‘Voice Commerce’ Rising… Are You Prepared For A Voice-Assisted Digital Future?

  • By Andy Fox

“Alexa, get me an Uber”

“Ok Google, Where is the closest Thai Restaurant?”

“Hey Siri, FaceTime Mom” 

If you’ve been asking similar questions to Voice Assistants on your phone, or to any voice-activated, AI-enabled ‘conversational’ speakers like; Amazon Echo or Google Home – then you’re already in sync with the ‘voice commerce’ trend, which is most likely to disrupt the digital commerce in the near future. 

Yes, by using just your voice you can now turn on your lights, play your favourite music, watch a movie on Netflix, get the breaking news, manage your calendar, order a pizza or an Uber ride, and basically shop for anything from Amazon, Target, Toys‘R’Us, Costco, PetSmart and many more stores – and have it delivered right at your door! 

According to eMarketer, this year 35.6 million Americans are to use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month – which is a jump of almost 130% over last year!  

It seems Amazon’s Echo has taken the bigger chunk of the Voice-enabled Speaker User Share with its grip on 70.6% of users, whereas Google Home comes second with the hold on 23.8% of the market:

null

To give you some idea of how this Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled smart machines (speakers) is going to proliferate in the coming years and play crucial roles in our lives; here are some more predictions to dig for:

null

The stats clearly speak of how innovation and sophistication in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning technologies are moving us into the ‘customer experience’, enabled via non-screen interfaces like voice-activated smart speakers and bots. 

This phenomenon will without a doubt bring challenges, or should we say open up opportunities for businesses and retailers who are willing to provide a friction-less, ‘voice-activated’ ecommerce experience to its customers, who by the way have already started expecting a consistent, transparent, and multichannel shopping experience, through these intelligent voice-enabled technologies and devices. 

A brilliant example of how this technology is bringing brands together to serve the masses is that of Starbucks partnering with Ford’s SYNC3, the carmaker’s Alexa-powered voice technology. The drivers can call out their orders while driving or when stuck in traffic and by the time they arrive at Starbucks, their food and drinks are ready to go. This gets business to Starbucks and adds huge value for the Ford owner who saves time. 

If you’re looking to tap this immense potential of the new frontiers of ‘conversation based ecommerce’, the following are a few ways to get you started: 

Adapting Your On-site Search For Natural Language Search Queries

To decode a voice search with long-tailed keywords and phrases and to understand the intent of your ‘conversational’ consumer; you need to integrate Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology for your on-site search queries, to enable natural language phrasing into textual content. 

If we look at brands like eBay and Amazon, they’re already using NLP technologies, including the power of Machine Learning and AI to predict and display most relevant search results every time the customer enters their site. 

For an online retailer, an easy way to adopt this technology is to make use of unified engagement platforms like Reflektion, Inbenta and Klevu; that use AI and NLP technologies to help drive consumers looking for intimate and highly relevant experiences with your brand through voice searches. 

Brands like Altitude Sports have taken this advantage by redesigning their search bar with AI Technology through search technology provider like SearchSpring. Since the upgrade, the brand has received 50% more revenue from its search bar. 

Focusing on Local Searches & SEO Best Practices

The best way to boost your SEO is to use Schema Markup. It enables you to boost your site in the SERPs, as well as helps to achieve rich and structured data for detailed product information and to attract potential buyers. 

Scema codes helps to identify content elements and tags and enables search engines to quickly identify the relationship in the required context; thus delivering a seamless ‘voice commerce’ experience for your customers. 

It is estimated that voice searches are three times more likely to be local based than text searches – A clear indication that we optimise our site for local SEO to cater to the voice queries of customers which are more locally based. 

Use of Conversational (Natural) Language With Site’s Content

Contrary to text-based searches, voice-searches are more ‘long-tailed’ keywords with conversational language. They are more voice-friendly and more often than not, include questions looking for results confined to local vicinity. 

For instance, Where is the best mobile-repair-shop nearby?”  Or ‘Where is the closest daycare center?’.  These queries is clear on the intent of the user, as opposed to a plain text query of ‘daycare center’; which could mean anything from a definition to images of a daycare centre. 

Thus to deliver more relevant results of a voice-search query, every content on your online store; from product titles to product description, reviews etc. should be in alignment to ‘natural language’. You could also consider adding Q&A pages that uses phrases and keywords which people actually use during conversation. 

Finally…

Voice-activated technology is here for good and will completely disrupt the ecommerce industry and the ways in which we consume goods and services. How have you prepared yourself for the oncoming wave of ‘Voice Commerce’? 

If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

Call Andy Fox (me) on (03) 5249 5570 or email andy@element7digital.com.au

Our Website is element7digital.com.au   

Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

More about me, visit: andyfox.com.au