Kenmore Alfie: Your Parent’s New Best Digital Friend

Have I told you the one about when I received a Kenmore Alfie for review as part of a sponsored campaign?

It might be a bit of a shocker to some people, but not everyone in this Information Age is actually comfortable with technology, ready to embed chips in their skin, wear tracking devices and talk to their wrist or cellphone to make things happen. Some people are old school and prefer to push an actual button, have offline time and even have a human being help them find what they want to purchase online.

Consider the so-called early adopter curve where it shows that a small number of people are quick to jump on a new bandwagon, whether it’s technological or otherwise, then the majority are “second wave” users, and finally there’s a core group that is resistant to change and moves ever-so-slowly into the present (never into the future). I’ll call those late adopters, but the important thing to realize is that they’re a meaningful and significant market unto themselves.

That’s exactly the market for the slick new Alfie intelligent shopper from retail powerhouse Kenmore. It’s a simple bluetooth device that’s about the size of a hockey puck and hooks you up directly to a digital concierge who can help you find things and purchase products online.

The Kenmore Alfie

Once configured and tied into the Alfie app on my Apple iPhone 7, I used an Alfie unit to quickly and simply purchase some replacement screwdrivers I’ve been eyeing in the Sears catalog by pushing the center button on the unit and saying “I’d like to buy the Craftsman 14-piece screwdriver set”.

A few minutes later — yes, that’s important to know, it’s not instant. Some people like that, though. — the smaller button lit up blue (as you can see in the photo above). A push and Alfie told me that it’d check to see if the specific product I sought was available.

The second time it lit up, I switched to the app so I could see the photo sent:

conversation log, kenmore alfie, apple iphone

Very nicely done, Alfie. That’s exactly what I wanted.

So I said that to Alfie by pushing the center button and saying “Yes, that’s the one I’d like to buy! What’s the next step?”.

Alfie responded a while later, which I realized when the alert popped up on my Apple Watch:

alfie alert, apple watch

The response was a reminder that I needed to finish setting up my shipping and payment profile in the Alfie app on my smartphone, as you can see:

alfie dialog, kenmore

I added the information needed in the app itself (something you’d only have to do once for the life of your interaction with Alfie, so it’d be easy to set this up for your parents once so they’d never have to worry about it) and confirmed by saying “Let’s do it!”:

product ordered through kenmore alfie

This last step I tapped out on my iPhone in the app: Alfie fetch!

That was it. Super easy. And with human help, it’s easy for someone who is less technologically savvy to narrow down what they seek with the help of the Alfie support team, then order it if the price is right.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t going to compete with something like a Google Home or Amazon Echo, but neither of those have a concierge service, so for people who aren’t comfortable talking to an AI, they’re non-starters out the box. The Kenmore Alfie is a bit spendy at its MSRP of $49.99, but it’s clear that the team at Kenmore know that and you can pick up a brand new Kenmore Alfie at Sears.com for the far better price of $19.99.

If you or someone in your family likes the idea of a simple device that lets you talk to a real human being rather than try to figure out how the latest version of an AI works, then I encourage you to have a closer look at the Kenmore Alfie or read more about it on the Alfie blog.

Disclosure: Kenmore sent me an Alfie and sponsored this post. My opinions are my own, however.

 

 

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