The State of Voice Ordering in E-commerce and How to Prepare for The Future
In 2018 more than 60% of customers who were technically equipped to buy via voice command have used this possibility at least once.
The fact that the recommendation from a virtual assistant changed the mind of 85% of customers who have intended to buy a specific brand or a product, and then went for the recommended one, provides a valuable insight into how voice technology can be used for SEO and marketing.
While we see a lot of potential in voice commerce, it is important to ask the crucial question: how many people across the globe have the necessary equipment to use this feature?
More than 500 million people are using Google Assistant devices. The numbers are pretty much the same when it comes to Apple Siri devices. Take away 100 million or so and you will get the number of customers using Microsoft Cortana devices. Amazon Alexa devices are still taking a smaller share of the cake with little over 100 million users.
Still, no one can deny that Amazon has quite possibly the best grasp on the market with more than 10.000 employees working on Alexa and the Echo.
A few bumps on the road
Based on the statements and predictions of marketing and e-commerce experts in the previous years, we could easily conclude that 2019 will be the year when voice shopping will reach its prime. However, the facts tell otherwise.
Currently, Internet consumers are using this option mostly to look for information about the product. In fact, only 2% of the surveyed individuals said they frequently use their smart devices to make a purchase.
So, why are users still reluctant when it comes making the voice-enabled shopping a part of the regular consumer culture? We know that the idea of voice commerce goes way back to 1961 and IBM’s first digital speech recognition tool, and we know that Siri, Google Now, and Alexa are here for years. Why the lack of trust?
As we learn from various surveys, most users have trust issues regarding sharing their personal information or have general security concerns. They also often fear that they could accidentally order duplicates or the wrong product.
Where will voice commerce be in the future?
It is in the nature of human beings to fear the unknown. It is also in the nature of human beings to embrace change and adapt. The voice tech could become an integral part of the consumer culture as the users are getting more comfortable with the novelties.
It is predicted that voice-enabled purchases will reach $40 billion in the US alone by 2022. The foundation for this growth will be set by more users who will buy smart speakers and use smart devices with voice recognition tech.
How to prepare for the future?
Are you sleeping tight wrapped in the security of the undisputed domination of in-store shopping and consistent growth of traditional e-commerce? Well, don’t. Many brick and mortar owners felt that way when the online shopping came into play and they regretted it later.
It is noted that already now, the users are expecting for the brands they trust to implement the latest technologies in e-commerce and the growing mobile marketplace. So, if you want to succeed, here are some guidelines to follow.
#1 Implement a voice search strategy
The user experience should be your primary concern because the people using voice technology are usually the ones who are born into all the conveniences of modern-day tech. The voice search should recognize the simple and straightforward conversational tone.
#2 Make voice search a part of your SEO strategy
Online stores rely heavily on SEO for driving traffic to their website. However, if you are planning on implementing the voice search you need to consider how this is changing the way the users are interacting with the search engine.
We are used to short keywords and phrases such as “best shoes jogging”, but voice search shifts that basic conversation to “where to find the best shoes for jogging”. This means you will need to include additional keywords and phrases.
#3 Design a natural interaction
The regular web and mobile interface will guide the user on what to ask and do next. Voice search, as we mentioned, leans toward human communication. This is why you must design an interaction based on how people generally speak and allow users to take the lead in the conversation with the voice assistant.
#4 Don’t count on the user’s ability to remember
It is simple to remember the written content, but the spoken word gets away easily. If the users are burdened with dozens of options they could get confused which will make it challenging for them to decide, and they will, eventually, give up on the purchase. Provide up to three options to avoid this confusion.
#5 Use featured snippets
Featured snippets are blocks of content the users can see at the top of the results page. This feature can help optimize your pages and provide more specific answers to users’ questions more quickly.
#6 Go omnichannel
Omnichannel is a market approach that insists on creating coherent and consistent customer experiences through all platforms, communication channels, and devices. This is an important issue to have in mind, now that the customers are accepting the voice tech, and when it seems that it will take third place in the hierarchy of online shopping.
Creating an omnichannel sales strategy will improve the customer experience and motivate users to try out all the options you are offering.
How to go omnichannel?
Take for example gift cards. If a change is made on the gift card via voice recognition, that change should be instantly registered on the website and in the store.
This also means that you should give your customers the option of completing purchases on the online shop even if they started to make the order via a voice assistant and vice versa. They should also be able to check the status of their purchase or make a return on every channel.
Starbucks is praised for its efficient omnichannel strategy, so you can, take some hints from the famous brand.
Voice commerce still hasn’t reached the heights it was predicted to reach until this date. Still, it cannot be denied that this online shopping channel is slowly, yet steadily building its way up, aiming to mimic the growth and development of the mobile marketplace.
The most astute business people will see the opportunity in this field and hurry to get ahead of the competitors to gain an upper hand in this game.
If you are among them, you will research and follow the trends and the motivations of the internet users and your potential customers. By keeping your ear on the beating heart of the technology (and the turbulent market) you will always know what to do.
For now, you should prepare the grounds for your future voice ordering domination. You will do that by following the tips in this article. The sooner you start, the better.
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About the Author
Natasha is lady of a keyboard and one hell of a growth-hack geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, business growth strategies and digital marketing trends. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter Dashboard.