Voice technology for brands or voice search is not a new phenomenon for businesses any more. According to Google, 20% of all searches are through voice, and 31% of smartphone users worldwide use voice tech at least once a week. So why is there a new buzz around this term recently?
The answer lies in the effects of the worst epidemic of this generation – ‘Coronavirus’. The present situation has put restrictions and fear among consumers’ minds for the action of ‘touching.’ The main appeal of voice control tech is soon becoming the limiting need for touch. In a recent survey published by Edison Research and NPR, “More than 50 percent of smart device owners are using voice commands at least once a day now—an uptick that occurred between the start of 2020 and the beginning of April.” That’s a tremendous jump for technology as new as voice.
Even though governments will eventually open up the economy, and life will settle down in the ‘new normal’, customers will likely remain cautious for a long time to come. The pandemic will have lasting impacts on consumer behavior.
With this in mind, there is no surprise that many brands are jumping on the voice technology bandwagon. Google has recently introduced a new kid-friendly voice assistant called ‘Diya.’ Diya corrects the students’ errors when they read, offers encouragement, and provides congratulations when the lesson is complete. The kids can even ask Diya for helping them out with pronouncing words they don’t know how to speak. Similarly, Dunkin’s new voice search strategy saw a 10x rise in people using voice to search for open locations with access points like a drive-through, delivery, or curbside pick-up during the coronavirus period.
With such novelty and extensive usage, one can only imagine what the future holds for voice technology. However, looking at some of the early adopters can help us understand the potential of this newest way of surfing the net:
- PayPal: Online payments
PayPal has introduced voice assistant support that allows customers to send and request money using voice commands. The assistant also lets users check their account balance on the go. The system even provides detailed receipts on the go. Sending and receiving funds requires a valid account with PayPal.
Even though there were a few security concerns from the customers initially, considering that the voice assistant presently doesn’t distinguish between various voices, a PIN or Touch ID security would mean more widespread use of the feature.
Here are the steps to implement the PayPal voice assistant:
- To enable the PayPal skill – Open your voice assistant (Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant or iPhone Siri) app. Select ‘skills’ and search for ‘PayPal’. Select ‘enable’.
- Link your PayPal account – Enter your PayPal username and password. Create a PIN for additional security and then select your preferred payment method.
- The system is now activated! – Once the skill is open, you can chat with Amazon Alexa using commands like, “check my PayPal Cash or PayPal Cash Plus balance.”, “send money”, and “request money”.
- More number of transactions without customers having to touch their wallet.
- Paying for items is inherently a tedious process, automating the unproductive steps with voice improves the customer experience significantly.
- Early adoption means more time to establish credibility and remove security concerns.
2. Dominos: Omnichannel presence
The American multinational pizza restaurant chain was one of the earliest adopters of voice technology. With more than 50 percent of its sales coming from online orders, Dominos decided to invest in voice-based systems in 2014. With an assistant that is called to be the ‘Siri’ of the food industry, Dominos believes that typing as a form of input will become archaic soon with voice taking over as the primary form of input method.
Dominos’ voice assistant ‘Dom’ was created to provide a personalized online experience to customers. Dom brings a fun level of personalization to Dominos’ ordering experience with an integrated mobile Web platform that allows customers to place an order with a straightforward voice command.
This not only helps the consumer in skipping queues in the stores, but also simplifies an otherwise complicated process of browsing through varieties of pizza and sides and other customizable options on the company website.
Dom can carry out a variety of functions – taking an order for delivery or takeaway, handling pre-saved orders, suggesting side additions to meals in order to make them complete, and finding the best available coupons to provide customers with the hottest deals.
- Customers need to download the Dominos app or visit the Dominos website.
- They will need to create an ‘easy profile’ on the app.
- Once the customer selects to enable Dom. He or she can start interacting or processing their orders with the bot.
- Since its inception, Dom has recorded over half a million orders.
- Dom augments the Domino’s brand by allowing the app to integrate with their customers’ existing and desired lifestyle.
- According to Dominos, ‘Dom’ is used as much as any other mobile channel.
3. Mr. Robot: Branded Alexa Skills
Mr. Robot is an American drama thriller television series. Apart from its noteworthy psycho-thriller plot, Mr. Robot also got attention because of its exclusive “Mr. Robot: Daily Five/Nine” skill.
In what was one of the first cases of a brand launching an exclusive Alexa skill, the Daily Five/Nine skill for Alexa was developed very much as an extension of the story world of the show. In this interactive game. Players were taken on an unexpected adventure through the “Daily Five/Nine Skill” and experience the mind-bending narrative of Mr. Robot. They were allowed to play the narrative of the story while making decisions as they meet other characters in the gameplay. Fans of the show can participate in a mind-bending narrative journey inspired by the appearance of Amazon echo in the storylines of season 2 and season 3 of Mr. Robot.
- To begin the interactive story game, simply ask Alexa to enable the “Daily Five/Nine Skill” and follow the instructions.
- The game can be accessed on all Alexa-enabled devices with a complementary visual experience on the Amazon Echo Show.
- Mr. Robot’s voice-enabled activation took its online community engagement to a whole new level. With its geeky nature of storytelling, the activity hit the target audience right on the mark.
- The branded skill got nominated for various awards, including the popular ‘Shorty awards’ where it was the finalist in the ‘gamification’ category.
4. Burger King: Voice Marketing
The multinational chain of hamburger fast food restaurants is known for perhaps the most innovative use of voice technology to date. For a 67 year old brand competing with other fast-food brands like McDonalds and KFC, Burger King was looking for an innovative way to catch their customers’ attention and stand apart in the clutter.
Can a shady, notorious campaign that takes advantage of gaps in a system to become one of the most famous marketing activities of the year? Well, Burger King did just that. In 2017 Burger King showed how the future of advertisement could look like. It took advantage of smart voice-enabled devices at the customer’s house and integrated a television campaign to provide one of the smartest omni channel campaigns of all time.
- Burger King displayed a television commercial that asked Google’s voice recognition Home assistant: “OK Google, What is the Whopper burger?”
- The phrase triggered Google home assistants everywhere in the country. It caused the device to switch on and conduct a Google search looking for an answer.
- For most searches, Google picks the answer from Wikipedia, and it did the same for the Whopper query.
- Burger king however, had changed the Wikipedia entry a week before the campaign.
- The page now said, “The Whopper is a burger, consisting of a flame-grilled patty made with 100 percent beef with no preservatives or fillers, topped with sliced tomatoes, onions, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, and mayonnaise, served on a sesame seed bun.”
- Thus whenever the advertisement on the TV was played the customers got to hear the same information from their phones and smart devices.
Even though Google acted swiftly and disabled its devices from responding to the advertisement soon after, the campaign was still one of the most talked-about digital events of the year.
- Burger King just won the top award in ‘Grand Prix’ for its “OK Google Ad” in the Direct category.
- The advertisement resulted in 9.3 billion ad impressions globally and $135 million in free media coverage for the Whopper.
5. Rothy’s: Product Ordering
Rothy’s is a leading direct to consumer brand for women’s shoes with a loyal customer base and $150MM+ in revenue. Rothys create fashionable shoes sustainably. To date, they have transformed over 30 million plastic water bottles into stylish footwear.
Rothy’s was looking to upgrade their customer experience with voice-enabled UX. However, the company needed help with the technological aspect of setting such a system. That’s when they found Blutag, a tech-based SAAS platform that enables retail companies to deliver voice apps to their customers without coding.
Blutag enabled Rothy’s with a voice assistant connected to their existing Shopify store and AmazonPay Seller ID. This allowed customers to browse through the catalog on the screen. Using voice commands, the system accurately sorts through hundreds of options and helps in narrowing down the shoe of the customer’s choice. It also enables customers to easily add things to the cart and check out to the payment gateway, all through the power of their voices.
- To open the skill the customer needs to simply say “Alexa, open Rothy’s”
- This needs to be followed by the shopping order. “Buy flats, or Buy Bags”
- The skill uses Amazon Pay to process the payments
- For an added security level, the customer can enable a four-digit voice code under Settings in the Alexa app.
Rothy’s was able to set up their voice assistant app and integrate it with their existing system in less than three weeks. With the assistance of Blutag, they had to spend less than five hours of building and customizing the app.
- High engagement with an average of 20 voice utterances/app user/session.
- 67% of Alexa skill users were successfully able to find the product of their choice.
- 3% of customers completed the purchase using their smart speaker.
- 78% of surveyed app users had above-average satisfaction with the Alexa Skill (0% had below average).
As voice assistants perform more and more ‘skills,’ the users will continue to get more and more engaged as they perform a variety of actions using their voice. A report from Voicebot.ai reveals that in 2019, smart speaker owners used voice requests for an average of 9.4 different tasks a week. In 2020, that number has inched up to 10.8 different functions.
With more users opting for voice-enabled shopping, brands will look to optimize voice in ads and their digital collaterals. They would like to evaluate common voice search queries and analyze the conversational text that occurs between the customer and the bot. Brands will look to continuously implement voice and complement their existing systems to delight consumers with the customer experience. Expect more innovative use of voice by brands in the future as this latest digital communication channel heats up.
Blutag enables retail companies to deliver voice apps to their customers without coding in just a few simple steps. Blutag handles the backend and infrastructure on commercial cloud servers and provides customizable templates to add new voice interactions when needed. To know more about our products, visit: https://blu.ai/