Digital voice assistants have long since found their way into consumers' everyday lives. According to a study by GetApp, one in five people have already bought a voice-controlled assistant. Whether playing music, checking the weather forecast in the morning or setting the alarm clock for the next day - Alexa and co. are now an important companion in daily life for many people.
Voice assistants are also becoming increasingly popular for shopping: 56% of users use them to create their shopping lists. A full 40% shop directly online using a voice assistant. Voice commerce is increasingly finding its way into online retail. In this article, you will find out why your online store can also benefit from this trend in the long term. We also present three examples of voice commerce.
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Do you need support with the implementation in your Shopify store? As Shopify Plus experts, we will be happy to assist you and help you adapt your store to these requirements. Get in touch with us.
Voice commerce definition: What is v-commerce?
As part of e-commerce, voice commerce (also known as v-commerce) uses a voice assistant as the technology. Transactions are processed exclusively via voice-controlled assistants. In general, all purchasing activities are included in this category - even those that do not involve the completion of a purchase.
Voice commerce (VC for short) therefore uses voice technologies to reduce dependence on hardware (such as a keyboard) by using voice commands to search for or buy products online. Consumers only need a voice-controlled device and a voice assistant such as Siri or Alexa. The basis is a voice user interface (VUI), through which customers interact with a system via voice. The intelligent assistants carry out the desired action in the online store using spoken instructions.
Reading tip: What other e-commerce trends are important this year? We get to the bottom of the current trends in this blog post.
How does voice commerce work?
Voice e-commerce is designed to make shopping easier for users so that they no longer need to operate hardware and can simply make their purchases by voice. All they need is their voice and the necessary technology.
The voice assistant understands the user's intentions and initiates the necessary action. For example, if they are looking for products, the assistant searches the internet and presents the results. Consumers can then select an item, add it to their shopping cart and buy it - all by voice control.
The following steps take place during a purchase via voice search in e-commerce:
The digital assistant's system uses advanced voice algorithms to analyze the customer's words. Example: "Hey Siri, find me results for window cleaner."
The assistant not only recognizes the words, but also the intention. In our example, it recognizes that the customer wants to buy a window cleaner.
As soon as the intention has been recognized, the assistant starts the search on the Internet. Various offers are compared and the most relevant results are presented.
Now the user is shown matching results for the search "window cleaner" on a screen (or via loudspeaker). They can listen to product reviews, check color options or compare prices.
Once the perfect option has been found, users can give the assistant the command to order. Example: "Order me the window cleaner from brand XY."
The assistant can now make the payment using a previously defined payment method and the window cleaner is delivered to the customer.
The digital assistants always respond to certain trigger words, such as "order". As voice shopping works entirely via voice as an input and output channel (with artificial intelligence in the middle), correct pronunciation is particularly important. Customers thus have a personal shopping assistant at their disposal to help them order products - all without a single click.
Reading tip: Read the article to find out how you can further optimize your store with QA in e-commerce.
What advantages does voice commerce offer?
The advantages of voice commerce are not only crucial for online retailers, but also interesting for customers. The most important ones include
Ease of use is probably the biggest advantage of v-commerce. All you need to use voice control for shopping is a device with voice assistance and your own voice. This allows consumers to shop while cooking or driving, for example.
As with an online store, voice commerce gives consumers the opportunity to shop at any time of day or night. However, the technology makes the shopping process much faster and more convenient, for example by eliminating long search processes.
This brings us to the third advantage: with v-commerce, customers no longer have to log in, enter personal details or spend a long time searching for products online, which saves them valuable time.
Personalized shopping experience
As already mentioned, shopping via voice control is particularly easy. This is why people are increasingly tending to shop with their voice assistants. This allows devices to learn more about users and use this data to personalize the online experience. Companies that collect this information on consumer behavior can use it to develop a strong marketing strategy (also known as voice-based marketing). By increasing personalization, customers can be delighted with every purchase, which also contributes to customer loyalty.
Reading tip: Read the article to find out why personalization is so important in e-commerce.
People with visual impairments or mobility restrictions also benefit from voice shopping. Thanks to voice-controlled technologies, people can access e-commerce platforms without having to rely on the visual view. They can search for products, retrieve information and make purchases by simply using voice commands.
The ability to use voice commands also makes the shopping process easier for people with motor disabilities and makes online shopping accessible to a wider demographic.
Reading tip: Find out more about how you can design accessible websites.
The challenges of voice commerce
As with any technology, there are challenges with voice commerce in retail:
Lack of visuality: If your customers do not use an additional device to view the products before purchasing, this can cause uncertainty. Informative product descriptions can help to overcome this as far as possible.
Language barriers: As every human voice is unique, computers can struggle to understand and interpret possible accents. To prevent this, developers must constantly improve the language functions.
Lack of knowledge: Despite the rapid developments, consumers are still not informed enough about voice assistants. As a result, there are still many customers who do not use digital assistants because they feel they know too little about their possibilities and potential risks.
Lack of trust: In many cases, voice assistants are only used for purchases of items that customers have already bought. Smaller and inexpensive items are also purchased, but larger purchases often fall by the wayside as customers lack confidence due to a lack of knowledge. You should therefore inform your customers in detail about existing options with regard to your voice commerce.
Uncertainties and data protection: The use of voice assistants requires the collection of voice data, which can raise data protection concerns among consumers. If companies want to increase the acceptance of voice commerce, sooner or later they will have to work towards a solution that only stores information that is exclusively required for the purchase and the security of the data. Here too, customers need to be informed in detail and educated about the security of digital assistants.
Reading tip: Find out here what you should bear in mind with the Shopify GDPR.
How you as a retailer can benefit from v-commerce
For you as an online retailer, the trend also offers a number of advantages that you should definitely keep in mind in order to increase your reach, boost sales and make the shopping experience more pleasant for your customers. These include:
Personalization of the shopping experience
Additional up- and cross-selling opportunities
New channel for addressing customers
Minimizing technical hurdles for customers
More data and statistics on your target group
Voice commerce will make it easier for your customers to find what they are looking for. This reduces abandoned purchases, which has a lasting effect on your e-commerce success. Please note that some sectors are more suitable for V-Commerce than others. More complex products that require a lot of explanation are usually less suitable for quick voice sales.
Let's take a look at a few more strategies on how you can use the technology effectively to increase your voice commerce sales:
Discounts and offers for VC users
By offering your customers special offers and discounts on voice commerce, you encourage them to use this channel regularly. For example, offer exclusive "voice commerce deals" that are only accessible via voice command.
Increase customer loyalty
Voice commerce should not only be seen as a sales channel, but also as a way to build customer loyalty. For example, you can send exclusive updates and information to users who use VC, making them feel more connected to your brand.
Reading tip: How to increase customer satisfaction.
Product ratings and recommendations
The voice assistant can give customers feedback on products and offer personalized recommendations based on previous purchases. This helps them find what they are looking for faster and the shopping experience can be further personalized.
Work continuously on improvements
Use the feedback from your customers and continuously optimize your voice commerce strategy. This includes improving voice accuracy, expanding the product range and integrating additional functions to enrich the shopping experience.
How you can integrate V-Commerce into your store
By implementing VC, you can not only expand the reach of your store, but also increase sales and improve your customers' shopping experience. There are various strategies for using VC in your store.
One of the most effective methods is to develop your own voice commerce app. This allows your customers to search, select and order products and services effortlessly using voice commands. A user-friendly interface and a smooth shopping experience are crucial here.
In the Shopify App Store you will also find some helpful tools to support you in implementing VC in your store. The Voice Search - MyApp Gurus app, for example, is a modern tool that helps users to search for information online using their voice. The algorithms provide customers with accurate information in seconds and offer a secure experience. With the Speechify app, you can add a voice to your pages to give your online store a personal touch. The tool reads out the information on a page, allowing users to focus on aspects such as viewing product photos and reviews.
An alternative and faster implementation method is the integration of already established platforms such as Amazon and Google, which offer special voice commerce integrations. This enables a fast time to market and reaches a wide audience.
Choosing the right voice assistant is another key to successful VC implementation. Identify the most commonly used assistants in your target audience, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Siri, to achieve a wider reach.
Optimizing your product catalog for VC is also an important point. Make sure that product descriptions, prices and availability are up to date and take voice-activated search queries into account. Pay particular attention to the linguistic simplicity of your descriptions and product specifications. This will make it easier for the voice assistant to process the information and provide customers with more helpful results. Work with questions and appropriate answers in your texts.
Privacy and security are also very important when processing sensitive information such as payment details. Implement robust security measures to protect the confidentiality and integrity of the data.
After implementation, it is important to carry out extensive tests and collect feedback from customers. Only by holistically adapting your company to voice recognition can you exploit the full potential of voice commerce.
Voice commerce examples
Some companies are already using V-Commerce to increase their success. Three successful examples of voice commerce:
Amazon Alexa: Amazon's voice assistant is probably the best-known voice commerce system on the market. Users can use the system to buy products directly via voice commands, play music, call up news and much more.
Domino's Pizza: The pizza delivery service was one of the first companies to use voice commerce to take customer orders. With the help of Amazon's Alexa, customers can place an order and track the status of their delivery.
Starbucks: Customers of the popular coffee chain can also place their order by voice command and make the payment via the Starbucks app. This reduces waiting times and makes shopping easier.
Reading tip: In this article you will find 20 Shopify Plus examples that score with their stores!
The potential of voice commerce is huge. The use of shopping by voice command can improve the way customers shop and promote customer loyalty. In addition, VC opens up new business opportunities for online retailers and can maximize success in e-commerce, as the examples of voice commerce presented here show.
Even if there are still some challenges associated with VC, it is still a technology that will influence the future of e-commerce. Now is the right time to recognize its potential and use it as an opportunity for innovation and growth.
As Shopify Plus experts, we support you in successfully implementing voice commerce with Shopify. If you have any further questions, we will be happy to help and advise you. Get in touch with us.
Frequently asked questions about voice commerce
What is voice commerce?
Voice commerce refers to the use of voice recognition and virtual assistants to make purchases by voice command. By integrating voice assistants such as Amazon's Alexa, users can search for products, get information and make purchases without having to physically touch a screen.
How does voice commerce work?
Voice commerce works by integrating voice recognition technologies into digital assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa. Users can use voice commands to search for products, compare prices and make purchases. The stored payment information enables smooth transaction processing, making the entire purchasing process voice-controlled.
What are the benefits of voice commerce?
Shopping via voice assistant offers users convenience as they can make purchases and transactions simply by using voice commands. Companies benefit from stronger customer loyalty and personalized offers through the collection of voice-based data. Voice commerce also opens up new sales channels, especially in situations where screens are unavailable or inconvenient (e.g. when cleaning or driving).