by Melanie Bochmann
“Smart speaker, please order my favourite burger!” – Delivery Hero is building the future of voice ordering
There are moments when ordering food can be quite a challenge: when you’ve just painted your fingernails, when you’re in the midst of a battle and cannot drop your PlayStation controller, when you’re carrying your baby, or when you’re comfy on the sofa with your devices far out of reach. Nonetheless, you’re still craving that cheeseburger with sweet potato fries you had last Tuesday.
Delivery Hero is here to save the day! We have recently rolled out a voice reordering feature for Amazon’s Alexa. We will soon be launching the same feature for Google Assistant. Interacting with Foodora via voice makes ordering food even more convenient and natural. Conversing with Alexa is somewhat similar to chatting with friendly waiters in restaurants, but voice assistants offer an even more personalized experience.
Live tracking via voice: “Where is my food?”
Before rolling out the full voice ordering skill, we started with an Alexa live tracking feature for Foodora orders in Germany at the end of 2017. This feature is super straightforward and fun to use. Once you have a Foodora account and have placed a first order via web or app, you can use Alexa. For example, you can say, “Alexa, open Foodora” or, “Alexa, ask Foodora where my food is” and Alexa will tell you the status of your order. Foodora might answer with, for example, “In three minutes, your rider will be at the door with your order. Just enough time to put pants on.”
The next level: “Voice assistant, tell Foodora I want sushi!”
In June 2018, the next step followed: voice reordering was rolled out for Amazon’s Alexa in ten Foodora countries, including Germany, Finland and Norway; Google Assistant will follow soon in Germany and Australia. The skill allows customers to place previous orders. The order history can be searched by restaurant name (“Tell Foodora I want to order from Burger Vision”) or by cuisine (“Tell Foodora I want sushi”). Customers may also repeat their “usual order”, their “order from last Thursday” or whatever they ordered “on the 2nd of May”.
To connect Foodora with Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant, customers need to enable the respective skill in the smart speaker’s app or website by entering their Foodora credentials, delivery address and preferred payment method. None of this information is shared with Amazon, Google or any other players that will potentially enter the market for voice assistants.
It’s all about teamwork!
Developing this feature requires product managers and developers with great expertise, says Aleksey Novykov, Product Manager for voice interfaces at Delivery Hero: “The biggest challenge for us is adjusting the service designed for visual and touch interfaces to a completely new pattern: voice only. People are used to selecting their food online based on visual content rather than vocal. That means we have to provide short, smart and self-descriptive interactions. For example, instead of offering a long list of options, we try to recommend one option that should be a perfect match.”
Future of food ordering: Is ‘speaking’ the new ‘touching’?
Live tracking, reordering – what’s next? The voice assistants market is growing rapidly with companies rolling out more and more features to increase convenience for their customers. Around 9 million smart speakers were sold in the first quarter of 2018 globally; that’s tremendous growth compared to 2.9 million speakers sold in Q1 2017.
“We believe that voice interfaces will be an integral way for us to communicate and interact with customers in the future,” says Aleksey. The industry will experience a huge shift in the upcoming years – very similar to how it happened a decade ago when mobile apps started to gain traction.
If voice will be the new touch, let’s hope for a feature that triggers orders just by the sound of a rumbling stomach!