This week, Amazon reported that Alexa voice shopping tripled during the 2018 holiday season over the previous year. This announcement puts an exclamation point on voice shopping’s recent exponential growth and highlights the huge opportunity in front of online retailers. Although still in its infancy, it’s more clear now than ever that voice shopping will be the next revolution in eCommerce.
As smart speakers and voice-activated devices become more sophisticated, buyers will increasingly expect that their favorite brands offer a voice shopping interface. Here are four reasons why every retailer needs to develop a voice shopping strategy today that capitalizes on the next wave of eCommerce innovation.
1. Voice Shopping Is Growing Quickly
In 2017, voice shopping accounted for $2B in total sales and is expected to reach $40B by 2022. Already, voice shopping is growing 2x faster than mobile shopping and is becoming the next big “touchpoint” in online retail.
Customers are increasingly using voice-activated smart devices, like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, to order all types of products. Adobe recently predicted that 50% of US households will have smart speaker devices by end of 2018 holiday season. Looking at the reports of Alexa devices selling out a week before Christmas reinforces the dominance of voice assistants.
2. Clear Early-Mover Advantage
Those who build voice shopping capabilities today create significant early-mover advantage for themselves. With so few retailers currently supporting voice shopping, there is little competition to offer a differentiated experience and establish long-term loyalty with consumers.
Buyers already see tremendous value in using voice shopping for goods that they tend to re-order, such as household items, beauty supplies, and groceries. By capturing these customers early, direct-to-consumer brands are building solid user bases that will continue to grow over time.
Even in its early stage, voice shopping is a valuable interface for retailers as it creates real value for early movers and helps them capture a higher number of impulse buyers.
3. AI & Natural Language Understanding (NLU) Improving
The technology behind voice shopping is improving rapidly. AI and NLU have taken major strides in recent years, making it much easier for smart devices to identify user intent.
Retailers can embed their voice shopping applications with AI that is able to provide personalized recommendations to buyers based on their tastes and preferences. Additionally, survey results indicate a 74% satisfaction rate among those who use smart speakers which is due in large part to advances in NLU. As NLU improves, users will have smoother interactions with their smart speakers and order more products via voice shopping.
4. Voice Shopping Trajectory Similar To eCommerce
Much like how websites, SEO, and mobile apps have become “must-have” features for successful retailers, voice shopping, too, will be essential for the future of commerce.
In the past, those who were able to adopt strong SEO practices early in the eCommerce movement dominated onlines sales before the space grew overcrowded. Voice will become more important as adoption increases and competition floods the market.
In May, Amazon released the CanFulfillIntentRequest interface which is the voice equivalent of what used to be search optimization that is still essential for online discovery. It is only a matter of time before paid voice-specific searching and optimization is widespread.
The Time Is Now
As more and more consumers grow accustomed to shopping via voice, online retailers need to move quickly in order to keep up with demand and a rapidly evolving retail landscape. The barriers to entry for voice shopping are low and the value it creates for customers is undeniable. Online retailers that invest in voice shopping now will remain ahead of the curve and be ready to capitalize on the explosive growth projected over the next several years.
Blutag provides easy-to-use solutions so that retailers can develop and deploy voice shopping experiences without any deep technical knowledge or expertise. To get a better sense for how Blutag can bring voice shopping success to your store, create your own voice assistant here.