Last updated on 23th Nov 2022
Last updated on 23th Nov 2022
Your online store is open to everyone - the multitaskers, the overachievers, the differently abled, those stuck in traffic, or to someone who's just having a lazy day.
Wouldn't they love to have the luxury of shopping hands-free?
That's precisely where voice commerce plays a vital role.
This guide will help you understand what voice commerce is, why it is important for your eCommerce business, and how your website can be optimized for it.
To put it simply, voice commerce enables eCommerce businesses to assist customers with online shopping through voice recognition technology.
Customers simply need to give voice commands to their smart devices and find what they’re looking for easily. They can place orders, make payments, and track orders too. When the order has arrived at their doorstep, they can also provide voice feedback, place a return or refund request or reorder that product from sellers.
Virtual Digital Assistants (VDA), such as Google Assistant, Siri, or Amazon Alexa, can go beyond just shopping and bring convenience to day-to-day activities. These voice assistants can also “talk to” multiple devices like smart speakers, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, etc connected together with automated systems through IoT technology.
As of early 2021, at least 32% of Americans own a smart speaker, and at least 85% own a smartphone.
As brands compete for customers and revenue, it is more vital than ever to include voice commerce in their eCommerce strategies before they are outpaced by voice-enabled competitors.
The best thing about voice search is that it can be used on devices that go beyond computers and mobile phones. In the US, in-car voice assistants are the second-most used voice assistant technology.
Increasing mobile shopping trends and advancements in AI technology, machine learning, and speech technology, drive growth in the voice recognition market.
The global voice recognition market size was forecast to grow from 10.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 to 27.16 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. The estimated CAGR from 2021 to 2026 amounts to.
A 2021 Statista survey carried out in the United States showed that:
90% of users use Siri on their mobile phones
75% of users use Google Assistant on their mobile phones
66% of users use Alexa with their Amazon Echo smart speakers
According to Research and Markets’s report dated June 2022, the key factors contributing to the growth of the speech and voice recognition market include increasing demand in healthcare for improving efficiency and the growing use of smart appliances during the forecast period.
Another report dated September 2022 suggests increased demand for speech-based biometric systems for multifactor authentication, growing demand for voice authentication in mobile banking applications, and growth in voice control-based smart assistive devices in consumer and enterprise verticals.
Ecommerce companies can now offer personalized shopping experiences as voice recognition can now differentiate a person’s voice from another based on factors like the tone of voice, accent, pitch, etc.
Positive shopping experiences can lead to increased loyalty, trust, and purchases.
On average, 80% of consumers who have shopped using their voice assistant are satisfied, and as a result:
39% shared their positive experiences with family and friends
39% repurchased from the same retailer
36% have a more favorable opinion of the retailer
24% spent more money with the retailer
It can also understand the behavioral patterns of users like shopping styles, By saving past order histories, Voice AI provides be used to set filters and provide personalized recommendations. It can also understand the behavioral patterns of users like shopping style and more based on data collected from past orders.
Vocal commerce allows people to order, reorder, and set reminders for frequently purchased items using voice commands while sitting at home, traveling, or multitasking. This has taken ordering groceries and household supplies to a whole new level.
Mobile accounts for approximately half of the web traffic worldwide. In the second quarter of 2022, mobile devices (excluding tablets) generated 58.99 percent of global website traffic.
eCommerce has rapidly moved to mobile commerce. And this is mainly due to consumers looking for more convenient ways to shop.
27% of online users are using voice search on mobile globally.
A voice search feature is an important factor for mobile shopping platforms these days. It lets you hail a cab, order food, buy clothes, and even buy a car!
By now we have realized that the driving factor behind every eCommerce activity is its ease of use and customer experience. And voice search is the perfect example of that.
Mobile shoppers can use a voice search feature to find the right products, get hyper-personalized recommendations , pay for the products and also track their order status.
It eliminates the hassle of having to type in queries and search for them. The AI in voice recognition also makes note of the customer’s likes and preferences further optimizing the customer experience when they visit the mobile app next time.
Voice search in a mobile shopping app is a great way to build customer engagement like the Scotch whiskey brand, Johnnie Walker does.
A voice search feature is used to provide virtual assistance that explains their whiskey and helps users build a connection with the brand. Users answer questions about their preferences, and then the most appropriate Johnnie Walker product is suggested.
So if your mobile commerce platforms have voice search optimization, you can exponentially increase sales.
Over 80% of searches worldwide occur on Google and it processes hundreds of millions of voice search queries per day. Google is constantly evolving its search functionality, simultaneously taking voice, visual and semantic search to new levels.
Users can also shop directly from Google’s voice search feature to buy products and get personalized search results when using Google search.
Google also lets users find and control the personalized search results they receive. Using Discover in the Google mobile app, you'll see suggested styles based on what you've been shopping for, and what others have searched for too. You can personalize the Discover feed (previously called Google Feed) to suit your needs and interest.
From Sep 28, 2022, Google lets you see shortcuts right under the search bar to shop your screenshots, translates text with your camera, hum to search, and more.
Its new AI milestone, the MUM update will make voice search 1000x better than BERT.
Google says on average, it can take people eight searches to complete complex tasks. MUM aims to require fewer searches and meet the needs of the users faster.
It has the ability to understand a search query, look for relevant search results, and ‘generate language’ in a way that would sound like a human expert speaking instead of a paragraph snippet taken off the internet.
Here’s an example of what the MUM update can do:
It is also trained in 75 different languages at once (multi-lingual) and can go beyond the normal search results like finding information written in another language and translating it for you. MUM can also manage data in multiple formats. It can parse text from images and videos, giving it a multi-sensory experience (multi-modal).
Conversational commerce allows brands to engage with consumers through live representatives and AI assistants to discuss offerings, make purchases, and receive services.
When you decide to start running, you would probably want to speak to a sales associate in a store to figure out what sort of shoes would be most helpful. This type of interaction can be automated using conversational commerce.
With conversational commerce, customers can engage with your business, receive advice and personalized recommendations, read reviews, and complete purchases.
This can be done through a messaging app (like Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp) or through a virtual assistant (like Amazon Alexa or Google Home).
Consumers spend more when voice shopping than when engaging in traditional eCommerce models.
Online shoppers who used a voice assistant spent $136 more on average than those who shopped solely online.
The best way to capitalize on this is by using conversational AI to provide consumers with fast, relevant, and useful suggestions that they are eager to engage in via monetizable moments.
To accomplish this, you should integrate suggestion-based purchase opportunities as an answer to questions they are already asking.
A customer, for instance, asks the voice assistant to recommend badminton rackets. After showing the rackets, the voice assistant can also suggest badminton shoes, increasing the average order value.
Conversational commerce combines eCommerce convenience with in-store comfort. Ultimately, this reduces the friction of online shopping and adds significantly more value than chatbots.
67% of buyers plan to increase or maintain their conversational commerce spending.
This indicates a strong consumer demand for the approach.
A great example of this is eBay’s Shopping Assistant Program.
The eBay Shopping Assistant enables customers to shop and place orders through their Google Home devices via Google Assistant by saying, "Ask eBay".
Here, consumers can explore available merchandise, inquire about bargains, and also discover how much their items may be worth on eBay.
Some of the best platforms that can help you build a voice-enabled chatbot include
Ewiz commerce offers B2B and B2C companies a complete AI-powered eCommerce platform with an AI chatbot that can help ease and smoothen customer service.
Amazon Lex: They enable the building of conversational interfaces for any application using both voice and text. It uses the same technology as Alexa's virtual assistant.
Mindsay: They offer companies a wide range of customer service automation solutions on multiple platforms, allowing them to maximize workflow automation and reduce the total cost of ownership.
Voice and speech recognition technology has positively impacted eCommerce businesses around the world, improving overall earnings and customer satisfaction.
eCommerce purchases made through voice assistants are expected to grow from 4.6 billion USD in 2021 to 19.4 billion USD in 2023.
Voice commerce is changing more than where and how customers shop. It is also changing how they shop.
62% of voice-enabled speaker owners have bought items via voice commerce.
Be it checking for product availability, comparing prices, or window shopping, voice commerce simply makes shopping easy and faster.
Over 71% of wearable device owners predict they will do more voice searches in the future.
Here’s a peek into how voice commerce has taken ordering groceries and household supplies to a whole new level.
Through a partnership with Google, Walmart has developed Walmart Voice Order, which lets customers order groceries using a simple voice command:
"Hey Google, talk to Walmart."
It can quickly and accurately identify the items customers are asking for with the help of information from their prior purchases.
When a customer says "add milk to my cart," they'll simply add the milk the customer normally buys.
Instead of saying "1 gallon of 1% Great Value organic milk," they'll say "milk."
It’s cross-platform, so customers can use any device that uses Google Assistant, and the items can be directly added to a shopping cart.
A similar collaboration by Google with Carrefour in France enables shoppers to purchase groceries using Google Assistant.
Amazon is also integrating the same concept with Amazon Fresh. The platform allows customers to order groceries with any Alexa-enabled device. The device can also memorize the user's favorites and preferred brands, helping future transactions run more smoothly.
It is essential that you make sure that you are easily discoverable if a customer searches for the product or service you are offering. As of early 2021, at least 32% of Americans own a smart speaker, and at least 85% own a smartphone.
Here are some strategies to help your online eCommerce store or mobile shopping app become more “voice friendly”.
Add an FAQ section that answers important questions in a conversational tone to improve your chance of organically ranking on google as a featured snippet.
You might normally type “Weather in New York today,” but with a voice query you’d be more likely to say, “ Will it snow in New York today?”. Optimize your content accordingly.
Semantic SEO goes beyond keywords. Search results show based on the intent. contextual meaning and related phrases.
Implement schema markup and structured data in your HTML code. This will help boost your chances of higher rankings.
Your site and pages should be fast enough for people to access information for both voice and text-based queries on every device including mobile, laptop, or smart speaker.
People often look for “shops near me” or “stores that deliver to their location”. Register your company on Google My Business and other local listings.
Improve your product discovery and reach up to 3 billion customers across Google's feeds to achieve your performance goals in Google Ads.
Google Translate, for example, uses a neural machine translation system to convert text on a page into other languages.
This will help your visitors listen to long-form blogs and guides through audio while they’re busy with other activities. Preferably aim to write in the first person.
Compress heavy files to load faster. Ideally, your website must load within 3 seconds. Optimize your content to respond to multiple devices.
If you own an eCommerce website, it's time to implement your very own AI-enabled voice search option into the search bar. A site optimized for voice search makes it faster and easier for other virtual assistants to find and process the data on your website.
So don’t worry if your voice search is not advanced as google assistant or Siri. As long as you’ve tried to optimize your online store for voice, these advanced assistants will help bring more customers to your store.
If you own an eCommerce website, it's time to implement your very own AI-enabled voice search option into the search bar. Even if it's not as advanced as a virtual assistant like Alexa or Siri, it’ll still help these assistants bring in more customers to your store if you’ve optimized your eCommerce website for voice commerce.
An optimized site makes it faster and easier for voice assistants to process the data on your website. And this is why you need to implement voice search optimization into your digital eCommerce strategy.
We can speak faster than we can type, so it's faster to use voice than any other medium.
35% of adults ages 18-29 prefer voice commerce for their shopping experience because of its ease of use.
The backend algorithms in every voice assistant save the data from each and every interaction you have with it. The complex AI can then help you expedite shopping by only suggesting products that a customer would like.
Virgin Trains in the UK realized this and launched an Alexa Skill to allow passengers to book train tickets using voice. This enabled passengers to book any Advance Single ticket via Alexa-enabled devices and pay through their Amazon account.
The average time it takes to book a ticket online is seven minutes and we've got the booking time down to two minutes on the Alexa Skill.
— John Sullivan, chief information officer at Virgin Trains.
The Alexa Skill allows customers to search for tickets without having to manually tap, type, and search. They can simply speak to the device to search for tickets and expedite the payment with their Amazon account.
Through voice commerce, your brand is introduced to a wider audience by recommending products to people whose needs are compatible with your products.
When shoppers use it to discover products, you can easily convert them into customers.
51% of people who shop with voice use it to research products. — Narvar
51% of voice shoppers made impulse purchases. — Coupon Follow
So if your products are easily discovered, you can convert more customers, even the ones making impulse purchases.
Unlike text-based searches, voice shopping assistants offer one single answer instead of displaying thousands of results. To make sure that this result is your product, your voice search optimization needs to be on point.
Patrón's Tequila uses this channel to reach a considerably larger audience.
Patrón Cocktail Lab is the world's first data-driven cocktail recommendation engine. It allows users to ask their voice assistants for tequila or cocktail recipes and receive recommendations personalized to their taste.
Patrón’s Cocktail Lab offers carefully curated recipes based on customer preferences, behavioral insights, local trends, and occasions.
By understanding what customers want to drink when and how the Cocktail Lab has made a lasting impact on marketing and the organization as a whole.
It now sells 5x more than its closest competitor
An increase of 800% in cocktail recipes
Increase of 38% in site traffic
More than 2 million page views
Cocktail pages saw a 109% increase in traffic
Not only were they able to increase engagement but also improve sales and product discovery. You can watch it here.
Voice shopping can be a powerful business tool if it incorporates the power of personalization. And this is because 80% of customers will be more likely to spend more on a brand that provides personalized service.
I feel there is a tremendous opportunity to invest in a strong artificial intelligence engine and be able to really talk to each and every customer in a very personalized way. It’s one thing to use voice for basic research, but it’s much more compelling if you can let someone research and then have it refer to their customer profile and start recommending products that are unique to this person.
— Genevieve Chamard, North American Partnership Strategy Leader, Digital Retail and Manufacturing at Capgemini
The concept of personalization can be as simple as addressing a customer by name or as complex as recommending a niche product range based on data collected about a customer's preferences.
And some of the best ways to personalize a voice experience include:
Past order histories can be saved by voice assistants so reordering is as easy as asking for it. Users simply have to speak their request and the item is promptly purchased.
35% of consumers believe voice is good for reordering products.
Making reordering fast, easy, and convenient helps brands increase customer loyalty.
Preferences and filters
Voice assistants make shopping easier by only suggesting products within a customer’s preference or filter parameters. For instance, saving any allergies or dietary restrictions saves time when shopping for groceries, and improves the personalization of product recommendations.
Recommendations based on customer data
Each time a customer uses voice to search or purchase products, the AI stores all the relevant data necessary to determine the likes and dislikes of the customer. The AI can then provide hyper-personalized and relevant recommendations.
83% of voice shoppers are confident in the recommendations given to them by their digital assistants.
Voice assistants use voice profiles to detect and cater to different people individually. This allows customers to get relevant recommendations based on their likes, dislikes, and preferred settings.
Alexa introduced voice profiles in 2017, providing individual information such as calendars, emails, shopping, and music accounts. Google Home followed soon after with its ability to identify different routines, lighting, and other preferences.
Voice-activated search in eCommerce has made it easier for customers to leave reviews. As a result customer reviews become more genuine and meaningful, which in turn benefits both the company and the product.
91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. — Bright Local
— USA Today
Vocal assistants ask for specific questions and ratings rather than long feedback, and they do so without requiring users to sign in or type.
Also, products with great reviews typically appear at the top of the list of voice-enabled search results, so voice shoppers can easily find them.
Voice is a remarkable way to improve payment speed and efficiency in eCommerce.
Smart home devices will carry out more than $164 billion worth of transactions in 2025.
That’s more than 630% growth in five years from $22 billion in 2020.
If a voice assistant has the user's payment details on hand, it can complete the purchase by simple voice command. Voice recognition technology is used to ensure that the purchase command is given by the right person and not an unauthorized individual in order to prevent misuse of the technology.
Some of the best banks in the world have already adopted voice technology for their banking transactions:
Capital One uses Alexa to allow customers to make hands-free payments, view account balances, and track their spending habits.
Barclays customers can pay contacts quickly using Siri without opening their banking apps.
Santander's allows customers in the UK can make payments, transfer funds, and report lost or stolen cards through voice commands.
U.S. Bank’s Smart Assistant is compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri to help people carry out transactions and manage their accounts.
Bank of America's Erica, is a personal finance assistant that can help make payments, check account balances, and even monitor a consumer's credit score.
PayPal customers can now complete transactions using Siri. A command such as "Siri, pay $20 to Alex using PayPal" will link them to Paypal, bring up a transaction page, and allow them to approve the transaction. .
No matter if it is Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, or Amazon's Alexa, users simply have to choose a command to invoke these virtual assistants, and they can begin shopping right away.
If you sell on your own website or a marketplace like Amazon or Flipkart, optimizing your SEO rankings can help you become the recommended choice for these voice assistants on all major search engines.
To do so will require you to have:
Lots of positive product ratings
High sales volumes
Excellent shipping speed
Relatively low rates of return
Positive feedback from sellers
By doing this, you can ensure that a search query on Google, Amazon or even Bing will lead them to your eCommerce product or store first and increase your sales.
Another great option is to develop your own Alexa Skills to optimize commands that can help you sell content or services within the skill itself. This is similar to in-app purchases on a phone.
Ultimately, voice assistants are a great way to boost digital eCommerce sales. With proper voice search optimization and an innovative strategy, sellers can leverage this technology to increase their sales substantially.
Alexa is taking the voice commerce market by storm and here are some statistics to prove it:
As of 2020, 70% of smart speaker owners in the US used Amazon Echo. — Tech Crunch
Amazon has 26.7% of the market share of global smart speakers in 2021, the highest share of any vendor. — Statista
53% of all voice commands are directed to Alexa devices. — Voicebot
Amazon is currently leading the voice commerce market with its availability on more than 100 thousand devices. And sellers should make the most of it.
The following are Amazon's main strategies for dominating the voice commerce market with Alexa.
There are two ways in which Alexa can be used for voice shopping.
With in-skill purchasing, you can sell premium content, such as game features and interactive stories, to your customers by developing your own Alexa skills.
Customers can buy products by their name or by suggestions based on their interests, and they can use the payment options associated with their Amazon account to pay for these products.
Ocaldo’s Alexa Skill helps customers add products to their shopping lists. It lets customers add items and remove items from future or completed orders. They can also request updates on order status and ask what's in season.
Additionally, the skill makes eCommerce more accessible for visually impaired customers.
Customers can purchase products directly through Amazon's Echo devices. All they need is an Amazon Prime membership with a valid payment method and address.
Once this is implemented, customers can simply tell their voice-activated device what they want, such as "what's the best smartphone", "add toothpaste to my cart", etc.
As soon as they are satisfied with the chosen product, they can use voice to complete the purchase, track shipping, or even manage their accounts.
The secret of Amazon’s voice commerce success is its open approach to every seller on the market. They literally give you a resource guide to help you become one of their top merchants.
Alexa for Business aims to bring voice assistant technology and Echo devices into a business setting, allowing device makers to build their own solutions that incorporate Alexa into them.
You can use this to schedule meetings, inform meeting participants of a delay, manage your calendar, read and respond to emails, get work-related updates, and much more.
Ultimately, not only is Alexa helping businesses sell their products through voice but it is also enabling them to better manage their businesses.
You can watch how to do it here.
Using the building blocks of Alexa, Amazon is offering other companies the ability to create their own automated versions with Alexa Custom Assistant.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is the first automaker to roll it out. The automaker's custom voice assistant will work alongside the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant.
Using it can allow people to pay for gas, roll down their windows, check the weather at their destination, navigate roads and traffic, and so much more.
You can watch it here.
Essentially, Amazon is ensuring multiple revenue streams with its AI application in every possible way. And this is what makes it dominate the voice commerce space.
People love shopping online. And making shopping the most convenient and memorable experience for customers is a race that every B2C or B2B eCommerce business has to participate in.
And so, as the story goes with any technology trend that enables eCommerce, the future of voice technology is only going to get stronger and better. As it’s said,
“The early bird gets the worm.”
So, if you want to capitalize on the estimated 27.16 billion US dollar global voice recognition market by 2026, you’ve got to start right now.