Future of Voice Commerce in eCommerce

The Rise of Voice Commerce: The Future of Ecommerce Business

Last Updated on 03rd Apr, 2024

The future of voice commerce in eCommerce looks very promising. Voice commerce, also known as v-commerce, is an emerging trend that is set to transform the e-commerce industry. It involves using voice-based assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to make purchases online. With the proliferation of smart speakers and advancements in voice recognition technology, v-commerce is poised to become a preferred mode of shopping for many consumers in the coming years.

As more consumers adopt smart speakers and get comfortable with voice-based transactions, the future of v-commerce in the eCommerce industry looks very bright. Voice commerce will likely become a mainstream way to shop online in the near future. The hands-free, convenient and personalized nature of voice commerce will help drive its adoption.

Voice Commerce Definition and Meaning

The past decade has witnessed significant developments in voice technology. Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home have become ubiquitous in many households. Over 50 million smart speakers were sold globally in 2018 alone, and the installed base is projected to top 200 million units worldwide by 2022.

Along with the spread of smart speakers, advancements in natural language processing and speech recognition technologies have enabled users to interact with these devices through voice commands in natural conversational language. Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant offer hands-free convenience, which has led to the emergence of v-commerce.

V-commerce refers to the use of voice commands and AI assistants to browse and shop for products online. According to an Adobe Analytics survey, 58% of consumers have used voice search or voice commands to start their online product searches. This indicates the rising popularity of voice as an AI shopping assistant. With v-commerce, mundane online shopping tasks like searching for products, adding items to a cart, checking order status, and making payments can be done quickly using verbal instructions.

V-commerce has the potential to profoundly impact the e-commerce sector. According to Juniper Research, voice commerce sales are expected to exceed $40 billion globally by 2022, up from just $2 billion in 2018. This exponential growth underscores the need for online retailers to adopt voice search optimization and integrate their platforms with virtual assistants.

In this article, we will explore the factors driving the adoption of v-commerce, benefits and use cases, strategies for retailers, and the future outlook for voice-based e-commerce.

Key Drivers of V-Commerce Adoption

Some of the key factors propelling the rise of v-commerce include:

Proliferation of Smart Speakers

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Homepod are gaining popularity among consumers globally. By the start of 2019, it is estimated that 100 million Alexa-enabled and Google Assistant devices had been sold globally. The install base of smart speakers is projected to grow to over 250 million units by 2023. This widespread availability provides the underlying infrastructure to support voice commerce.

Advancements in Voice Technology

Continued improvements in machine learning, NLP, and neural networks have made voice assistants much more accurate and responsive. Alexa and Google Assistant can now understand different accents, process conversational commands, and complete complex voice-based tasks, enhancing the viability of v-commerce.

Convenience and Hands-Free Usage

Voice shopping enables a convenient, hands-free experience that is not easy to replicate using manual browsing and typing. Consumers can quickly search for and buy products by simply speaking out about their needs, which adds to the appeal of voice commerce.

Consumer Tech Adoption

A significant segment of consumers has grown accustomed to controlling smart home devices and accessing information via voice assistants. As they get comfortable with the technology, the adoption of v-commerce is also increasing.

Growth in M-Commerce

The rise of mobile commerce has primed consumers to make purchases through devices and interfaces other than desktops, paving the way for the adoption of other emerging modes like v-commerce.

For Consumers

  • Convenience: Hands-free ordering by voice command is quicker and easier compared to typing on mobile/desktop.
  • Personalization: Voice assistants can identify individual users and learn their preferences over time, enabling personalized product recommendations.
  • Multi-tasking: Voice shopping allows consumers to engage in other household tasks simultaneously.
  • Accessibility: Voice commerce is a boon for the elderly, disabled, and others who find it difficult to physically browse or type.
  • Reduced Cart Abandonment: The frictionless ordering may lead to lower cart abandonment rates.

For Retailers

  • Higher Conversion Rates: A streamlined checkout process can improve conversions.
  • Competitive Edge: Early voice-commerce adoption helps retailers gain a competitive first-mover advantage.
  • Improved Brand Visibility: Product listings on voice assistant platforms increase discoverability.
  • Enhanced CX: Voice commerce provides an additional sales channel and upgraded consumer experience.
  • Deeper Consumer Insights: Data derived from voice searches provides valuable consumer behaviour insights.

Some common v-commerce use cases include:

  • Ordering groceries, household supplies, and other CPG products by speaking to Alexa or Google Assistant.
  • Quickly purchase digital goods like movie tickets or e-gift cards using voice commands.
  • Checking order status, reordering routine purchases, and tracking shipments via conversational voice interfaces.
  • Accessing product/pricing information hands-free while multi-tasking in the kitchen or workshop.
  • Discovering new products and comparing options through voice assistant recommendations.
  • Voice-based personalized deals, promotions, and upsell recommendations based on purchase history.

Strategies for Retailers Exploring V-Commerce

For online merchants and e-tailers looking to capitalize on the voice commerce opportunity, some effective strategies include:

Optimize for Voice Search

  • Use natural language keywords that customers are likely to speak while searching for relevant products.
  • Provide conversational responses to common customer queries to improve visibility.
  • Structured markup can help surface products for voice searches.

Build a Voice App

  • Develop a voice app for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to allow direct voice-based purchases.
  • Offer an engaging shopping and checkout flow via an interactive voice app.
  • Ensure the voice app provides a personalized experience.

Integrate with Voice Platforms

  • List products in voice assistant catalogs like Alexa Shop or Google Express.
  • Make products discoverable on smart speaker platforms.
  • Enable voice-activated purchases and Prime voice ordering if selling on Amazon.

Voice-First Content

  • Create audio briefs, podcasts, and interactive videos to supplement text content.
  • Provide product overviews, buying guides, and tutorials with voice search optimization.

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Promote Availability

  • Highlight voice search and voice commerce availability across websites, product pages, and marketing campaigns.
  • Educate customers on speaking about their buying needs to simplify shopping.
  • Share device instructions and voice commands to boost engagement.

Analyze Performance

  • Track voice commerce metrics like search queries, voice app installs, purchases, etc.
  • Identify gaps and opportunities to refine voice strategy further.
  • Continuously improve content and expand channel connectivity based on insights.

Prioritize CRM

  • Capture voice-commanded purchases as part of unified commerce CRM.
  • Build customer identity and purchase history across voice and other channels.
  • Deliver personalized recommendations and a unified post-purchase experience.

Voice-First Customer Service

  • Implement voice-based support and conversational interfaces for customer service.
  • Offer seamless assistance across pre-sales and post-sales touchpoints.
  • Enable voice-activated reordering, self-service, and query resolution.

Future of Voice Commerce in eCommerce

Voice commerce is still in a nascent stage but is expected to gain significant traction in the next 3-5 years.

Here are the future of voice commerce in eCommerce possibilities:

Proliferation of Voice Shopping

Consumers are likely to shop via voice assistants a lot more frequently as smart speaker adoption grows globally. Voice will become a leading mode of e-commerce over time.

Expansion Across Categories

While v-commerce is currently dominated by simple replenishment purchases in CPGs and groceries, it will expand into higher-consideration categories like apparel, jewellery, electronics, etc.

Paradigm Shift in Retail

Brands will need to reshape their content strategies, shopping formats, and customer engagement to thrive in a voice-first environment. Voice search and conversational commerce will disrupt retail.

Personalization at Scale

As assistants understand more contextual signals, personalized product recommendations and customized deals can be delivered effortlessly through voice.

Integration Across Devices

Voice shopping capabilities will be integrated into all types of connected devices beyond smart speakers, making commerce genuinely ubiquitous.

Rise of Virtual storefronts

Voice assistant platforms are likely to become the equivalent of virtual digital storefronts where product discovery and purchases will happen.

Evolution of Virtual Assistants

With advancements in NLP and ML, virtual assistants will become more conversational, contextual and capable of complex multistep transactions.

Mainstream Adoption

As voice commerce becomes more accurate, secure, and widely used, it will enter the mainstream space. A significant proportion of online shopping is likely to happen via voice assistants in the future.

Emergence of New Business Models

The rise of voice presents opportunities for retailers to adopt creative business models like shoppable audio content, voice affiliate marketing, conversational upselling, etc.

Direct Brand Interactions

Instead of pure voice search, consumers may directly interact with branded voice assistants customized for immersive brand experiences.

Hyper-Personalization

Granular personalization will reach a new level, with shoppers receiving extremely customized real-time offers and recommendations tailored to their preferences and contexts.

Seamless Post-Purchase Experience

Voice commerce platforms are likely to provide integrated post-purchase customer service, updates, content and recommendations for a seamless experience.

Expanded Use Cases

Innovative usage scenarios, such as group voice shopping features for families and friends and interactive shoppable voice games, are likely to emerge.

Growth in Voice Ads

As smart speaker adoption increases, voice ads will become more familiar and will target engaged users during contextual voice interactions.

Comprehensive CRM

CRM systems will incorporate voice customer data to build 360-degree customer profiles for consistent engagement across channels.

Mainstream Payments

Seamless voice-activated payments will become a norm, replacing tedious checkout processes for quicker, frictionless transactions.

Ambient Computing Environments

The lines between voice commerce, IoT, and omnichannel retail will blur to offer consumers intelligent ambient shopping environments.

Game-Changing Innovation: Future of Voice Commerce in eCommerce

With rapid advancements in underlying technologies, v-commerce capabilities in the future seem unimaginable today, leading to disruptive innovation.

While voice commerce is still evolving, its dominance seems inevitable. To stay competitive, retailers and e-commerce businesses should start experimenting and building voice strategies now. Though challenging, the rise of v-commerce also presents opportunities to transform shopping in extraordinary ways. Companies that embrace voice early will be best poised to win market share as voice-based experiences become mainstream.

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