The global coronavirus pandemic has been driving technology adoption, and voice-enhanced retail experiences are quickly becoming the norm. There is still time for your ecommerce shop to implement a cost-effective conversational interface to engage your audience and differentiate your brand from the competition.
The retail industry is America's largest private-sector employer and contributes more than $3.9 trillion to the annual gross domestic product, supporting one in four American jobs and the livelihoods of more than 52 million citizens. With so many brick-and-mortar storefronts closed for extended periods during the pandemic, many customers have joyfully shifted their weekly and monthly shopping experiences online.
In tandem, voice technology has emerged as one of the premier ways for successful retail brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors by offering more personalized customer experiences. With 44% of the U.S. population using voice technologies frequently but still many top brands lagging in adopting these new technologies, smaller brands still have incredible opportunities to use voice to pull away in their respective industries.
According to Deloitte's 2021 retail industry analysis, digital differentiation has emerged as one of the most strategic ways for retail businesses to activate their customer bases and increase market share.
For instance, automaker Lamborghini amazed CES 2020 audiences when they unveiled the world's first Huracán EVO equipped with an on-board digital assistant in the form of Amazon's Alexa. When the Lamborghini and Alexa integration was first announced, many wondered if it would be successful or be labeled a misstep. Toyota, BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat, and Volvo are just a few of the global car companies that have decided to implement voice technology in their new car releases as well.
Voice-Enhanced Retail Technology is Driving the Break Out Success of Ecommerce in 2021
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in late 2019, the retail sector has worked aggressively to enhance the utility of online retail channels while also refining in-store shopping to allow for more touchless retail experiences. This has created a breakthrough moment with U.S. domestic ecommerce sales topping $4.2 trillion for the first time.
Beauty giant Sephora is another market-leading brand that has built an amazing omnichannel marketing approach by embracing emerging technologies and using them to deliver more personalized and engaging customer experiences. The brand was an early adopter of voice search, and the Sephora voice assistant app and integration with the Google Home hub are frequently cited as some of the best examples of voice technology. It was implemented to enhance the online shopping experience while adding something fun that appeals to specific demographics of customers.
According to a survey conducted by the NRF, the retail industry has changed in the following ways since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic:
72% of individuals surveyed believe the pandemic has dramatically accelerated digital transformation initiatives
73% of individuals surveyed believe the pandemic has dramatically increased their company's technology-related investments
58% of individuals surveyed believe the pandemic has dramatically enhanced the number of technology-related products and services that have been released
The Future of Ecommerce Isn't Transactional; It's Personalized, Interactive, and Engaging
Traditionally, the online sales channel served a mostly transactional role for most retail brands. The pandemic has changed that and made online sales channels a center point of the experiential retail shopping experiences many brands are working aggressively to deliver to their customers in the United States and worldwide.
Digital platforms invigorate the retail industry by allowing brands to deliver truly multi-sensory experiences that use augmented reality, virtual reality, live streaming, and voice-enhanced retail technologies to mimic in-store shopping experiences while completely transforming customers' expectations of the process.
To highlight the prominence that digital channels offer to retail brands, consider that 57% of retail decision-makers cite digital engagement as their primary business development goal for 2021. The top brands realize the power of online channels and the immense potential available to use untapped areas such as conversational A.I. to deliver a more activating and engaging experience.
Walmart Global Chief Technology Officer Suresh Kumar recently spoke at NRF Retail Converge, outlining the pivotal “lifeline” voice technology has offered to retailers during the global pandemic. “Do not expect consumers to shop the same as they did pre-pandemic,” Kumar said. “This experience has introduced non-linear changes … and retailers need to pay attention to changing customer needs and expectations.” Voice technology has emerged at the perfect moment and provides brands a new and more personal way to communicate with their fans and followers around the world.
Take action and deliver voice-retail experiences to your customers today.
What Are You Waiting For?
Online business is absolutely exploding in 2021, and voice retail is at the heart. This is the perfect time to unveil a personalized conversational interface to deliver a more engaging and activating online shopping experience. Your customers are already using voice search, so why aren't you?
Download our case study below to learn how with the help of Blutag, Modcup Coffee’s Alexa skill was set up in less than 3 weeks!