The global eCommerce revolution has completely transformed the retail shopping experience, and the vast digital transformation driven by the global pandemic has only accelerated the growth of online sales channels.
2021 has been an absolute breakout year for eCommerce success, and global revenues have already exceeded $4.92 trillion - a 54% increase over 2020, the year with the previous highest recorded online sales total - and the year isn't finished or showing any signs of slowing down.
It's not hard to understand why this has been taking place. With so many brick-and-mortar retail locations forced to close for a large portion of last year, it's no surprise that customers have been flocking online and accessing new retail sales channels to complete purchases for every type of product imaginable.
Whether exploring eCommerce sales growth for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as groceries, or the types of purchases traditionally completed across a combination of in-store and online sales channels such as luxury automobile sales, an incredible trend begins to come in view: the new normal for business success is online. There are tremendous opportunities available for the brands that can harness the technologies of the moment to differentiate their brands from the competition.
Voice Technology: Transformative Opportunity for Online Retail Shopping
Behind the growth of online sales is a plethora of new technologies that transform the interactive shopping experience and create new opportunities for brands to communicate with and activate their customer bases.
Voice technology has emerged as a transformative opportunity for online sales. Though global market penetration of smart speakers and voice-assisted technologies is just beginning to pick up steam, more than 42% of U.S. consumers are already using these interfaces and completing sales regularly. In fact, over the next six years, the market for voice-enabled technologies is projected to grow by more than 77% to reach a value exceeding $1.3 trillion.
Voice commerce is undoubtedly changing consumer behavior and expectations around online shopping. Just as America's top eCommerce site, Amazon, which is slated to capture around 40% of online sales this year, has forced smaller companies to work harder to match what their larger competitor is offering, the implementation of voice technology is creating winners and losers as brands respond to the spirit of the moment and deliver the types of retail sales experiences their customers are seeking.
In 2020, the global smart speaker market reached an all-time high, with more than 150 million devices sold. Though as early as 2024, this market is anticipated to grow to more than $30 billion per year, and smart speaker technologies such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos One will become the number one consumer electronic products sold in the entire world.
Take a moment to consider that. Whether you have never used voice-enabled technologies before or rely on Apple's Siri voice tech daily, you are not alone, but that is likely to change dramatically in the coming months. Voice-powered technologies account for just $2 billion in consumer spending, though that total is anticipated to climb dramatically to more than $40 billion–in just the next two years.
It is always a bit of an uphill battle getting consumers to adopt new technologies. Still, eventually, once a critical mass is reached, the adoption across the global population becomes absolutely assured. This process has been described in multidisciplinary social science literature as The Hundredth Monkey Effect.
We observe this process taking place in real-time and the data seems quite clear: more than 65% of Amazon Echo and Google Home users can't imagine ever living without voice search technology at the center of their lives.
In the United States, online sales reached a high-water mark of $908 billion this year, and by next year it is highly likely we will finally eclipse $1 trillion in domestic eCommerce sales. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at and, on the contrary, conclusively to the incredible power to be harnessed from implementing the new sales channels that radically transform consumer behavior in the U.S. and around the world.
Voice-powered retail experiences are here to stay, and this is the perfect moment to implement them across your site to deliver a more personalized and interactive retail shopping experience. As a bonus, when your site becomes more accessible with voice, you can better comply with the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Web Accessibility Guidelines, and have a much better foundation for selling to even more satisfied customers.
It's a no-brainer. By designing a personalized voice-enabled retail experience for your online site, you are accurately anticipating the future trajectory of online business and securing your position in an increasingly crowded market environment.
The time has come and a new day has dawned. Voice commerce is completely changing the eCommerce game, but it's not too late to get started. On the contrary, this is the absolute perfect moment to secure your place in the winner's circle, and voice technology is the secret adjustment that will help you get there.
The rise in voice technology is incredible and it's the perfect time to implement a voice-enabled retail experience for your brand.
They Came, They Spoke, We Conquered: How Consumers are Using Voice Technologies Today
Every day, new people are using voice technologies to interact with the world around them. The voice-powered interfaces extend the reach of mobile telecommunication devices by allowing people to have more conversational interactions with them. Through la large deal of the conversational element of those connections is one-sided and primarily driven by the consumer, that is radically changing daily as more artificial intelligence-powered conversational voice interfaces become the norm.
Voice technologies enhance the ability to search for the thongs we are interested in by letting us speak queries, questions, and concerns directly to our smart speakers, without the need to handle the devic3es or use keyboards. This hands-free element is one of the reasons why voice-powered technologies are emerging as a pandemic-safe technological advancement and key opportunity placement in public areas as kiosks at transportation hubs.
Today, most consumer interactions with voice technologies are used to handle very normal and everyday tasks that would have typically been conducted using a keyboard and typed out search query just a couple of years earlier. In the future, however, it will be more and more possible for advanced artificial intelligence-powered smart assistants to answer our simple questions and provide a true conversational interface that allows us to connect with the world in a whole new way.
Today, modern voice technology interactions with consumers might look and sounds like this:
Two friends site peacefully next to an alpine lake daydreaming about how to spend the last day of their vacation.
"This trip has really been something else."
"No kidding. I really can't believe this place. I just wish we could have rented E-bikes like we wanted to. That's the one thing I wish we could have done."
"No problem. We still have time and there's an app for that. Siri, where can we rent bikes near here?"
A business traveler has just arrived in a new foreign capital. She is tired and desperately looking forward to retiring to her hotel to prepare for a busy day of meetings in the morning. She slips on her headphones and makes her request.
"Alexa, I need a taxi right away."
A family sits enjoying lunch around an idyllic picnic table.
"This organic broccoli fromt eh co-op tastes incredible."
"The co-op? Why haven't I heard of this store before?"
"You haven't? You need to check it out. Let's ask the Sonos to share some information/ Alexa, show Dad information about the Co-Op on his phone."
The evidence base around the adoption of voice technologies is growing, and it paints a very clear picture about the future of human interaction.
Voice technology is extremely tricky, and once a customer begins to use these interfaces for seemingly uncomplicated and straightforward tasks, it is only a matter of time before this behavior becomes ingrained. Instead of reaching for a keyboard, commands to call up a voice assistant soon became the preferred way to communicate with telecommunications devices and computer systems.
In the near future, as more e-commerce websites optimize their platforms for voice, consumers will likely continue to adopt these technologies and place them at the center of their lives.
We already know that in 2021 there were 4.8 billion people carrying smartphones with them on a daily basis. this accounts for roughly 63% of the global population. the adoption rate is much higher in more developed economies such as North America and Europe, though is gaining traction rapidly in areas such as Africa and South America as well.
Voice-powered e-commerce technology is in no way limited to smar[phone. This is one of the reasons why it is dramatically transforming consumer behavior. Now, brands can interact with their most active customers while working from computers, driving cars, and even exercising.
Through voice commerce is often viewed as a new retail sales channel, in truth when we take a more granular look at how and where people are using these channels, it becomes clear that these technologies are being rolled out for use across many different types of consumer products: smartphone, computers, smartwatches, cars, public kiosks, and even inside physical storefronts.
There are a truly unlimited number of use cases for voice-powered retail technologies. The number of opportunities will only increase in the coming years as the technologies mature and consumers continue to become acclimated to using them. Now is the perfect time to get ahead of the curve and secure your success in the future.
Right now, some of the most compelling e-commerce use-cases for coive technology are:
- Checking the status of online orders, upcoming sales, and pending deliveries
- Reordering frequently purchased consumable products such as coffee, makeup, and dog food
- Sending customers reminders that it is time to reorder the products they use frequently
Though voice-enabled retail interfaces may seem limited at present, it is important to emphasize the exponential growth that is taking place as more and more customers shift their attention to these platforms and place their utility at the center of their lives. Furthermore, it is important to understand that voice technology quickly overtakes traditional search engine optimization (SEO) and creates more conversational frameworks for searching and accessing information across the internet.
This means that while current use cases and applications for voice technology may not deliver the promise of what's to come in just a few short months and years, it's only a matter of time before interactive voice-powered shopping is common as mobile texting has become since the technology was first rolled out in 1992.
Voice technology is fast becoming the norm; the failure to realize this incredible growth means slowing the success of your brand. The spirit of the current moment is innovation and it's time to take action or risk falling behind. Your competition is already beginning to roll out voice-powered interfaces. Failing to act now only increases the potential for your brand to falter down the line as your customers choose to support businesses that offer the sales channels they are most comfortable and familiar with.
in 2021, very few consumers are still ordering products using mail-order catalogs. These sales channels still exist, but they are in no way dominant as they once were. They have been replaced by newer channels that consumers have chosen to elevate instead. Don't get left behind.
Every day more and more of your customers are making the shift towards voice-powered e-commerce. Even if they are performing a limited number of actions using these platforms, they are using them, and there is an increased likelihood that in the future, they will continue to use them ahead of other more traditional sales methods. That means this is the perfect moment to deliver the solution the people want.
It is quicker, easier, and more cost-effective to design a personalized voice-enabled conversational sales interface than you might realize. The most successful brands are already rolling out voice technologies to help them connect with heir customers and achieve new levels of success as a result.
Conversational Commerce is the Future: Is Your Website Stuck in the Past?
It can be very tempting to stick with what works and what has continued to work, even as evidence begins to mount that it's time for a change. Conversational commerce as we know it is an extremely new trend that has not been tested across decades or proven to be viable over long periods.
While this may be true and it could be tempting to sit back and watch how these new technologies continue to alter consumer behavior, we don't recommend dragging your heels in too deeply.
While voice commerce referred to the use of very clunky and unconvincing chatbots that revealed themselves to be matching-powered technologies long before customers would ever think about purchasing directly from them, increasingly the landscape is changing. Modern voice technology platforms deliver a seamless experience that is, on the one hand, quite interactive, while at the same time being ambient.
The synergy between this active and more passive element is exactly what has created the incredible breakout opportunities of this new sales channel. This is precisely what has made social media such a powerful new sales channel as well - while customers have to make the choice to go downtown and walk into a Sephora store - all they need to do is start speaking and voila, brands can communicate with them around the clock, regardless of if they are near a mall or sitting peacefully in the comforts of their home.
A.I.-powered voice assistants are always available. If you have a question for Alexa or Siri at 3:00 AM, they do not moan and groan. Instead, they do exactly what is asked with the same enthusiasm as if it was bright and early morning. This always-on, always available quality means that even when your business is closed and your staff cannot fulfill orders or answer questions, your voice interface can still do the heavy lifting of beginning to qualify interested buyers.
Furthermore, voice-enabled retail experiences allow your customers to get the information they want in the easiest possible way without even having to pick up a phone or type out an email. When it comes to e-commerce, there are always incredible opportunities available to simplify the amount of time it takes for a customer to complete a purchase. Voice technology does that in a simple, streamlined, and cost-effective way, even when your business is not technically open and staff is unavailable to assist customers.
Additionally, voice technology allows your brand to roll out new marketing strategies that are much more enraging than anything your customers have seen in the past. Imagine creating a custom voice app for your brand that features the voice and likeness of a celebrity influencer that has a considerable amount of organic appeal from the general public. While it is unlikely you would be able to afford to have that person come and answer your phone lines for you, it is more than possible to license their likeness and place it at the center of your chat-powered interface.
Opportunities like this dramatically increase the value of voice-powered interactions by allowing for the unexpected and unusual to become the norm. This gives the exchange more value and makes it more special, making the consumer more likely to remember your brand and be more loyal to your online site in the long term. Interactive ads are quickly becoming mainstream thanks to the success of Amazon Firestick, Apple TV, and Roku.
Copper Compression is an example of a brand that has used voice technology and influencer marketing techniques to completely change the game and active it's base of customers in exciting and unexpected ways.
This past FAther's Day, the brand used former NFL Quarterback Drew Brees in a targeted interactive ad rolled out across the brand's Alexa App. The result was an interactive milestone where the future hall of fame QB could be heard reading a script and wishing a personalized "Happy Father's Day" directly to the consumer through the voice tech interface.
In the future brands will continue to use influencer marketing in radically new ways. It will not be long before customers can have real back and forth conversations with their favorite celebrities, right from the comfort and safety of purpose-built and designed personalized voice technology interfaces. Conversational commerce is the future and it is quite bright indeed.
How Blutag Can Help
Blutag was designed from the ground up with one clear purpose in mind: to empower companies around the world to harness the power of voice technology to design personalized online retail experiences.
The shift towards voice search technology and conversational interfaces is coming about as a result of a perfect storm of opportunity:
- The next generation of search engine optimization (SEO) is moving away from searches based on keywords in favor of the way people speak to each other in real life.
- Voice search is driven by asking questions and that means that there are tremendous benefits for the brands that can harness this technology to anticipate and answer customer queries.
- The global digital transformation of the last couple of years has reinforced customer's connection to smart speakers and assistive voice-powered technologies such as Alexa and Siri.
- Implementing voice interfaces allows brands to deliver interactive and personalized experiences while still allowing customers to maintain social distance and choose how much they want to connect.
Our simple and intuitive system allows your company to design an interactive voice commerce experience that works with all Alexa and Google-powered smart speakers and voice assistance technologies.
Enjoy access to a feature-rich cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that integrates with leading e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Magneto, and WooCommerce. Better yet, implementing a Blutag voice technology solution does not require coding at all and can be finalized in a matter of weeks, not months or years.
Increase your e-commerce site's sales conversion rate by delivering the sales channels your customers are already using. Don't get left behind. Contact us today to design your voice-enabled retail experience.