With the growth of the Internet and the development of technologies, e-commerce has become one of the most competitive industries out there. The opportunities are equal for everyone, the playing field is leveled. All the opportunities are within the reach of e-commerce professionals. While all of this sounds nice and peachy, it also means that businessmen need to try even harder to gain an advantage over the competition and acquire and retain customers. The best way to get more attention than your rivals is to always be on top of what’s fresh in the tech department. Well, here’s some interesting news for you: In 2018 more than 30% of the U.S. internet users have purchased or searched information about a product via voice search. It is estimated that by the year 2020 half of all the internet searches will be voice-based.
Now that you know that voice search is the next big thing in e-commerce, you should read the article below for more detailed info on the topic.
What is voice commerce and just how big is it?
Voice Commerce is software that uses voice recognition technology meant primarily for commercial websites. It is imagined as an alternative to using a smartphone/computer keyboard to navigate commercial sites and purchase items. When it was first established, this software was pretty basic with simple ‘yes’ and ‘no’ commands, but now it can handle more complicated questions and responses.
We’ve already mentioned some numbers that could illustrate how big voice commerce is and how big it will become, but that is not even the beginning. By 2022 voice purchases will reach $40 billion, in the U.S. alone. This year, we can expect an increase in voice searches by 6,5 million. It is most frequently used by millennials who are the generation with the most prominent purchase power right now.
What are the main advantages of voice commerce?
The popularity of v-commerce among customers mostly lies in the fact that it allows them to multitask. Unlike reading on a screen and typing on the keyboard, giving voice commands is easy to do while you are performing other tasks.
From the retailers’ point of view voice commerce brings other benefits:
- Creating a more streamlined customer experience: With advanced v-commerce support the products are becoming more accessible than ever, and the path between the customer and the product is shortened and straightforward which could motivate spending and generate customer satisfaction.
- Working on personalization: In recent years personalization became imperative for retailers seeking to survive on the crowded market and v-commerce with voice recognition in combination with AI technologies could bring an improved personalized experience.
- Minimizing the sale points: The number of steps to exchanging products for money is significantly shorter.
- Reducing the costs of e-commerce: V-commerce is less labor-intensive. Consequently, you’ll need fewer sales agents and equipment to handle it.
The challenges for online merchants
The key challenge for online retailers is adapting and changing based on the trends in technology while keeping the focus on what is important – the customers and the products. One of the challenges that can sneak up on you is voice search optimization which is drastically different than SEO.
While algorithms for written articles determine the relevance of a website or a web page based on a short phrase (keyword), the algorithms for voice search place their focus on natural language. In the latter case, the sentences are more likely to be long and complete (with a noun, adjective, verb, etc.).
Creating product descriptions that can describe in words, what would otherwise be shown in pictures is another thing to wrap the mind around. Merchants will need to come up with creative, short, precise, and catchy product descriptions.
Trends that can impact voice search implementation
How people buy things via voice search, which devices they are using, what do they buy the most, are all important facts to know before adopting v-commerce.
For example, an interesting trend to pay attention to is that people are mostly using voice search when ordering toiletries and groceries. Everyday household items are also high on that list, and apparel and consumer electronics do not lag behind either.
The device via the consumers are shopping is particularly important for retailers who rely too much on one marketing approach for all platforms. Most of the shoppers use their smartphones for voice recognition, but smart speakers and other screen-based devices are also present. In fact, among the top-selling Amazon Echo and Google Home are climbing on the top of the list of the best-selling products.
How to prepare for the expansion of voice commerce?
All that remains is the preparation of your business for voice-based search. Here are five steps to get you there:
- Get into the world of voice apps. Many of the apps offer simple programming interfaces which can be very helpful. For example, Amazon Alexa Skill Kit’s interface allows you to create voice-driven listings and track shipments via voice commands.
- Establish a voice search optimization strategy (as we mentioned above – natural language and complete sentences).
- Remove all the obstacles which could hold back or unnecessarily lengthen the purchase process via voice technology.
- Spread the word of the voice tech implementation on all your marketing channels, including social media.
The future of voice commerce
Amazon currently holds the largest market share of voice tech and smart – approximately double the size of Google’s share, so you should put your focus there. Still, don’t underestimate Google’s ability to catch up.
The key issue predicted for the future is safety, especially when it comes to sharing personal data and performing financial transactions via voice-based searches. While the level of security is not much different from regular online purchases, earning the trust of the customers will be a task to live up to. The more the technology is used, the fewer doubts will be attached to it. In the following years, v-commerce will become more versatile and simplified, and therefore, more present than ever.
There is no doubt that traditional online search behavior is changing. As an online merchant, you need to be aware that there are billions of dollars flowing into this sector, and if you do not hop in, you are falling behind. V-commerce is not the next big thing. It is the big thing at this moment, and this is the moment to begin to implement it.
Natasha is a web designer, lady of a keyboard and one hell of a geek. She is always happy to collaborate with awesome blogs and share her knowledge about IT, digital marketing and business trends. To see what she is up to next, check out her Twitter Dashboard.