. Businesses and individual applications can make their features available to smart home users through a special bridge-application called a smart home skill. These translate certain phrases into actions your app can perform.

Needless to say, businesses that have successfully built fun and easy to use skills have seen a significant increase in customer activity. Because so few businesses can be accessed through the smart home, this is also a great way to win new customers who are looking for a skill perhaps only you can provide.

Start With Your App

When aiming to become a leading brand in smart home enabled business, the first place you have to start is with what your app can do, as it provides all the functionality for your smart home skill. If you want users to be able to say "Alexa, how much is my shopping cart?" your app needs to be able to access a customer's shopping cart and calculate the total price. This is a great incentive to either build a comprehensive and easy to use mobile app for your customers, or to examine and update the app you already have to include more features the smart home can access.


Features to Include

  • Browsing and detailing items
  • Adding to / removing from cart
  • Checking cart
  • Increasing/decreasing quantity in cart
  • Clear cart
  • Check out with cart items
  • Reorder previous order
  • Check account messages
  • Manage account details
  • Check on delivery status
  • Contact customer service

Building Your Smart Home Skill

The next step in building it is decide which phrases will activate your app features and how detailed the answers will be. The skill essentially provides the smart home AIs with a script to follow, and certain functions it can trigger when the script is performed correctly. The phrases you choose are very important, as these determine how easy your skill is to use. Be sure to choose natural conversational phrases that are both easy to remember and easy to guess. (Allow contractions, and make sure the language isn't too stilted).

There's a big difference between "Alexa, when will my SuperBoss order get here?" versus "Alexa, what is the status of my SuperBoss order?" Know your audience and tailor your commands to suit how they will naturally speak.

The aforementioned trend is changing the way people think about interacting with the internet. For the first time, screens are optional but conversational programs are not. Move your business to the cutting edge and become one of the first vendors in your industry to catch the new wave of smart home ordering and voice search.

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Onestop Internet brings all the services your online store needs together, putting the tools that power great commerce into the hands of retailers, which includes technology, marketing, creative design, photography, call center and fulfillment services. With a vertically integrated partner on your team, there is more time to focus on the products and services you know best while reaping all the rewards that come with advanced, international operations.

Topics: Ecommerce, voice assistants, Mobile, Smart Home, Applications, SEO, Content marketing, innovation

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