While technology is evolving repidly, it's having an impact on many information technlogies, including ecommerce. Voice commerce, will this be the year it catches up to voice search in ecommerce?

Let's take a close look at how voice search is changing online shopping, what voice commerce is, and why it has the potential to become the next big thing in ecommerce. You’ll see that voice recognition technology is already changing our online shopping exerience.

What is voice commerce?

Voice commerce is a new technology that provides an alternative way to order and purchase products online, not using keyboard, mosue but using voice commands. All the customer needs to search and buy something online using voice commands is a Virtual Voice Assistant such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa—and, of course, a voice. Voice commerce is not limited to finding the product itself but also ordering and buying it.

With the help of voice commerce, browsing products and completing a purchase becomes more faster and can be accomplished at anytime and from everwhere, even while taking a driving, if your Virtual Voice Assistant can hear you.

According to a voice shopping consumer adoption report, follwoing are top reasons why consumers like voice shopping experience:

  • It’s hands free
  • It’s possible to do it while doing other activities
  • It’s faster to get answers and results to purchase products online.

How is voice commerce used?

To make a online purchases using voice technology, customers need a mobile device or a smart speaker and a Virtual Voice Assistant. Today’s most popular brands of smart speakers using voice-controlled virtual assistants are Amazon Echo (powered by Alexa), Google Home (powered by Google Assistant) and Facebook Jarvis.

Voice enablied intelligent assistants are used for a variety of applications: listening to any type of music, searching for particular information on any topic, executing a home automation function, and even ordering food online. Let’s take a look at how virtual assistants are used for shopping online using voice commands.

In the case of Amazon, customers can use an Alexa-enabled device to search for, order, and buy products from Amazon using voice. The wake-up word “Alexa” activates the device. For example, a customer would say “Alexa, order” and the name of the product they want to purchase. Alexa checks a shopper’s stored buying history and suggests products based on the past data. If the past data shows no previous requests like the current one, Alexa then first suggests ‘Amazon Choice’ products. Alexa next announces the product price and asks if the shopper would like to buy the product. If the answer is yes, Alexa places the order; if the answer is no, Alexa might suggest other options.

Google lets customers buy products using voice from Google Express. Retailers, including Walmart, Costco, and Target, have partnered with Google to let customers buy their products by voice using Google Assistant. Walmart shoppers can even link their Google Express and Walmart accounts giving Google access to a shopper’s stored history of Walmart product purchases. Customers can then easily reorder products they’ve already bought in the past. If, when ordering, a shopper refuses a suggested item, Google Assistant, just like Alexa, will then recommend another option.

Virtual Voice Assistants can help companies gather customer data to provide more personalized services to thier customers.

Challenges of voice commerce

One key challenge around voice commerce is that it’s not easier than the alternatives. Search is obviously a crucial element in researching products. But unless you’re using a device with a screen such as Google Home Hub or Echo Show, you can’t see the products.

“With a screen, you can show facets and filters. When you’re getting results by voice, it takes more time for a person to be able to ingest”.

Additionally, it takes longer to hear the results than see them on a screen. According to a survey, 85% of consumers choose the default option while voice shopping.

 

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