Voice Commerce is moving quickly with an anticipated growth of $40 billion (consumer spending) in the USA alone by the end of 2022. This mode of shopping is poised to become the most influential one after web and mobile platforms.
The overall consumer adoption of this technology is also remarkable. If we consider some stats on consumer behavior regarding voice-controlled virtual assistants, below are some notable areas:
- 72 percent of people find voice-activated speakers useful in a daily routine.
- 30 percent of Internet users in the USA have used voice assistants to look for product information and purchase products.
- More than 40 large retailers, like Costco, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot, have partnered with Google to introduce voice-based shopping to users via Google Express.
- Amazon Alexa is presently available on 100 million devices worldwide.
Given these figures, it is not surprising that Voice technology is taking over a great portion of the market, including the retail industry.
This post is dedicated to the appropriate usage of voice technology in our eCommerce activities along with different challenges and future opportunities that we can exploit in our favor.
Before jumping on those, let’s get through a brief definition of Voice commerce and its origins way back in the past.
What is Voice Commerce?
To give a brief introduction, Voice commerce is a method of purchasing a product via voice commands to devices. It facilitates online shopping via voice technology- consumers need a smart speaker, voice assistants like Alexa, or mobile devices.
However, conversing with computers is not a new idea. For decades, many technology geeks have imagined this future where humans will be able to communicate with machines. It originated in late 1961 when IBM introduced the IBM Shoebox, the first-ever digital speech recognition tool. This invention was capable to recognize 16 words and digits.
Following this, many implementations of speech recognition were made. And, one of the revolutionary inventions came out in April 2011, when Apple introduced Siri on their iPhones. iPhone itself was a game-changer at that time; with Siri, it gained a lot more appreciation.
Similarly, Microsoft introduced ‘Cortana- Virtual Assistant’ on Windows 10 desktops and mobile devices. To date, we can easily find this technology overpowering our routine lives.
How can eCommerce benefit from Voice-Controlled Digital Assistants?
Voice technology is the next big way for retailers to sell products/services online. As it enables our businesses to leverage data from an individual’s device, home, or car. It is more like a conversational approach with a robot rather than a mind-boggling game with retail websites or mobile apps.
To mention a few, below are some powerful implementations of voice-controlled virtual assistants that can help eCommerce vendors to strengthen their services to end-users:
Purchasing with Voice Technology
Voice-enabled devices are making a purchase from retailers quite easy. Presently, customers can buy the products while sitting on a sofa or anywhere else in their comfort zone- even without holding any device in their hands.
Though this trend of voice shopping has reached 3 percent of the voice-enabled device owner. But Capgemini, a consulting firm, has revealed the future potential of this technology by anticipating a growth of 37 percent in the coming two years.
Therefore, if you haven’t incorporated voice technology prowess in your digital retail, it is the right time now.
Top Brands Incorporating
Here’s how top retail brands are doing wonders with voice technology incorporation into their business. Starting with Walmart, allowed its customers to shop for over two million products via Google Express and Google Home.
Similarly, Home Depot- the largest home improvement retailer in the USA joined hands with Google Assistant to build a voice assistant in September 2017. This voice assistant allows customers to search for household items like electric appliances, or outdoor equipment by simply giving voice commands to devices.
And, this list is not limited to these two retail brands. There are many others like Amazon, Best Buy, and Target. Now, let’s move ahead with the next cutting-edge advantage of voice technology.
Engaging and Personalized Customer Experience
Voice search adoption in your eCommerce will not only help you to remain accurate and swift- but it will also help you to create a well-optimized and unique customer experience. In general, voice instructions take lesser time than text-based ones, which makes the process more convenient for busy consumers. Today’s consumers look for a stellar experience every time they interact with a digital brand.
Top Brand Incorporating
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is the best example to understand the concept of delivering a personalized customer experience via Alexa- a voice assistant.
Alexa works on the above-depicted hierarchy. It holds all customer-related data, including past purchases from Amazon. Four main commands on which this system works- Search, Add, Order, and Reorder followed by the word Alexa.
You can answer Yes or No to the suggestions as per your needs. Or, you can even ask for more suggestions. Because Alexa can differentiate between voices, it can provide users with valuable insights in regards to users that lead to more personalized content/messages and product choices. Moreover, voice assistants are become more natural with technological innovation- leading to customer loyalty and retention.
Generating Traffic for Web & Mobile
Generating traffic on websites, as well as mobile apps is vital for business strength and revenues. With voice technology, many people are still befuddled in their eCommerce implementations. However, one thing is assured, every business using voice-enabled assistants will be rewarded with huge web traffic.
The reason being whenever voice assistants will provide an answer to queries, it will also provide the user with the ability to click through websites from which the answer is being pulled. That will ultimately contribute to your web traffic. Similarly, you can fetch the traffic for mobile by doing the proper programming.
Though it sounds great to you, you need to work on voice-optimized SEO. By doing so, you can easily help your website rank well along with a great increase in traffic. With voice technology, you can easily change the face of your current SEO strategy. However, you are required to do some changes in planning SEO for voice queries as people interact with search queries differently when they are interacting vocally instead of texting.
So, if you wish to leverage the benefit of generating more traffic, you need to focus on voice search engine optimization as well.
Voice technology is not just built to facilitate customers- but your business can also benefit from it. One of the biggest contributions that are foreseen is its capability to advertise or promote your sales channels (web, mobile apps, or any kind of business model).
A fine example of this area is Amazon’s Alexa, earlier mentioned in the article. While offering you product suggestions, it responds to your answers (Yes, No, or Tell me more). If you choose Yes, it will stop there. However, if you didn’t like any of its suggestions, it will advise you to visit the Alexa app for more options.
Here, it is doing the promotion work for our brand as well, by suggesting to explore other modes of access.
Major Challenges While Incorporating Voice Technology
Despite such advantages mentioned in this post and all over the Internet, voice technology does suffer some challenges like trust. If we consider digital commerce at the initial stages, we might recall the uncertainty of trusting the products- users were not able to touch the products.
With passing time, they start counting on the visuals of websites and the trust factor generated. Now, this scenario is similar to voice technology as well. The voice assistants that people use to order products do lack website or mobile app visuals.
The Need for Revamping SEO Strategy
As discussed earlier in the article, voice technology will no doubt fetch more web traffic for your brand. But you need to work on revamping your current SEO strategies. As the nature of search queries differs- Vocal instead of texts.
And, while asking for something verbally, we use longer keywords than writing. For instance, users tend to type ‘Red Shirt’ over on-site search. Whereas if they will ask for the same product verbally, great chances are of using long sentences like ‘Can you find me a red shirt?’
To make your website rank for such vocal searches, you need to include long-tail keywords in your web content. This website optimization may involve some more SEO practices on practical grounds. Thus, retailers will face challenges while making their website rank for those keywords all again.
The Future of Voice Commerce
The future of voice commerce is bright and full of multiple opportunities to grow. Talking about Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant or any other voice assistant available today, they all have been popping up more and more amongst users.
People are using such technological advancements for everything from ordering products to home automation. But, how this technology will be helpful for retail business in the long term?
Well, marketers very well know the consumer’s perspective. Whenever technology evolves, people are afraid of using it at the initial stages. It always makes sense in the larger context of our society. Everything is falling at the right time and pace.
Voice commerce, to date, has made our life easier and is all set to rule the retail industry in the future as well. If you consider the facts about consumer acceptance (given earlier in this post), you can easily figure out the scope of growth lying ahead in the future.
Voice Technology is revolutionizing the current eCommerce market- and it is still in evolving stages. In the upcoming times, we may find different other uses of voice-enabled devices to benefit our online business sooner or later.
Many marketers are convinced that voice search is facilitating the eCommerce industry progressively. Therefore, retailers need to keep this technology in mind while building their business strategies. All we need to do is keep our hold on this technology so that we can do the exploitation in the long term.