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Voice shopping: what businesses need to know to be on trend

Business strives to increase profits, including through the introduction and use of modern technologies. In this sense, sales using voice assistants are a new trend. Mihriniso Nigmatullina, an expert in the field of Internet marketing, analyzes in detail the trend of online sales of retailers through voice assistants and tells you what you need to know to become part of the growing trend
Voice shopping and related devices (mostly smart speakers) have quickly become popular since Amazon first launched its Echo smartphone in 2014, topping Amazon’s Christmas bestseller list.

According to OC&C estimates, in December 2017, 13 % of US households and 10 % of UK households had voice assistants, and about 6 million homeowners ordered products through these devices in 2017, representing $ 2 billion in retail sales.

Now on the market, the leaders of voice assistants include Amazon Alexa, Google assistant, and Apple Siri. The Russian market is also not inferior, in 2017, “Yandex” has launched “Alice”.

Adweek predicts that in a couple of years, half of all Internet requests will be made using voice, sales will reach $ 40 billion by 2022 in the United States alone, and voice assistants will replace traditional sites and online consultants.

New research from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) shows that sales of the voice assistant increased by 103% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2017, indicating a bright future for electronics that will listen to our voices.
Image: cmo.com

Let’s see how much people are using voice support right now. Only 10 % of respondents were not familiar with voice-enabled products and devices. Of the 90 % who were familiar, most used voice assistants (72 %). These are mainly the younger generation of people and households with an income of more than 100 thousand US dollars.
Image: pwc.com

Indeed, according to an AdWeek survey, 52 % of respondents are willing to use voice assistants to make purchases in an online store, while 73% would use it daily if they spoke like a real person.

What can such voice assistants do and how often they are used?

So, what do people use voice assistants for? The most popular applications for voice assistants are:
listening to music (61 %);
checking the weather forecast (60 %);
ask funny questions (54 %);
research (53 %).
To activate them, you just need to say a couple of necessary phrases, such as “OK, Google”, “Alexa”, “hi, Siri”.
Image: pwc.com

With Amazon Echo, you just need to say “Alexa, order Magnat ice cream” — and you will get the product that you most often order, thus you will save your time.

To date, the” smart column ” is able to understand the intonation of a person, parse the meaning of what is said depending on different situations; you can have an almost natural conversation with the column.

For example, journalists from the Wired portal checked how the voice assistants Siri, Google assistant and Alexa work. They are able to understand any accent — American, British, Australian, Chinese, and even the speech characteristics of young children. See for yourself:

Why do brands need their own personal voice

As for the commercial side of the issue, and more specifically, let’s talk about using voice messages as a new sales channel. OC&C data shows that 67 % of respondents used a voice assistant at least once to make a purchase.

With voice requests, there will no longer be a need to package content and design that many brands have invested billions in. If a few decades ago, well-known brands were puzzled by the search for their exclusive fragrance, now they can think about their individual voice.

Voice assistants are universal retail assistants. Today, there is already a lot of voice branding on the market. In this regard, companies keep up with the times and also strive to use this sales channel to promote their product and brand.

With the growing popularity of using voice assistant, the commercial benefits for the retailer and e-Commerce are more than obvious here:

First, companies will be able to reduce the flow of calls coming to call centers by redirecting their customers to a voice assistant, who will already advise the user on basic issues related to the service or product, and, most importantly, help make a purchase. A digital assistant bot has already appeared in the West. This KIK app is one of the most popular messengers among teenagers. You will be able to order products via automated chat. For example, you can choose the right Kipling portfolio for you. the bonus will be a funny prize at the end for correct answers to riddles. Too complicated? You can pay for hints with Kik Points and get a prize faster!

Secondly, using a bot with a voice interface to collect feedback, you can improve your service, saving your marketing budget.

Third, the voice assistant will make working with the company’s database much easier by taking care of updating information about the client and keeping a history of his previous requests. According to a study by Accenture Interactive, 80 % of users consider the main advantage of voice communication with virtual assistants to be their ability to give a clear answer to a specific question.

Fourth, using virtual voice assistants, you can expect to increase sales. For example, the Amazon Alexa voice assistant will not forget to offer the customer to buy a spare filter when buying a vacuum cleaner, or to advise them to buy not just a lamp, but also sconces made in the same style. The Amazon Alexa voice assistant can report products that are in the “recommended” section. According to the Powerviews report, more than 60 % of mobile device users of different ages are willing to listen to reviews and recommendations from online stores. According to statistics, customers rate the availability of product reviews as an important factor that helps them make large purchases in categories such as electronics (82 %), appliances (80%), and computers (80%).

Fifth, voice assistants work well to increase loyalty and engagement. Thanks to the ability to quickly place an order, online stores can avoid the problem of stopping the customer at the stage of forming a basket. In other words, impulsive purchases can again generate additional revenue for brands. For example, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant will take one minute to complete the journey from request to checkout.

The user will only have to say the code word. As for such a case in the Russian market, all hope is still on Alice, whose developers have provided an open API so that retail representatives can give her the skill of online ordering. The Russian equivalent of “Alice” is self-learning thanks to the CatBoost algorithm of Yandex. Alice’s ability to actively learn everything makes it possible for Russian-speaking brands to use it: by connecting the necessary knowledge base, Alice’s voice assistant, due to its neural system and smart algorithms, immediately comes to “awareness”of even non-standard requests and selects relevant answers.

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