New Ocado app gives shoppers 'ultimate convenience'

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Online grocery shopping giant Ocado has heralded “ending the need for the shopping list tacked on the fridge forever” with its new convenience innovation that links it to Amazon’s voice-controlled personal assistant Alexa.

It launched an app this week for use with Amazon Alexa via the Amazon Echo smart home speaker to offer customers a range of convenient options.

They include adding a product to an existing order or basket, finding out which products are in season and ideas for how to include them in recipes, checking an existing order or basket to see if a certain product has already been added, keeping track of an order by asking “where’s my order?” and confirming the time until which an existing order can be amended.

Ocado said the launch gave shoppers the “ultimate convenience and flexibility” to shop however they preferred.

The Ocado Technology e-commerce team built an artificial intelligence-based Ocado Conversational Service in order to understand customers’ product preferences.

The service can suggest both appropriate and previously bought items, helping customers to add items to their basket “effortlessly”.

Lawrence Hene, Ocado marketing and commercial director, said: “Grocery shopping should be quick, easy and convenient. Using voice technology, we’ve made it even easier by developing our new app that will enable our customers to add to their Ocado baskets without lifting a finger.

“Consumer demand for increasingly convenient ways to shop is growing rapidly and we’re excited to be the first supermarket in the UK to offer this technology, making customers’ lives ever easier.”

Ocado Technology has trained Alexa to recognise the top-15,000 commonly searched items for Ocado.com.

Holly Godwin, technology communications assistant, said: “The Ocado skill then uses an AI-based algorithm to establish the most likely product you’re after. For example if your weekly shop usually includes 250g of Ocado own brand mature cheddar and you ask Alexa for cheese, it will add this item to your basket.

“This means that you can slowly collate a shopping basket over a few days as and when you near the end of the products in your kitchen.”

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