Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate

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Voice and text-assisted technology, including Amazon.com Inc.'s (Nasdaq: AMZN) Alexa device, is becoming ubiquitous in everyday shopping routines, as we discover in the fifth part of Mergers & Acquistions’ 7-part series, Retail Tech M&A. Here's our look at voice and text assisted technology: Voice shopping on Alexa will rapidly rise, ranging from ordering food to restocking refrigerators, according to industry reports, and retailers are figuring out how to take advantage.

McDonald's
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) is buying Apprente, a maker of voice-based conversational technology. The target offers software for complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering. McDonald’s wants to use Apprente’s software for “faster, simpler and more accurate order taking” at its drive-thrus, and potentially for mobile ordering and kiosks. The world’s largest restaurant chain, is gobbling up digital startups to improve customer experiences by capitalizing on IoT innovations- a strategy new CEO Chris Kempczinski supports.

“In McDonald’s restaurants, this technology is expected to allow for faster, simpler and more accurate order taking at the drive-thru with future potential to incorporate into mobile ordering and kiosks,” McDonald’s said in a press release.

“Apprente was born out of an opportunity to use technology to solve challenging real-world problems, and we’re thrilled to now apply this to creating personalized experiences for customers and crew,” adds Apprente co-founder Itamar Arel.

Nordstrom
Nordstrom (NYSE: JWN), purchased two messaging technology companies, BevyUp and MessageYes, in 2018. BevyUp allows sales employees to communicate with each other and encourages shoppers to share information and browse together online. BevyUp’s digital selling platform gives Nordstrom sales reps another tool to reach out to customers with tools such as style boards, which designers use to brainstorm ideas. MessageYes offers brands the opportunity to text their customers personalized notifications while they browse online.

With the MessageYes technology, customers can respond with “Yes” to one of Nordstrom’s messages to instantly buy products from their phones. The company is focused on personalization, isolating what each shopper’s interests are, and offers algorithms to do so. With the technology, customers can expect to be able to communicate with retailers anytime from anywhere.

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, all eyes are on the retail industry, which is undergoing transformational changes. Mergers & Acquisitions' series examines the impact of 7 technologies on M&A in the retail sector. Read the whole series:

Retail Tech M&A #1: Nike, McDonald's, PayPal, add customization, IoT
Retail Tech M&A #2: Why Walmart and other retailers are buying artificial intelligence startups
Retail Tech M&A #3: Amazon leads race to build fulfillment centers
Retail Tech M&A #4: Do robots fill orders faster?
Retail Tech M&A #5: Voice recognition gives retailers more ways to communicate
Retail Tech M&A #6: Data improves customer service
Retail Tech M&A #7: Demand for convenience drives growth in mobile ordering

We'll continue watching how these technologies and trends play out in the M&A in the new year.

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