SOK is one of the biggest grocery retailers in Nordic with yearly revenue of over 11 billion euro. Their currenty strategy is heavily focused on unique digital services and increasing customer satisfaction. They’ve been active in developing new ways for grocery shopping, so it was natural for them to be the first retailer in Finland to provide voice-enabled shopping experience for their customers.

“Digitalization means better service for customers. It enables new ways to combine supply and demand”, Taavi Heikkilä, the managing director of SOK says.

While many do believe voice will be the key differentiator for future ecommerce solutions, building services on top of Google Home or Amazon Alexa is not always feasible, especially for enterprises. SOK decided to use Speechgrinder because they wanted to build their voice experience on top of their own systems and platforms.

“Data ownership and privacy issues with current smart speakers solutions shunned us away from third party platforms. We wanted total ownership of our own brand and product visibility”, Harri Laaksonen, SOK eCommerce development manager says.

The application enables SOK customers to build their shopping list by using voice. If the user says “eggs”, for example, the application adds the most popular eggs to their shopping list. If the customer wants to select another egg product, they can simply tap on the product and select another one from a list. This multi-modality is another feature not available on smart speaker solutions.

“Great customer experience is the key. Sometimes the best experience needs touch, sometimes it needs voice. If your application doesn’t offer both, you are missing something”, Mr. Laaksonen says. “Just like we offer both self-service and regular cashiers in our physical stores we want to let our customers decide how they want to shop”.

The current version of the application is still missing the possibility to order products on shopping list, but it’s still very well reviewed with an average rating of 4.6 on App Store. The possibility to purchase products from the application is on the pipeline and will be implemented to the product.

“One of the major drawbacks of current grocery ecommerce solution is the creation of the first shopping cart. It’s a cumbersome task to click and browse through dozens of different milks and hundreds of different breads but once you’ve done it once, it’s easy to repurchase. That’s why voice works so well in grocery ecommerce.”, Otto Söderlund, the CEO and co-founder of Speechgrinder says.

The shopping list application is still under active development and new version of the software with shopping capabilities is due to arrive to App Store later this year.

You can read more on how grocery retail market can benefit from voice technology here.