Digital Shopping: The Rise of Voice Commerce

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What is voice commerce?

It is a type of conversational commerce that involves voice recognition technology, in which users interact with a business. Unlike making purchases via a computer, mobile phone, or tablet where a consumer must select a product by clicking or typing in the search query, voice commerce works on user voice command.

The exponential popularity of smart speakers is influencing our interaction with the online world as the screen has become the fallback for interfacing with the internet and the wide range of uses we put them has made a way for a shift from screen to voice.

Merging Voice Commerce

By 2022, it’s estimated that the voice commerce market will be worth around the range of £40 billion. This suggests that we are moving towards a screen-less process instead of screens as the primary interface for e-commerce. Thanks to the popularity of smart speakers, the infrastructure to support this move is already in place, according to Nielsen.

According to the Nielsen study, almost two-thirds of smart speaker was bought within the last six months. It also indicates that 24% of households own a smart speaker, and 40% of those actually have more than one.

The trend towards owning a smart speaker, such as Google’s Home speaker, Amazon’s Echo, and Apple’s HomePod, is one that has gathered much boost in recent months

The spike of voice commerce in the US is astounding, compared to just 25%in the UK 60% of online users use or have used voice assist to shop online as different markets are rising at different rates.

The results are almost stark when looking at the male vs female differences, male consumers are more likely to use voice commerce than female consumers. According to a survey, about 45% of men use or had used smart assistants to shop, compared to just 30% of women.

As expected, under 44% of 25 to 34 years are pushing this voice commerce trend internationally as they presently use voice to shop, with 36% of active users from 35 to 44 years old. This plummets to 15% in the 45 to 54-year-old group, and 10% for those over 55 years old.

Voicing concerns

The view is bright for voice commerce, but concerns remain. Just like how Amazon had to pull the CloudPets smart toy from its digital shelves for fear of security issues, some consumers are cynical over the security and privacy of smart assistants.

There is work to be done to win over everyone and subside fears over security and privacy as about three quarters convey concern about devices “listening to conversations” but most especially, 83% panicking about smart speakers ordering items without permission.

And more than half of consumers saying they would be happy with a retail experience that involved no sites or stores, about 9-in-10 consumers said they prefer to see an item before making a purchase

Adjusting to voice commerce

Businesses will need to adjust to this changing landscape as voice commerce begins to expand and become better established. For instance, it will affect how consumers search for products and the choices that are presented to them.

The way users search is incredibly simple, but it is quite the alternative while trying to make sense out of it. Processing search queries are more complex when an algorithm has got to understand a conversational tone. Furthermore, necessary changes need to be made to the procedures that are taken to pique consumers into purchasing products.

Due to the shift from visual to audio, businesses will have to re-evaluate how to attract customers with an identity that needs to be built around voice and personality. Listings with Amazon are now an advisable means of entering the voice market as it has helped launch the voice commerce idea and is the first to build a broad end-to-end ecosystem for it.

Voice Search is one of the most excitable customer touchpoints right now and that’s for many reasons, that includes;

  • It is fast. As searching with your voice is way faster than typing.
  • It is conversational.
  • It is in the middle of the home controlling home automation systems through a speaker.
  • It is very convenient and much more.

Ultimately, the hike in voice commerce will also make data and the use of machine learning even more important with regard to the timing and methods of customer targeting.

Summary

There are real opportunities in touring this latest method of communication as voice commerce constitutes a remarkable shift in the way consumers interact with businesses and it is a change that is here to stay.

Voice commerce may not be without friction just yet, but digital consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on convenience and looking for technologies that make the retail experience as frictionless as possible.

Retailers have to plan now for customers that are going to interact with their brand using voice, especially as it will entirely change how brands and customers communicate.