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10 minutes with… #3

10 minutes with… #3

Michael Hartwig, Trainer, on Developing a Skill for Alexa

Everybody's talking about Alexa. But what exactly is that and what opportunities does it offer Intershop?

So when we talk about Alexa, we need to specify what exactly that means: the device, or a skill? You have the device in your living room, or even in the car, and you can talk to it. An Alexa skill is a small program, which you load onto the device and which then provides functionalities on it.

You can build a conversation with a skill, that is, I can ask something and the machine provides me with an answer. But there is much more possible: to derive actions from a conversation. For example, an employee at a construction site could say: "Open the supplier shop, look for nails with the following specification, order 10 of them.” Then, when you visit the shop again, your order is already in the shopping cart.

So businesses running Intershop-based online stores could add touchpoints via Alexa voice input to their portfolio?

Yes, ICM (Intershop Commerce Management) provides all the necessary interfaces for such skills. At the same time, it is easy for a programmer to extend and customize those possibilities!

Which services are imaginable in the e-commerce sector?

In addition to the pure shopping offer, I find such a skill perfectly suited to provide a multitude of additional functionalities. For example, one could ask Alexa what status the last order has and then we might find out that it is already on its way. Of course, this process can also be password-protected, because such a token can already be transferred with the order confirmation. I can also imagine customers developing a skill that memorizes ideas that you have while driving, for example. "Alexa, please remember that I need new AAA batteries for my next visit to the Intronics shopping website!" and at home we find a corresponding wish list item.

This is all very exciting. What do our customers need to do to be enabled to develop such skills for their platform?

The Intershop system already provides everything you need to start developing and implementing a skill. We also have training courses in which we show customers how they can directly implement their specific requirements. Our training team or I (m.hartwig@intershop.de) are always available for further consultation.


If you want to learn more right away, take a look at the recording of our Deep Dive webinar recording. It provides software developers with comprehensive instructions for developing their first Alexa skills:

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