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What Is Voice Commerce and Why Is It So Important in 2021
Voice Commerce is exploding. Conversational AI solutions address multiple problems, but the central one is Customer Satisfaction. Originally published at AIthority.
COVID-19 was the catalyst for millions of consumers, who have embraced the convenience of ecommerce. Even in the wake of the pandemic, many people now prefer online shopping to in-person retail. Consumers are now looking for self-service features, 24/7 availability, and maximized personalization. They are looking for conversational commerce.
The pandemic-induced stay-at-home lifestyle has led to a significant spike in the number of voice commerce users. The appeal of shopping anyplace, anytime resonated with consumers, as 76% of consumers reported making purchases during at least one of their daily routine activities, whether eating breakfast, commuting to work, or sitting at their desks in the office.
According to PYMNTS research, in-store shopping was down 25% from 2019, with just 44% of consumers reporting that they made purchases in brick-and-mortar stores. It was also found that bridge millennials were almost twice as likely as the average consumers to use voice-activated technology to make purchases. Hence, once the COVID-19 is over, consumers will not get back to physical stores.
Safety is a major factor for younger consumers embracing online shopping, with 83.1% of bridge millennials citing a desire to stay safe during the pandemic as “very” or “extremely” important. But there were other reasons ecommerce soared: 84.7% said reduced frustration as “very” or “extremely important” factor, while 83.1% said connected commerce was faster. And 82.3% said it was easier, while 80.9% noted it improved their overall quality of life.
These statistics are exciting and should serve as a guide for action, as retail is the first industry to align with emerging customer needs, and the first-mover advantage here is financially rewarding.
Voice Commerce is exploding. Conversational AI solutions address multiple problems, but the central one is Customer Satisfaction.
Voice Commerce – the ability to purchase things online using just your voice and a compatible smart device, such as your phone, tablet, or smart speaker (connected to the internet)
Conversational AI simplifies everyday tasks. For retailers, that means consumers can use their voice to find the item they need, make an order, pay for it, track it, and leave feedback when it arrives. Later, they can use purchase history to reorder their products. And it works both for online and physical shops.
When it comes to personalized experiences, conversational AI is definitely driving differentiation. Customers are the ones who know best what they want – all you have to do is ask them!
Built-in analytics drive transparency and deliver insights on buying habits and customer loyalty. Some solutions can even scan users’ voices in order to recognize and analyze their emotions. That information provides a better understanding of customer’s needs, helping to form the right message and offer a better deal with a personal touch.
Amazon success story
Some companies create their own voice assistant and build a whole ecosystem around it, inspired by Amazon’s Alexa success story. Why? Consider this: once Amazon released Alexa-powered devices, they were sold at a reduced price. Later, these devices were used to sell Amazon products.
This way, Amazon created loyal customers and a perfect example here is Amazon Prime $600 for non-Prime customers and they shop on Amazon twice as frequently. The company comes up with new ideas and discounts to drive customer loyalty quite regularly.
Amazon also has private labels, featuring its in-house brands. With voice ordering, users don’t scroll through product listings — they implicitly trust Alexa while it works as a search engine and returns quite specific search results. If a search falls within a category in which Amazon offers private-label products, Alexa recommends the private-label products 17% of the time.
Implementing Conversational AI
Today, different channels of implementation are open for the retail and e-commerce industry: messaging apps (Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.); all kinds of chatbots, and voice assistants.
Nowadays, voice can be used anywhere. According to Voicebot, a large number of consumers want voice assistants in mobile apps, so, if you got an app for your business, consider implementing a smart shopping assistant that could help your customers 24/7, engaging them and keeping them loyal to your brand.
Before starting a project think of the user experience – who, where, and when will be using your voice-powered solution. Do you want:
- A chatbot to answer FAQs?
- Outbound calls made by a smart robot to inform your audience?
- A voice assistant to help your customers find the right item?
- Or maybe a voice-powered game that entertains and promotes your brand?
The main idea is that it should be helpful, easy, and fun.
Conversational AI is relatively new, but there are hundreds of companies working in this sphere. Some may are hyper-focused on particular aspects, while others offer a range of services. But in case you need a simple solution, you have ample resources, and you know exactly what you want, consider using a chatbot constructor like Aimylogic, Voiceflow, Chatfuel, etc. Independent development will save you money, but you have to keep in mind that these solutions need constant tech support and enhancement. And usually, companies decide to scale up their solutions to address other challenges, so make sure you allocate resources for the future.
But if you are planning to build a complex solution, such as a voice assistant, find an approved vendor for development, implementation, and support. They provide flexible frameworks and platforms that can be seamlessly integrated with your existing business applications. You get a working solution, 24/7/365 support, and analytics to further improve your business.
On-premise or on the cloud?
When choosing a deployment model take into account your business requirements.
Cloud-based solutions simplify the development process. They offer simple integrations along with multiple channels. However, when businesses receive customer-specific customizations they may not have much flexibility. Moreover, on the payment front, you pay for as much as you use. The service comes with charges depending upon the usage.
The solution allows businesses to customize the workflow. Businesses can also integrate with any current working client applications into the workflow as per the requirement. The on-premise solution will help businesses have continuous in-house maintenance and support available. There is less or next to no dependency on the vendor, but the enterprise is solely responsible for maintaining the solution and all its related processes.
Adapt or die
Conversational AI and voice-powered solutions are much more than a trend. Voice is here to stay because it’s a natural interface. The technology keeps advancing at an incredibly rapid pace, and pretty soon we won’t be able to imagine shopping without shopping assistants. Brands that have found their voice and use it not just to improve customer experience, but to build brand awareness too, will have a distinct competitive advantage.
It’s critical to invest in customer satisfaction – the more satisfied consumers are, the longer they stay with you, and the more money you make. Start a two-way conversation with your customers to find out what they really need.