But voice commerce is not restricted to purchasing goods.
In an era where technological innovation continues to reshape the contours of our daily lives, voice commerce is one notable phenomenon that is heralding a new frontier in the realm of retail.
As virtual assistants and smart speakers seamlessly integrate into our homes, the act of shopping is undergoing a fundamental transformation.
This shift from traditional screens to vocal interactions is not merely a convenience upgrade, it represents a paradigmatic change in the way we discover, select, and purchase goods and services.
In this exploration, we delve into the intricate tapestry of how voice commerce is rewriting the shopping narrative, from enhanced convenience to the evolution of consumer behaviours and the dynamic interplay between technology and retail.
We delve into the profound impact of voice commerce on the retail landscape and envisage the future of a truly hands-free shopping experience.
What is Voice Commerce?
Also known as v-commerce, this blends tools and systems that are designed to empower online shoppers to interact with and purchase goods.
This is done by using voice commands instead of traditional approaches such as keyboards.
Voice-activated technologies that advocate this evolution are embedded in smart speaker systems.
These include Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri. They allow users to ask questions and interact with the technology, including product discovery and purchasing processes.
For example, if you are looking to buy a coffee maker, you can ask your smart device questions such as:
- Hey Google, what’s the difference between a Chemex and an Aeropress?
- Hey Siri, how much does a Chemex cost?
- Alexa, I’d like to order a Chemex on Amazon.
- Alexa, what’s my order status for the Chemex?
But voice commerce is not restricted to purchasing goods. It is an approach that integrates every aspect of a customer’s shopping experience.
Voice technologies provide various functionalities.
They can delve into product catalogues, verify product ratings, check stock and finalise purchases – all with voice commands.
This creates a hands-free shopping experience, leaving users more satisfied in comparison to traditional online shopping methods.
How does it Work?
Voice commerce uses advanced technologies in e-commerce software development that work together to provide a fluid shopping experience.
At the centre of voice commerce lies voice recognition technology.
This tool is designed to decipher and translate human speech, turning spoken words into readable text for computer systems.
Over time, the technology has advanced, enhancing its ability to accurately detect accents, dialects and different ways of speaking.
These factors allow users to communicate with voice-activated shopping platforms in their tone and style, making the overall shopping journey more personalised.
Once spoken words are translated into text, the next step is text-to-speech conversion.
This technology takes the text and converts it back into human-like speech, allowing voice commerce platforms to communicate back to customers.
One of the biggest factors is safety and voice commerce integrates voice biometrics.
This delves into the attributes of an individual’s voice, such as tone, pitch and rhythm, to confirm their identity.
In this regard, working with a customer experience agency can help.
This can improve safety measures for voice-based transactions, preventing unauthorised breaches and ensuring that only authenticated users can make transactions.
Understanding a user’s potential needs is essential in this space.
By using AI, these systems tap into a user’s past actions, search history and purchase trends to anticipate upcoming moves.
This insight enables voice commerce to offer tailored product suggestions.
The Retail Space
The rise of e-commerce and the decline in visits to physical shops due to the Covid-19 pandemic has put the retail industry in a place where they can benefit from voice commerce opportunities.
Retailers have already witnessed success with voice-enabled mobile apps.
The likes of H&M and Starbucks use such apps.
In H&M’s case, the app provides gift suggestions.
Meanwhile, the Starbucks Reorder voice app allows customers to reorder their drinks from one of the past 10 stores. They can also check their loyalty card balance.
The addition of voice-enabled kiosks and warehousing solutions is the natural step for retailers who are starting to realise the power of voice AI.
This can create greater efficiency and solve staffing challenges.
In the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) and fast-casual dining industry, the likes of Mastercard are developing AI-powered solutions for their customers.
This can benefit small and medium-sized businesses that may not be able to implement them on their own.
In the future, there will likely be more opportunities for manufacturers to collaborate with goods and service providers to offer food ordering as part of the voice experience.
Benefits of Voice Commerce
Voice commerce will continue to develop as technology advances.
It already has several benefits for both companies and customers.
- Hands-free convenience: There is no need to log into accounts, search queries or go through endless adverts.
- Frictionless online payments: Since payment info is stored on smart devices, customers do not have to manually enter their information.
- Personalised shopping experience: Voice assistants collect and process data from past purchases. Hence, personalised interactions for returning customers.
- Knowledgeable voice assistants: Generative AI assistants constantly grow smarter, taking in knowledge and sharing it with users.
For business owners, the benefits are:
- Increased customer satisfaction: When voice assistants know the customers’ wants and needs, voice commerce will make the retail experience more human.
- Reduced support costs: Voice assistants can also deliver operational cost savings by reducing the number of requests to the business’ support team. Customers communicate in their own way and they get the answers they need.
Along with the likes of ChatGPT, voice assistants will only become more helpful.
Not only will voice commerce models be able to respond to user questions more accurately but they will also be able to predict user needs and take the correct actions.
The rise of voice commerce is not just a technological trend. It is a revolutionary force that is reshaping the very fabric of our shopping experiences.
As we navigate the intricate intersection of artificial intelligence, virtual assistants, and consumer behaviour, it becomes evident that the sonic revolution has introduced a new era of accessibility, convenience, and personalisation.
The hands-free nature of voice commerce is not just a convenience, it’s a transformational shift that accommodates our fast-paced lifestyles, offering a seamless integration of technology into our daily routines.
The impact extends beyond the realm of transactional exchanges, influencing how businesses approach customer engagement and the very essence of brand-consumer relationships.
As the synergy between voice-activated devices and e-commerce platforms evolves, so too does our reliance on traditional screens wane, giving rise to an era where spoken words guide our shopping journeys.