- H&M launched a voice-enabled gift guide designed to showcase its home decor collection. The feature responds to voice commands on smartphones that have the Google Assistant installed and on all Google Home smart devices, according to a company press release.
- To activate the guide, users ask for "H&M Home" via Google Assistant, which directs them to browse through the retailer's holiday gift assortment. The voice application also offers payment through voice command and Google Pay, letting users purchase merchandise without leaving the voice app.
- H&M said its collaboration with Google began earlier this year when the company launched the H&M Home Stylist voice application.
H&M Home appears to have created a holiday gift guide to reach the growing number of consumers who are using voice-enabled technology on smart devices, including their mobile phones, to browse products and make purchases. Voice commerce is becoming increasingly popular as U.S. households install voice-enabled devices, with smart speaker ownership jumping to 27% of consumers this year from 14% a year earlier, per a study by Visa and publisher Pymnts.com. About one-third (28%) of respondents who own voice-activated speakers used them to make a purchase in the past seven days. Voice commerce is expected to become even more prominent, surging 1,900% to $40 billion in 2022 from $2 billion this year, according to data from OC&C Strategy Consultants.
Retailers like H&M need to establish a voice-commerce presence as Amazon makes a major push to get its Alexa-powered devices into millions of homes. Amazon makes the most popular smart speaker devices, with its lines of Echo devices having a 63% market share among all U.S. smart speakers, compared to 17% for Google's three models and 4% for Apple's HomePod, according to a study by Strategy Analytics.
H&M's investments in technology include a stake of less than 1% in Swedish fintech company Klarna for $20 million, the Financial Times reported. Beginning next year, Klarna will provide both in-store and online payment services for H&M, beginning with 14 European countries, including the U.K. and Sweden, according to a press release.