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Voice Technology Is in Demand — and Social Distancing Could Accelerate Its Adoption

In this new era of social distancing and no-touch technology, the concept of voice-activated commerce is becoming increasingly attractive. Voice-operated technology is already familiar to many people through devices like Alexa and Siri, but voice commerce takes the approach one stage further through the convergence of artificial intelligence and chatbots to create personalized shopping experiences for customers

Voice technology has come a long way in recent months, improving the relationship between customers, retailers and manufacturers. Increasingly, customers do not need to use their keyboards or mouse to make purchase decisions. They can simply generate a voice command, and note down all the information they need about the product from the comfort of their laptops, computers, smartphones, smart speakers and remote controls. 

Growing Market Segment

According to a recent survey by Adobe Analytics of 401 businesses, 91% claim to have already made investments in voice. In 2019, 22% of businesses had their own voice applications while 44% planned to launch their voice apps this year. Eighty-eight percent of businesses are planning to expand their reach and develop voice-enabled applications for different platforms.

According to the same survey, 29% of businesses currently allow customers to place their orders through voice commands; 31% of brands offer order renewals; 34% let customers receive product or service-related information; 28% allow customers to review their reward status (if any); 32% let them search their requirements through voice commands; and 45% offer conversational services for customers to track their orders.

If retailers can get the voice technology right, it could have a significant impact on business. Sixty-six percent of businesses say that they saw an upward tick in their conversion rates and revenue. Here are a few tips to help brands leverage the potential of conversational commerce.

Make the Most of Voice Commands

The voice search technology is not yet fully developed. And amidst the limited voice search results, they must be able to place their brands. They should carefully analyze their competition and come up with tricks that can penetrate customers’ territory. 

Allow customers to list, cart and order products with the power of voice. Additionally, give them the answers to what they seek in a relevant and organic way. 

Prioritize Conversational Technology

Like other marketing metrics, voice technology requires a lot of attention. Brands should understand their role and place voice strategically across major marketing touchpoints, including pre-purchase, purchase and post-purchase. 

One of the significant limitations in the use of voice commerce is the language barrier. They do not flow naturally like human interactions, which makes people lose interest quickly.

Voice commerce in the retail industry is on the verge of becoming an integral mode of purchase, but businesses should make sure that there is no compromise on customer care when using it.

Developers should come up with modulations that do not sound too automated so that customers feel connected

Make the Most of the Reorder Opportunities

People are more confident in reordering what they have already purchased with the help of voice. After all, they only need to use a single command to place the replenishment order. This can create new opportunities on both the sales and marketing front. 

Optimize Product Description

Voice-enabled shopping is predicted to reach the $40 billion mark by 2022. Likewise, voice assistants will play a major role in converting shoppers into potential buyers. 

Understanding the purchase intent and using language distinctions will help retailers create targeted product descriptions that complement every stage of decision-making. 

For example, when a shopper asks “which is the best option between Amazon Echo and Google Home?” it means the person is still not sure what to buy and is at the top of the marketing funnel. But a person who asks “which is the best website to buy Google Home from?” is ready to convert.  

Authentication Is Still a Concern

How are brands securing their transactions while commencing voice commerce? The answer is that different brands are taking different approaches. For example, Apple and Google have signed PayPal as their partner, while Amazon’s Echo is okay managing the customer’s credit and debit cards.

However, this has led to another concern: authentication. For voice commerce, the current mode of authentication includes biometric authentication, like Apple’s touch ID, or PIN authentication, such as the four-digit pin code request that appears during the transaction. A customer identity and access management platform is a cost-effective choice that does an excellent job in securing high-risk and high-reward transactional data. 

Potential for the Developing World

Brands using voice commerce in their business need to understand the importance of delivering ease of use and convenience to customers. There should be no compromise on customer care, and connectivity should be seamless. 

Voice-enabled commerce need not be limited to developed markets with educated and younger demographics. Instead, it can expand beyond the currently disseminated European and North American market to other countries where even the poorest can benefit from this technology.

Voice commerce in the retail industry is on the verge of becoming an integral mode of purchase. With automated voice bots understanding natural language, businesses should see it as a way to speed up their trading goals in both the developing and underdeveloped regions of the world.

Deepak Gupta

CTO and Co-Founder of LoginRadius @dip_ak

Deepak is the CTO and co-founder of LoginRadius, a rapidly-expanding Customer Identity Management provider. He’s dedicated to innovating LoginRadius’ platform, and loves fooseball and winning poker games.

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