It is no secret that voice search is on the rise with tech giants pouring money into creating devices that come with voice assistants. Retailers like Amazon showed commitment and intent to sell their voice enabled devices during last Black Friday by offering huge discounts on products like Echo, Echo Dot and Echo plus; all of these comes with the voice assistant Alexa.
This strategy paid off in a big way with millions of devices sold over the Black Friday weekend. Alexa devices became top sellers across Amazon with Echo Dot becoming Amazon’s best seller across the globe. According to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, tens of millions of customers have now bought Alexa devices which gives us a fair idea of how many people are using voice search options over their digital devices. Tech giants like Apple and Google also have their voice assistants and spend heavily in the development and A/I of these assistants.
Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa becoming more popular by the day shows that voice search is the way forward for the future.
27 million devices were sold by Google and Amazon according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Apple also reports a staggering 500 million Siri users worldwide.
This is bound to create a change throughout businesses, and ecommerce in particular. One third of Alexa and Home users shop through their devices and another 41% plan to do so in the future.
To build a successful long term strategy for your ecommerce business, we will explain how Voice Search can change the shopping behaviors in the years to come.
REPLENISHMENT AND CUSTOMER LOYALTY
The brand loyalty is on a decline and thousands of words have been written about the topic. Through voice-based shopping experiences we could see significant resurgence in the customer loyalty. If the customer is satisfied with the experience, voice-based search would make it easier to re-order the product.
As a customer, if you are satisfied with the product and would like to purchase it again hassle-free, would you do it? The answer is YES. Voice-based shopping experience provides you with that option. If the ecommerce infrastructure is built the right way, voice based shopping can become a very quick and easy experience for the shoppers increasing brand loyalty and significance of the voice-based shopping experiences.
According to Fact Company, up until the end of 2016, Dirty Lemon was one of the very few companies that have developed an infrastructure to perform all customer interactions through SMS.
Others that supported text ordering, like Domino’s Anyware, developed a platform recently that offers customers the option to order up their pizzas via text, as well as through Twitter, Amazon’s Echo, and other channels. Now, Domino’s Anyware supports voice, too.
Amazon has a one-click re ordering approach. A similar approach can be built over the voice-based shopping experience as well as setting up reminders. For example, your monthly purchase of whey protein. Analytics can be used to determine the average life cycle of a convenience products and at the end of the cycle a reminder can be sent out to the shoppers to re-stock their products. This would increase the loyalty and convenience of shopping for your customers.
SEO OPTIMIZATION FOR VOICE USERS
The first and the foremost thing to consider is the behavior of the voice-powered search engine users. They are bound to behave differently than the people who are typing in words. In a detailed explanation on how voice searches affect the search engine results, Search Engine Land have found out the following:
- More visibility in featured snippets on SERPs.
- More consideration of context than the actual search term
- More natural terms are being searched instead of keyword based search as voice searchers use full sentences or questions.
A marketing research firm, ComScore, predicts that by 2020, half of the online searches would be done through voice. To continue to be found by potential shoppers on SERPs, you have to take into account and optimize your website for voice searches.
Product reviews are one of the things that are going to be affected heavily by the development and momentum of voice based searches but in a very positive way. As predicted by AdWeek, the rise in voice searches will lead to a more effective way of feedback loop between consumers and the retailers.
For example: you purchased a product and really liked the product but you couldn’t get yourself to review your purchase. The next day, you voice assistant asks, ‘How would you like to review the product that you purchased?’ It is probably worth your time to answer a couple of questions regarding the product. This would help you get better recommendations for your next purchase as well.
The online reviews would be more representative but it would increase their importance as well. According to USA today, 85% of the voice-based shoppers trust recommendations given by their voice assistants. The recommendations come from the top reviewed products from that specific category. Highlighting your product reviews would become more important than you thought in the future.
Pro tip: Here’s a smart and easy way to have customer reviews and leverage them without having to try too hard: make sure you make an Instagram account for your ecommerce website so that, when people use your products and proudly post photos with them, they can tag you which will automatically be a review (and that, too, a positive one!). Make sure to keep a regular eye on posts that customers tag you in and do a weekly or monthly repost of that. Also have an Instagram section included on your website’s blog, so that everyone who visits your website also sees your Instagram and gets interested in following it.
SHIPPING AND RETURNS
In the years to come, the most important factor of the voice-based shopping would be tracking the shipping and handling returns for the products. A lot of businesses have incorporated returns into their business models as they occur frequently for any ecommerce business. However, the return processes are complicated but the rise of voice-based shoppers, it could become way less complicated.
To make it very simple, integrating your shipping operating with the voice based app would help your customers track their purchases directly by just using a voice command instead of filling out multiple fields of information. If they manage to do so, this gives you a significant competitive edge over other retailers in the market.
With voice, ecommerce business owners can also automate the return process. For example, three days after the product has been delivered, the voice assistant would ask the customer whether they like the product or if they are satisfied with their experience. If the answer is negative, they could ask to arrange the return. The assistant could ask the customer questions required to return the product and then send over a detailed email for the customer record.
WRAPPING IT UP
With voice based shopping experience making it very convenient for the shoppers to shop but the tech isn’t fully capable yet to make complex purchases. Despite all of its shortcomings, voice search has the potential to change the consumer behavior and ecommerce industry. Are you ready to make that switch? Let us know in the comments below.
Jenny Harrison is a passionate marketing and business blogger. She loves to engage with readers who are seeking B2B and B2C marketing related information on the internet. She is a featured blogger at various high authority blogs and magazines in which she shared her research and experience with the vast online community. Currently she is associated with an Orlando based SEO Company ‘PNC Digital’. Follow her on twitter @MJennyHarrison for more updates.