For hardware retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s there is a different game at play. Unlike Google who makes money from monetizing intention and search, or supermarkets who primarily make money from selling consumable goods, Home Depot and Lowe’s make money from selling hardware and hard goods. As homes get smarter they get more complicated to manage. It’s relatively easy for most customers to buy one smart home product, e.g. a Sonos speaker and install it. However people aren’t going to stop there. People are going to add more and more smart home products and then expect them to interact in a consistent way. After the smart speaker, people will buy smart lights, thermostats, cameras, locks and more. It gets complicated fast when you’ve got dozens of wifi devices connected to your router.
The search bar will have become the voice activated bot in the corner of your room, the “buy button” will be your voice, and the shopping aisle for all replenishment items will be your kitchen. This is scary for retailers and the dominant player in search today — Google. The race is on to do everything possible to win the battle of the voice activated bots. The race is on to get you to put a Google Home or an Amazon Echo in your home.