The Internet has overturned how people shop and reshaped the retail industry. Voice assistants are about to unleash another revolution. As people increasingly shop via the likes of Alexa and Siri, they will tend to demand generic products, starting with everyday items such as batteries and eventually including more complex purchases such as electronics. Digital assistants will use algorithms to compare product specifications, make suggestions, and do comparisons, so that customers can find “the longest-lasting battery pack” or “the cheapest bag of flour.” If digital assistants with trustworthy recommendations become a significant source of sales – and we think they will – they could chip away at all but the strongest product brands. Competition will become even more brutal as consumers switch between only one or two verbally suggested options offered by digital assistants – one being their own private label or another low-cost product. Companies that have negotiated with retailers for shelf space up to now will have to find ways to convince the digital assistants to put their products at the top of verbal searches. Read more at Harvard Business Review.