Gone are the days when you had to type in product names to get search results. You can now talk to an app to get relevant results. This groundbreaking feature fueling voice commerce is new but bound to advance and offer more flexibility to users.
Voice tech one of many innovative ways for consumers to save time and stress in search or other activities, and it’s gaining in popularity.
Think of Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Assistant and others. Voice search was ordinarily used for simple tasks like playing music and checking the weather. By 2012, Android launched its own voice assistant, a year after Siri. Now, voice tech-enabled assistants are available for most devices and even smart homes.
Although voice tech isn’t new, using it for ecommerce is a relatively recent development. The hands-free approach is a novel one, but consumers remain skeptical. When voice tech was first introduced, there were obvious capacity limits. Now, there have been significant improvements to the devices and the technology, all thanks to machine learning and AI.
How Voice Technology Works
Voice search is powered by AI and ML, converting speech to text to perform certain actions. It follows basic simple steps and processes to give consumers’ the desired results. To process a request, voice tech follows these basic steps:
- Record and transcribe speech into text
- Identify direct commands or trigger words
- Search through data sources based on commands for relevant information
- Present it to the user based on the intent.
For voice search to be effective and produce intent-based results, you need trigger words, commands or questions. Voice-based ecommerce can start as simply as, “Hey Siri, find a toaster oven near me.” The ecommerce store analyzes the text, and the results based on the trigger words are presented to you.
Benefits of Voice Search
Some of the benefits of a voice commerce platform include:
- A more personalized shopping experience: Since voice search is most effective mainly through the data gathered, devices can use it to enhance the personalized experience. Based on this data, you can create preferences, develop new products and map out marketing strategies to stay ahead of the competition and satisfy customers’ needs.
- Convenience: One of the most basic advantages of voice search and voice commerce is ease of use. There’s no complex setup or software needed. All you need is to enable the voice assistant on your preferred device, and consumers are shopping in no time.
- Speed: With voice commerce platforms, consumers don’t need to type in details on a web stores, saving them time and trouble. Logging into a personal account isn’t necessary either, as they can add items to their cart until they’re ready to purchase.
- Safe checkouts: Certain ecommerce stores now use voice tech as a verification tool for secure checkout. It makes it almost impossible for theft to occur, giving shoppers peace of mind. And you can worry less about keeping up with compliance regulations.
Challenges of Voice Commerce
Like every other technological innovation, the voice search behind voice commerce does have its challenges. However, technology is advancing every day, so there are still certain challenges to be worked on, such as:
- Speech pattern and complexity: Voice search uses natural language integration. With the complexities of speech patterns, it can sometimes be difficult to understand what the customer wants to search for or purchase. When speaking in a general language like English, things like accents can interfere with speech, making it difficult for the AI to process customers’ needs accurately.
- Limited voice-enabled platforms: Not a lot of ecommerce platforms have enabled the use of voice search for voice commerce. This can be very limiting for consumers who are getting accustomed to this technology.
Brands are advised to optimize their products for voice search and voice commerce. Following voice commerce trends, more consumers will get comfortable with it for a better ecommerce experience. According to Microsoft, 72% of consumers have performed a voice search through their device, so it’s only logical they’ll take the next step to use it as a convenient shopping tool.
Established companies like Amazon and Walmart are taking full advantage of voice search to make shopping less complex. Some voice commerce examples include Walmart Voice Order, in partnership with Google. Shoppers can simply say, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart.’ There’s a similar concept with Amazon Fresh, where customers shop through Alexa-enabled devices. The future of ecommerce is voice commerce, so you should embrace it now because your customers will soon expect it.
Deepak Gupta is co-founder and CTO/CISO of LoginRadius