If mobile order and pay is a new sales channel for restaurants, then conversational commerce doubles down on it. Now you can place an online order at TGI Fridays and use Amazon Pay with Alexa, as the following article explains.
TGI Fridays, the casual dining chain with 900 restaurants worldwide, is the first restaurant with an Alexa skill that integrates Amazon Pay, according to a press release. Users can also make reservations, order takeout from select restaurants, get menu suggestions and special deals by saying “Alexa, open Fridays” to an Alexa-enabled device.
The integration will also be available in participating TGI Fridays restaurants. Alexa can recommend three side dishes for each entrée based on food pairings selected by the chain’s chefs. TGI Fridays urges consumers to have fun by asking Alexa questions like, “Do you like ribs?” or “What day is it?”
In other news, Amazon announced at AWS re:Invent in Las Vegas that developers and businesses making skills for Amazon’s Alexa will soon be able to accept Amazon Pay for purchases directly within voice apps from the Alexa Skills Store.
The news points to how Amazon is leveraging Alexa’s early lead in voice activated assistants to expand Amazon’s role in payments. While Google Home and Siri also offer payments, Amazon could leverage the already-large customer base for Alexa — who typically already have payment information saved on the platform — to enable them to pay for purchases with other businesses.
TGI Fridays is among the casual dining chains that are struggling with shifting consumer tastes, especially among millennials who are increasingly shunning sit-down restaurants. To remain competitive, TGI Fridays appears to recognize the need to reach consumers through digital platforms such as mobile devices and voice-activated digital assistants.
The Alexa skill is another way to connect with a digital audience. The chain’s takeout sales have grown by 30% since launching online ordering in 2016, with 70% of those orders going to new customers, the company said.
Mobile apps have taken off for quick service and casual dining restaurants and boosted their online ordering business. Now Alexa is getting into the act and TGI Fridays is the launch restaurant. Conversational commerce is in its early stages but holds much promise. Amazon has a sizable early lead in home adoption over Google, Microsoft, and Apple, but the added competition will only grow the market. Next will be the opportunities presented by the connected car for conversational commerce.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Associate Director, Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group
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