Lennar, a leading homebuilder in the US, recently partnered with Amazon to integrate Alexa into their new homes. There are two key parts to this announcement: Amazon Experience Centers and Alexa-ready homes for sale.
A press release published yesterday outlines Amazon’s new initiative with Lennar, intended to showcase the capabilities of Amazon’s virtual assistant throughout the home. “In these Alexa-enabled smart homes, customers can simply ask Alexa to control the television, lights, thermostat, shades, and more. The model homes showcase how customers can use Alexa in their everyday lives.” Amazon doesn’t sugarcoat their intentions for e-commerce integration, either: “Customers can experience just how easy it can be to reorder household essentials with a press of an Amazon Dash Button.” They reiterate this point throughout the release, and focus on the ease and convenience of an Alexa-integrated home.
Amazon Experience Center features, Amazon.com
Alexa, welcome home
Lennar homes are getting smart. A statement earlier this week indicated that “standard features in its new homes will include built-in Wi-Fi, smart locks, doorbells, thermostats and lights — all controlled by Alexa, Amazon’s voice-activated digital assistant,” according to USA Today. Every house Lennar builds this year — upwards of 35,000 houses — will be smart homes, meaning that a new homeowner can choose whether or not to turn the system on, but cannot buy a Lennar home without Alexa built in.
Implications of smart home demand
Smart speakers and virtual assistants are reportedly gaining popularity faster than smartphones or tablets, and are predicted to reach 75% of households by 2020. Alexa is leading the charge, capturing over 66% of the smart speaker market. Let’s imagine a world where you live in Alexa’s house: you can tune in to your favorite TV show, turn on and off lights, adjust the thermostat, set timers, unlock the door, and (here’s the big one) order and reorder products — all without lifting a finger, from anywhere in the house. With smart home owners being fully integrated into the ease and convenience of the Alexa ecosystem, Amazon will have a powerful and daunting amount of control over their shopping and entertainment decisions.
From a brand perspective, having products optimized for voice might not seem like a vital strategy right now. After all, only 20% of Echo owners had actually purchased something through Alexa as of July 2017. However, with the rapid rate of Alexa adoption, the trust that customers put in Amazon, and the continuous reduction of friction Amazon is putting forth, the number of Alexa shoppers will undoubtedly grow. At the moment, having a good Alexa strategy is synonymous with having a good overall Amazon strategy.