By Paul Skeldon

One of the highlights of Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference was the launch of HomePod, the company’s much-anticipated voice controlled speaker – but what does it mean for retail?

While pitched as a high-end wireless speaker that you can also talk to, it is clear to all that this is Apple’s attempt at an Amazon Alexa killer and Google Home wrecker. But with Alexa owning much of the space and projected to control 70% of the voice speaker market by year’s end, is this too late?

New data from the 2017 version of Walker Sands’ Future of Retail Report – to be released later this month – reveals this could actually be perfect timing: while nearly 24% already own a voice-controlled device another 20 percent plan to purchase one in the next year. Apple also has an opportunity to jump right: voice devices are taking over the commerce scene, with the report also revealing 1 in 5 consumers have made voice-controlled purchases, and another third planning to do so in the next year.

So how will this impact the future of commerce?

Nick Manzo, Global Omnichannel Lead from 1WorldSync, thinks that when it comes to retail, speakers like this “Introduce new challenges for retail supply chain, logistics, and product information management processes,” he says. “Voice-controlled devices are changing the nature of omnichannel commerce. Brands and retailers need to have systems in place to communicate key value offerings while maintaining consistency and authenticity across all channels.”

Igor Gorin, CEO of Astound Commerce, meanwhile believes that: “Just like…