Voice commerce, also known as v-commerce or voice-to-shop, has long been on the rise; even before the pandemic caused us all to assess how contactless we need to be. We may even be as bold as to say that the convenience of voice assistant devices, like Amazon Alexa and Google Home Hubs, is the reason this type of technology is so popular.
In taking a look at both voice biometrics and voice commerce, we’ll delve into the role your voice can hold in both brick-and-mortar shops and online commerce.
What is voice commerce?
Firstly, let’s discuss what voice commerce or voice shopping is. It is what it says on the tin; a type of e-commerce where you can use your voice to make a purchase.
Consumers have become accustomed to using their voice to make demands via a device such as playing a certain song, asking a question or even turning out the lights, but voice-assisted technology can go one step further and complete transactions.
How does voice commerce work?
Voice commerce relies on voice assistant software programs to function. It uses natural language processing (NLP) to interpret what the consumer is saying, such as “I want to buy a pair of trainers” and then carries out the appropriate actions; in this example, it will take them to a product page.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) also plays a big part in this function by using the consumer’s search history so that it can find the most relevant results for that individual. Pretty impressive, right?
The rise of voice shopping
The use of digital voice assistants is predicted to keep on growing; a study from Statista forecasts that by 2024, the amount used will reach 8.4 billion – a 433% increase from April 2022. Another study estimated that the transaction value of this type of commerce in the US alone will exceed $30 billion by 2024. So, it’s safe to say that much opportunity has developed from this smart voice technology.
Another development that has aided the rise in voice commerce is voice biometrics. Where face ID used to suffice, during the pandemic face coverings got in the way (literally), creating a challenge and making the use of voice biometrics a necessity. The development of this technology and, therefore, the increased use of voice biometrics in turn contributed to the rise in v-commerce.
To paraphrase Todd Mozer, CEO and chairman of voice technology firm Sensory, the utilisation of smart technology, like smart speakers, and the more recent population of smart speaker-enabled devices, such as televisions, has allowed for an increasing comfortability of voice technology and the use of AI.
Ways that e-commerce brands can use voice commerce
If you’re wanting to jump on the voice-commerce craze, then here are a few ways your e-commerce brand can utilise it.
- Make your products discoverable – The most popular method of use is via Google’s voice search feature. So, you’ll need to make sure your products are listed within Google Shopping so that they can be found.
- Orders can be replenished – If the customer’s payment details are tokenised, they can easily confirm a recurring payment using voice technology.
- Present product recommendations – As mentioned above, consumers can use this technology to have products recommended to them.
- Provide order tracking – There’s even the option for consumers to check up on their parcel via voice technology taking the customer experience to the next level.
The benefits of v-commerce
So, we’ve looked at the ways this technology can be used, but what are the advantages of voice-based e-commerce? Although there may be some additional resources needed to optimise your business for v-commerce, it could be worth it. Let’s take a look at the benefits:
- Convenience – It takes contactless to a whole new level. It’s unbelievably quick and easy!
- Accessibility – Since the consumer doesn’t need to lift a finger to use voice shopping, it makes it suitable for those with physical disabilities, making your business more accessible.
- Security – Voice commerce can be more secure than other channels. If consumers set up voice print, this unique identifier makes it even more difficult for fraudsters to access.
- Reporting – It can provide a different type of data for you to delve into. Voice analytics can be used to see what your customers are saying about your products and service.
- Personalised shopping – Consumers love a personalised experience. Providing recommendations and allowing them to manage their purchases all by using their voice will give them the customisable experience that can keep them coming back.
The challenges of voice commerce
Despite demand and the potential benefits of voice commerce, the journey isn’t going to be frictionless.
The main limitation of voice shopping right now is that it’s still relatively new technology, therefore, hasn’t been adopted by a large percentage of consumers yet. With new technology comes trust issues. The trust around the v-commerce market is still so variable that it arguably needs to establish itself more before it can really take off.
The integration of v-commerce isn’t as simple as a new payment method either; it lies more with the user interface and relies on the smart technology that the consumer uses too.
But regardless of the limitations of voice shopping, the roadmap isn’t far off. With the digital voice assistant market set to drastically increase this year, the way forward is only going to become clearer.
What does the future look like for voice commerce?
Voice commerce uses smart technology that’s still in its early days with so much room to grow, but can you imagine the future of e-commerce if this becomes the norm of how to shop?
With smart speaker actions and interactions already manageable via linked devices, the demand for truly contactless methods of commerce is growing. As soon as the trust issues surrounding AI voice assistance have been managed, v-commerce is sure to soar.
However, considering the statistics already mentioned, it’s clear that this change is already in motion; with the trends that gen Z is setting with commerce and their adaptability to new technology, it’s not hard to see why.
Some brands that are currently successfully using voice commerce include:
- Amazon – With the popularity of Alexa, Amazon has taken the voice assistant movement by storm.
- Apple and Google – How often do you say ‘Hey Siri’ or ‘OK Google’; they’ve also enabled voice search in some of their e-commerce applications.
- American Express – Managing your finances just got easier! The card scheme is integrated with Amazon Alexa so its customers can inquire about their account balances and make payments using voice biometrics.
- Mastercard’s Sonic Brand – Receive an audible verification of a payment transaction from Mastercard via the payment device or payment acceptance device.
- KFC – The fast food chain has adopted Amazon’s Alexa assistant with the addition of their own voice print to test their quick-service restaurant model and develop a more interactive service – and it’s not the only restaurant doing so!
We’re yet to define how far v-commerce will evolve. However, it is certain that the addition of voice technology is going to going to play a big role in the future of commerce.
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