INSIGHTS AND PERSPECTIVES

PepsiCo eyes a voice-activated future

BY Seth Mendelson

The connected home will play a huge role in how consumers shop and what they are looking for in the future, according to John Phillips, senior vice president of customer supply chain and GTM at PepsiCo.
Speaking at the Omnichannel and Digital Merchandising Summit, Phillips said that people will soon be living in a world where everything talks to everything else.

“What that allows us to do is create a whole new experience in the home,” he told the audience during a seminar called The Future of Retailing. “One of the big things that we saw at the Consumer Electronics Show this year was a huge expansion in the amount of space around the connected home, where the refrigerator is aware of what you’re doing. The microwave knows what is in the refrigerator. There will be new ovens that are coming out in the next 12 months that will be able to actually control the entire cooking cycle.”

Phillips also said that Amazon has definitely taken the lead in some aspects, including with the recently discontinued one-touch replenishment program, which highlighted the potential that such offerings have. “What they will share is that upwards of 50% of the replenishment on some of those SKUs that actually have buttons are actually done through the button. So once people do it once, that behavior is pretty sticky from a repeatability standpoint.”

Voice activation, he said, has moved from being informative, such as reporting the weather to deeply getting involved in commerce. “What we’re seeing more recently is the voice activity is moving from just informational kind of tasks and requests to true commerce-related activities,” he said. “Consumers will be able to pick household supplies like trash bags and toilet paper by brand and size, and reorder without a lot of thought in it. They will be able to buy their products in a very frictionless way.”

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