Jeff Bezos apparently wants to make it easier for you to buy a TV from Best Buy — that is, if you do so via Alexa.
The CEO of Amazon took to Twitter on Friday to promote the integration of Best Buy into Amazon’s voice assistant, which is accessed through its Echo and other devices. Users who link their accounts with both companies can now hear about and purchase products highlighted in Bestbuy.com’s Deal of the Day and hear other product recommendations from the electronics chain by talking to Alexa.
“Congrats to the @BestBuy team on their new Alexa skill,” Bezos tweeted. “Customers can now find and shop Best Buy deals on Alexa. Nice!”
The tweet immediately sparked a lot of reaction, especially since it wasn’t too long ago that many analysts thought Amazon would put Best Buy out of business. Instead, Best Buy has managed to hold its own.
While the two companies remain rivals in selling consumer electronics, they have become partners in other ways. Richfield-based Best Buy has sold such Amazon products as the Kindle and Echo for awhile now. In fact, Best Buy recently rolled out expanded displays for both the Echo and Google Home to 700 of its stores in order to better explain to consumers how voice-controlled speakers can be integrated with other smart home products.
“When you look at voice technology, they’re the two leaders,” said Carly Charlson, a Best Buy spokeswoman. “It makes sense to work with both of them. They both are great partners of ours.”
Best Buy is one of the largest retailers to link up with Amazon’s voice shopping skills via Alexa. REI Co-op, B&H Photo and 1-800-Flowers also have integrations with it.
Most other big retailers — such as Walmart, Home Depot, Walgreens and Costco — have partnered with Google Home for voice shopping. Minneapolis-based Target Corp. joined them last month.
Partners Amazon and Google
Best Buy has been working with both companies. Charlson noted that Best Buy’s affiliation with Alexa is one of many ways the chain is exploring how to use voice shopping.
“We’re just getting started,” she said.
In Canada, Best Buy has partnered with Google Home to allow users to hear about sales and learn about various products. It doesn’t yet have a similar arrangement in the United States.
To access Best Buy’s Deal of the Day and other product recommendations via Alexa, customers have to add the Best Buy skill to their Echo device via the Alexa app or skills store and log in with their Best Buy account. To begin shopping, they then say, “Alexa, talk to Best Buy.”
The Alexa liaison is one of Best Buy’s latest initiatives as the retailer gears up for the important holiday shopping season. Earlier this week, the retailer announced it will once again offer free shipping through Christmas on any size order placed on Best Buy.com, waiving its normal $35 minimum order threshold.
It also has expanded the number of markets where it offers same-day delivery to about 40 metro areas in the U.S. Best Buy is working with third-party firms Deliv and Geodis to make those deliveries.
Kavita Kumar • 612-673-4113