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Hermes updates its Alexa Skill to add more functions and make delivery a more useful USP for retailers

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Delivery company Hermes has added a new range of features to its Alexa Skill. The move is aimed at making delivery a more integrated sales differentiator for retailers.

Last year, Hermes became the first parcel company in the UK to fully integrate its end-to-end tracking solution with Amazon’s line of Echo smart speakers, powered by digital assistant Alexa. The business has now built on its initial success by developing a number of additional industry-first features for Alexa users.

The latest updates for Hermes’ Alexa Skill include: a ParcelShop finder, which determines the location of the nearest Hermes ParcelShop; the ability to set a designated safe place or choose to have your parcel delivered to a neighbour when not at home and an enhanced returns process.

Consumers asking Hermes to return their order via the Alexa Skill will be emailed a QR code and PIN that allows them to print a returns label at the nearest ParcelShop. Updates for the Amazon Echo Spot and Echo Show also include the ability to view a SafePlace photo or signature when a parcel has been delivered.

The new functionality has been developed and tested at the company’s Innovation Lab in the centre of Leeds, where a team are dedicated to creating a range of cutting-edge solutions designed to revolutionise the delivery landscape.

Chris Ashworth, CIO at Hermes UK, said: “Our commitment to innovation and our desire to continuously enhance our range of delivery solutions is driven by consumer feedback and improving the customer experience. Off the back of becoming the first UK parcel company to integrate our tracking solution with Alexa, we have set another technology milestone by introducing new functionality that boosts the consumer experience and will drive repeat sales for retailers.”

Voice is expected to become a central business data tool and means of interaction between retailers and consumers by 2023, according to a recent study. Hermes joins a growing roster of retailers and delivery companies opting to offer a voice interface as consumers increasingly turn to voice commerce.

The impact of voice commerce – and how the likes of Tesco, Walmart and BMW are all using it can be found in this white paper we produced earlier this year.

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