Blog Post - Naji El-Arifi, Jan 15 2019

The rise of voice commerce - are you listening?

The rise of voice commerce - are you listening?

Voice commerce is gathering pace as the chosen method for making purchases. This broad term includes any interaction between a website and a consumer that incorporates voice recognition technology. As opposed to making buying choices by a point and click method, selections are made with voice commands - spoken with words and phrases. As our Future Shopper 2018 survey discovered, 55% of online consumers would be comfortable shopping by voice with no website or store involvement, which indicates that this is a burgeoning trend that could be a huge market in the very near future.

Integrating voice commerce

It's estimated that, by 2022, the voice commerce market will be worth somewhere in the region of £40 billion. This indicates that we are moving away from screens as the primary interface for eCommerce and towards a screen-less process instead. According to Nielsen, the infrastructure to support this move is already in place thanks to the popularity of smart speakers.

Nielsen's latest study indicates that 24% of households already own a smart speaker, and 40% of those have more than one. The trend towards owning a smart speaker, such as Amazon's Echo, Google's Home speaker, and Apple's HomePod, is one that has gathered much of its ground in recent months. According to the Nielsen study, almost two thirds of smart speaker buyers made their purchase in the last six months.

The shift from screen to voice

Smart speakers are already influencing the ways in which we interact with the online world. According to Nielsen, we are already using smart speakers for functions such as listening to music, but 68% of users chat with their smart speaker just for fun. The increasing popularity of smart speakers, as well as the wide range of uses that we put them to, is paving the way for a shift from screen to voice. It's highly likely that, in the not too distant future, the screen will become the fallback for interfacing with the internet, as opposed to the primary option.

Adapting to the rise in voice commerce

As voice commerce begins to grown and become better established, this will require brands to adapt to this changing landscape, as it will have an impact in a number of different ways. For example, it will affect how consumers search for products and the choices that are made, and it will require changes to be made to the approaches that are taken to stimulate consumers into buying.

A switch from visual to audio will also mean brands have to reconsider how to engage customers with a brand identity that needs to be built around voice and personality. Finally, the rise in voice commerce will also make fata and the use of machine learning even more important when it comes to the timing and methods of customer targeting.

Voice commerce represents a significant shift in the way that consumers interact with brands - and it's a change that is coming. As well as the adjustments that need to be made, there are real opportunities in exploring this new method of communication, too. As a final thought, Wunderman Commerce's Head of Innovation, Naji El-Arifi advises: "Brands need to be thinking about what their offering is going to be in the next couple of years when voice becomes a major interface. You have to have a plan of how customers are going to interact with your brand using voice, especially as it will completely change how brands and customers interact."

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