Is it time to take voice commerce seriously?

Wed, 08/04/2020 - 10:32

Since smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home hit the market, they’ve taken the world of voice commands by storm. From useful tools like weather and timers to quirky, comedic features that have gone viral, these tiny devices have crept into our daily lives. And it seems they’re here to stay.

One of voice commerce’s features, however, could take the world of commerce higher than ever before, and I’m not referring to pitch. Voice commerce (or v-commerce) is the next big thing in convenience commerce. Owners simply have to tell their smart speaker to purchase something, and just like that, it’s done. 

But, is it really as simple as that? And, if this is really the next breakthrough in commerce, how can you go about implementing a voice commerce feature for your business? Read on to find out how to differentiate your service from competitors’ with the latest trend in commerce.

Know your audience 

Firstly, and arguably most importantly, you need to identify the relevance of voice commerce to your target audience. Are they millennials abroad with smart speakers in each room and a proclivity for online shopping? Great, they’ll use your v-commerce in no time. However, if your audience is in a country where voice search isn’t as popular, or they’re in an income bracket that doesn’t allow for the latest in tech, you might need to reconsider.

Either way, it’s good to take some time getting to know your audience before taking on any big new venture. Because even if you don’t go through with it, you’ll have gained precious knowledge about the people keeping your business up and running. Plus, these insights can help you to identify the different types of digital marketing approaches that’ll help you inform your customers about your new functionality.

Spruce up your UX

Before you undertake a major rollout of your voice commerce strategy, you need to establish whether your current user experience (UX) is on par. There’s no use constructing a new user experience for your voice commerce integration when your ecommerce website doesn’t offer users a smooth and natural experience already.

Then, once your ecommerce UX is up to scratch, you can start working on the user journey for your v-commerce endeavours. This can be trickier than usual since you’re not providing users with a set navigational path where they can only take predefined steps. Instead, you need to prepare for whatever questions a user will ask. See why it was so important to get to know your audience first?

While this process might be challenging, logical and lateral thinking will make it possible for you to understand exactly how your customer will go about purchasing something from you using voice commerce.

It takes “skill” 

If we take Amazon Echo as an example, this cornucopia of commands and responses culminate to form what’s called a “skill”, which the user has to add to their device (similar to downloading apps). For instance, asking Alexa to check the weather requires a skill to be loaded.

So, you can imagine the intricacies involved with setting up a “skill” that has access to a user’s personal information (including credit card details), can pinpoint the exact product a user is looking for within a set product category and can take the user through this process without them becoming frustrated and heading to the store instead.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you approach your voice commerce strategy with a strong human element; stronger than you’ve ever used before.

If you’re working with “skills” for the first time, Amazon has set up tutorials for various skill levels.

Make it natural 

If you consider a real-world situation in which a customer was looking to buy a product from a retailer who could only respond to them audibly, without any visual or other sensory cues, you’ll start to understand that this is anything but a natural interaction.

This is why it’s crucial to spend as much time as possible ensuring your v-commerce UX is as natural as it can be, which it’s not. This doesn’t mean adding gossip or lapses in concentration to your user journey, though humanising. No, instead consider the things you would like to be told or asked if you were busy purchasing an item without seeing it. After all, you won’t be too happy if you went from “Alexa, add apples to my grocery cart” to “Order placed. Your new Apple watch will be shipped soon” without any prompts or confirmation along the way.

Consult v-commerce experts 

All of this may sound overwhelming, especially if you’re new to the world of voice search. But, fear not, the role of your digital marketing agency will be to guide you through the necessary steps to take when venturing into this new world of commerce. They’ll also come up with the best approach to get the word out there once all the groundwork is done. 

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