Voice Commerce Trends and Business Potential


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Voice interactions eliminate the need to use hands and eyes for surfing the web and extend its potential to new contexts, including household chores, driving, and exercising. The rise of speech interfaces can reduce the number of waking hours without instant online access to zero. Businesses that embrace and monetize this trend early can expect significant benefits. Today I want to go over the numbers that spell out the inevitability of voice industry growing stronger and the ways businesses can make most of it.

The Present and the Future of Voice Commerce in Numbers

Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption report by Voicebot.ai reveals that most consumers prefer a physical shopping experience (62.34 percent), with the web site (26.27 percent) and mobile (7.56 percent) shopping rounding up the top three choices. Only 0.58 percent of shoppers rely on smart speakers to close the deals. However, nearly 75 percent of smartphone owners have tried using a voice search app or a digital assistant, and 20 percent use them monthly.

In the US, 21.6 percent of the population (over 50 million) has access to smart speakers with Amazon devices holding over 60 percent of the market and Google voice search and digital assistant hardware gaining traction with over 25 percent as of May 2018. While voice shopping is still very new, every fourth smart speaker owner has tried it. Surprisingly, users do not limit their voice shopping to reordering items, they order new products as well, though the average price range is well below $100.

The Rise of Voice Commerce whitepaper by OC&C includes the everyday use cases by smart speaker owners in the US and the UK. Playing music, learning about the weather or news, answers to general questions, setting alarms, and adding items to to-do lists all come before voice shopping. However, the survey shows 62 percent of the American users and 44 percent of the British consumers have used their smart speakers for shopping, with 90 percent of their spendings going to Amazon.

The consumer likes and dislikes paint a vivid picture of their experiences and improvement potential. Users enjoy Google voice search app and voice shopping because they are hands-free and enable multitasking, feel more natural and produce quick results. However, a third of consumers do not feel comfortable with voice shopping. Users do not wish to entrust their personal and financial information to smart speakers. The lack of a screen is also a drawback, along with the need for wake words instead of a voice search button. Some consumers believe they can type faster than formulating voice commands.

While English-speaking voice search technology is the most established, China, India, and other regions will dramatically increase their use of digital assistants by 2023. Canalys reported the global smart speaker market growing 187 percent in Q2 2018 with the number of units shipped in the US and China nearly equal. Compared to Q4 2017, the Chinese smart speaker market share quadrupled.

According to The Digital Assistants of Tomorrow report by Juniper Research, by 2023 the number of digital assistants in use will reach eight billion, compared to the current rate of 2.5 billion. With smartphone leading the charge for voice search software adoption because of its universal use and lack of further hardware investment, smart TV-based voice assistants and smart speakers are not far behind.

These numbers translate into an untapped customer base and new opportunities for business. According to some forecasts, voice shopping will account for $40 billion in US consumer spending by 2022. With voice shopping categories reflecting online sessions, businesses can increase their average basket value, improve customer experience and lifetime value by embracing the alternative shopping channels.

How to Prepare Your Business for Voice Commerce and Speech Search

I believe there are three directions every company can take to capitalize on voice assistants and shopping opportunities:

  • The first option is the easiest to incorporate into your digital commerce strategy, as voice slowly takes its place among other marketing and UX tools in your arsenal. Voice technologies are perfect for product discovery and repeat purchases so you can start there.
  • Once first voice-enabled earnings start streaming in, you can tailor specific items on your inventory to voice search and shopping. This means helping consumers make informed decisions and building trust through reworking product names and descriptions to make them short and potent, easy to understand.
  • To make most of your voice-friendly strategy, partner up with the biggest players on the market: Google and Amazon. Alexa’s recommendations comprise the items on the Amazon’s Choice list, while Google Home returns results that have a strong Google Express presence, so that’s what you need to achieve.

Considering voice web surfing is only possible through a series of search queries, search engine optimization (SEO) strategies should also adapt for Google speak search if you want consumers to find your products through smart speakers and digital assistants. The voice search SEO best practices include:

  1. Lightweight and quickly loading web pages. Optimize the images, compress the files, ensure your web site is mobile-friendly.
  2. Long-tail keywords that sound natural. Consider the way your customers would ask about your products in a conversation and make your texts short and simple.
  3. Position zero features snippets. Deliver the summary of the web page in under 29 words, use lists or tables, include the keywords to ensure your snippet appears at the top of the search results.
  4. Focus on local customers. Add location-related keywords to the web site content to attract 22 percent of the consumers looking for geo-specific results.

Current voice search and commerce numbers might not be groundbreaking, but the increasing rate of adoption both in the US and across the world make this technology a viable new revenue stream. Whether Google will reign with its single search result approach or a new voice search engine will rise to make the user experience smooth and comfortable, businesses should embrace the challenges and benefits of voice commerce and start with voice search optimization of their web sites and offers for digital assistants and hands-free screenless shopping.

The original article was published at FreshCode blog.


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