And the implications for eCommerce
Automation of the home environment through Voice
It’s all about the Voice
Increasing numbers of people are using voice, thanks to the growing popularity of home voice assistants such as Alexa. We’re all aware of their invasion of our homes over recent years. They carry out a range of tasks for us daily, but they don’t always get it right. A bit of browsing using the hashtag ‘alexafail’ brings back some fun results:
Whether the voice assistants get it right or wrong, their popularity has boosted Voice technology into the mainstream. But it hasn’t always been about Alexa or Siri. Let’s take a look at how Voice technology has developed over the years with a brief timeline:
How does Voice affect eCommerce?
This proliferation of voice has a knock-on effect for eCommerce, with a study by OC & C Strategy Consultants forecasting a 1,999% increase in voice shopping, reaching $40 billion by 2022. This explosion in revenue will be primarily Mobile Voice UX on Smartphones.
Much of this predicted $40 billion will be attributed to Amazon as people use their devices more for shopping. Having said this, the ability to handle the same voice functionalities becomes even more important for other retailers, as users are increasingly used to voice shopping.
By 2021, mobile eCommerce sales are expected to account for 54% of total eCommerce sales.
Recent statistics even show that for certain brands, more than 75% of transactions are happening from mobile devices.
While more users are using mobile than desktop, conversion rates are dramatically lower for mobile, highlighting inconsistencies between user experience for desktop and mobile. The principle reasons for this m-commerce ‘gap’ are ease of use and product findability. The move towards using voice will allow users to get around that, as it’s easier to do than typing.
Voice recognition does not necessarily provide understanding.
Voice capabilities have been around for a long time, but the ability for the search engine to understand the context of the phrase, the intent of the shopper, was missing. Now that users are more used to using voice with home assistants like Alexa, voice shopping will increase exponentially.
Businesses who are voice-enabled will see a dramatic increase in conversion rates.
In order to take advantage of these changes in how shoppers are choosing to buy online, you need technology that will understand the way people speak and be able to respond appropriately.
Understanding Language and Taking Action
Imagine that Joe Bloggs speaks to his fridge:
“I need a large glass of milk”
The technology installed in the fridge may be able to understand the request but can’t actually pour Joe that large glass of milk. This demonstrates perfectly a site that enables voice input but doesn’t have AI-based Natural Language Processing in order to intuitively deal with voice requests.
More and more users are expecting to be able to have a conversation when buying online. Using conversational search is therefore going to become more popular. Unfortunately, eCommerce search systems generally aren’t conversational.
EasyAsk’s solutions are on the cutting edge of understanding voice input and conversational search, providing the technology necessary to keep up with the proliferation of Voice.
“With all the fervor around voice-activated applications and machine intelligence, EasyAsk can help end-user organizations and vendors put an Apple Siri- or IBM Watson-like front end on…search applications.”
Gartner Cool Vendor: Analytics
Look out for future blog posts, where we will explore in more detail:
- Using AI-based Natural Language processing to improve eCommerce product search
- What is Conversational Search and what does it mean for eCommerce?