Should online retailers build Alexa skills?

With more consumers inviting Inc.’s Alexa voice assistant into their homes, online retailers are considering building skills for the voice-activated digital assistant software that powers the Amazon Echo speaker family. Skills are add-on capabilities developers write for Alexa that consumers enable from the Alexa Skills Store. Amazon won’t say how many Echo devices it has sold, but it has grabbed 70% of the U.S. market for voice-assisted speakers, according to eMarketer Inc., with Google’s Home device accounting for most of the rest. The research firm estimates that 35 million U.S. consumers will speak to a voice-activated speaker at least once a month in 2017. But even with more consumers having and using Alexa, Andrew Hogan, a Forrester Research Inc. analyst, says few consumers continue to use Alexa skills they’ve enabled. With all this buzz, we’re wondering if online retailers should build a skill for Alexa?

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