The power of voice

Update: 27 August 2019. A beta version of Tesco on Google Assistant is now available. Ask your Google Assistant to “Talk to Tesco” to get started.

It’s been some time since voice emerged as a trend in tech, and 2017 saw a number of large retailers take their first steps to engaging with voice-activated assistants.

The last week has also seen a range of stories on this theme emerge from CES in Las Vegas, highlighting advances from both Google and Amazon, and showing that this trend isn’t going anywhere.

It was back in May 2017 that we announced that Google Home users could integrate their device with Tesco home grocery shopping using IFTTT.com and voice activation for a seamless shopping experience. To date, the Tesco applet on IFTTT.com has run over 74,600 times, with more than 5,500 people connecting through Amazon Alexa, and over 2,400 through Google Home.

We were also interested to see a strong peak in use on Christmas day (below) – we’re assuming that lots of you received voice-activated assistants as gifts, and had fun setting them up!

Want to get started? To set it up you need to have Google Assistant and Tesco accounts and have them both connected to IFTTT. You can then go here and switch on the applet.

We’re always keen to better understand how customers are using these devices, and how we can improve your experience. If you’d like to share any feedback, please feel free to contact us.

Adding Multiple Products via IFTTT

An update for our IFTTT channel users – new and old.

When we launched the Tesco channel on If This Then That, we were keen to hear how it was being used, and if there was anything that you – the user –  would change, or like to be added, to improve the functionality. We were delighted that so many of you got in touch via twitter and email to let us know that you would value an amend to the “Add Product to Basket” action – allowing you to add multiple products at a time, rather than just one.

IFTTT Tweet

We’re pleased to confirm that this development has now been completed, with the Add Products to Basket action triggered by IFTTT in the same way as before. This allows a list of products to be easily generated by searching for keywords, brands or products and adding or removing them from your list; which can then be copied and pasted back into the IFTTT action. For ease of use, existing product lists in IFTTT can also be copied into the Tesco Search page and amended there.

We think that the potential benefits of using this multi-product function are almost endless, but here are a few of our favourite ways to use this update which you may wish to try to get you started:

  • If you know that there are items you need regularly, but not with every shop, why not set up a recurring action to add all the items you need at a suitable frequency. For example, add all household cleaning products every 8 weeks, or baked beans every fortnight.
  • By associating products with a special calendar event (for example, parties, birthdays or barbeques), you can ensure that you never forget these items again.
  • Why not create product lists associated with specific meal plans or recipes? You will then have the ability to add products to your basket based on your meal planning for the week.

IFTTT is now also compatible with Amazon’s Alexa, so you can employ voice activated assistance via the Echo or Dot. Here at Labs, we think that Conversational Interfaces in general are hugely exciting, as they provide the ultimate convenience experience. As a food retailers, our first goal is to understand how our customers would use such technology and for what purpose. We’ve already seen mCommerce accelerate ‘little and often’ – the concept of adding grocery items to their basket every now and then (rather than sitting down to place one big order), so the question is whether this tech will enhance that experience or change it completely.Watch this space for news on future Labs experiments and learnings!

As ever, we look forward to hearing about how you’re using this new development – let us know your feedback via email or on twitter.