E-commerce takes a new turn: voice shopping
It took a few years, but virtual assistants have made their way into most people’s lives in one form or another. From the early days of Cortana to Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, these apps have grown smart enough to help us do more. And like this study through Coupon Follow broadcasts, they have also become effective e-commerce channels. (See the full infographic below.)
The study asked more than 1,000 respondents if they buy using a virtual assistant, how often, why and for what. A surprising 35.1% said they interact with their digital partners on a daily basis, and of that number, 39.1% said they were also very likely to shop with them.
What is fueling this trend is the growing popularity of smart speakers. Market research firm Statistical forecasts that smart speaker revenue will reach $ 152.5 million in 2021, up from $ 134.5 million in 2020. Statista further predicts that global revenue from these devices will reach or exceed $ 35.5 billion. ‘by 2025. And Juniper Research predicted smart speaker use will triple by 2023, to over 8 billion. This growth, he says, will be driven by smart home devices.
If you thought that the main obstacle to this activity would be an annoying shopping experience, you are wrong. Coupon Follow research has shown that the main concerns for those not yet using a virtual assistant are data security and a scary factor caused by keeping track of their data. Regular users mainly complained that their AI friends didn’t learn their routines fast enough or had too much trouble understanding their speech.
The shopping experience was never mentioned as a downside, likely because it is designed to be frictionless by mimicking the service you would get in a physical store. The assistants not only show the products of the suppliers, but also answer questions about prices and features. You can even ask follow-up questions and get the same personalized buying suggestions you would get on a website. This is confirmed by Coupon Follow survey respondents, 61% of whom said they were satisfied with their voice shopping experience.
For e-commerce providers, this represents a whole new way to reach customers through a growing variety of products. The Coupon Follow survey indicated that currently the most common voice shopping category is groceries, with 34.1% of respondents saying this is what they buy most often. Next come electronics (28%), health and beauty (27%), then clothing (24.8%). Less popular but growing categories are housewares, pet supplies, gifts, and even furniture.
You’d think Amazon’s e-tail muscle and its Alexa market share would make the site a great place to start. And you will probably be right in the future. But for now, Coupon Follow says that while the Amazon Echo is the most popular device purchased by its respondents, its owners are the least likely to buy one, and this is only slightly followed by customers of Google Home and Nest. The assistant at the top of the purchasing chart was the Apple HomePod, so while purchases on Alexa will undoubtedly increase over time, especially at events like Amazon Prime Day, your best short-term bet is Apple. .
If you are an e-merchant looking to capitalize on this trend, your first step is to make your products available on the four major buying engines: Apple, Amazon. Google and Microsoft. Once done, talk to your web developer to make sure your site is both voice-searchable and mobile-friendly, as it is this combination that will likely dominate the voice shopping experience in the short term. Long term trends will certainly add virtual and augmented reality as well.