From Amazons Alexa to Apples Suri and Microsoft’s Cortana, voice assistant counterparts in these tech giants have slowly become a staple within our society. Now, Google is evolving its voice assistant ‘Duplex’ into an AI (artificial intelligence) tool that can do more than tell us the weather or answer trivia questions.
The Google Assistant – Duplex may soon be calling local businesses to check for inventory availability. This update has been seen on a support page for Duplex concerning appointment booking information, “Google Assistant will only call you when a customer wants to book an appointment or when it needs to check your business hours or the status of the in-demand inventory.”
What’s the Use-Case?
The full intentions and use cases of Google’s Duplex is unclear, and they haven’t done much to educate SMBs (small to medium businesses) about its capabilities or functionalities. One of the issues that Google will face when getting the attention of SMBs for adoption is that most owners won’t be picking up the phone.
Larger companies have IVR systems that would most likely have blocking technology that would block Duplex. However, another service from Google called CallJoy has proved that demands for this kind of technology are on the rise. CallJoy is a virtual agent that can semi-replace a call administrative assistant or SMB owners who don’t want to answer the phone (we’re not sure if this is a good or bad thing).
It’s a likely scenario in the near future that we may see Google’s Duplex calling about an inventory query to a company that uses Google’s CallJoy as their call assistant. We have all heard or B2C and B2B business relations, well this possibly could take this to another dimension. I suppose you could call it, B2-AI or AI-2-AI business?
Google Forecasting In-Stock Demand by Searches Performed
Recently Google had noted in a blog post that “Searches for ‘in-stock’ grew more than 70 percent globally from the week for March 28 to April 4, as consumers sought to avoid e-commerce shipping delays.” Additionally, Google has been increasingly emphasizing real-time inventory availability, and pushing curbside pickup (due to COVID-19), and “pick up today” in their shopping ads.
The retail economy has been changing from brick-and-mortar to online-based because of convenience, customization, price, and many other factors. However, with the danger of picking up the virus in many areas, consumers are avoiding health risks by minimizing visits to the stores.
Trends in Local Shopping by Utilizing Online Orders
The pattern we most likely will see starting to emerge will be a mentality of “buy online and pick up locally” with shoppers who just want the best options and “get in and get out.” Google knows this, which is why they are initiating Duplex’s AI inventory systems for SMBs.
Google’s Duplex has interesting possibilities and may evolve to create expanding services related to digital marketing, sales functionalities, or new third-party integrations. Although, we most likely are several years away from that. Duplex could solve the problem of old and inaccurate product listings in search while also helping to solve SMBs Google My Business information, which many owners are neglecting.
If the product-inquiry function works, it could also assist in generating additional sales for local businesses, if not for increasing revenue and staying competitive, for survival and escaping becoming irrelevant.
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