Voice shopping: Is it the next big thing in retail?

DATE:December 7, 2018

In the U.S alone, 47.3billion adults own a voice-powered device. These devices (think Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home) have become part of the family, but are they becoming a new trend in the retail industry?

Voice shopping is exactly what it sounds like: using a voice-powered device to purchase an item or to add items to your virtual shopping list or cart. Customers plug in their personal information, name, email, credit card number etc., where the device will then keep this information for when the customer wants to purchase a specific item. By simply saying the product’s brand name and price or asking the device to reorder an item that was previously purchased, the device will add that item to your cart. Once the order is confirmed that purchase will be complete. Forbes predicts that though using voice searches on these devices to shop isn’t popular with the masses yet (only 2% of people who own a device use it to make purchases), it will be soon.

So how will this effect retailers? This up-and-coming trend is taking the visual aspect of online and in-store shopping out of the equation and focusing on the quality of your products through clear and concise descriptions. Here are a few strategies you can employ to accommodate the rise of voice shopping.

Increase customer service efforts

Opening up an online customer services presence might be just what your retail store needs as the gateway for voice shopping. These chat boxes give your customers the opportunity to ask any questions they might have or voice any concerns over products or their experience. Many stores are using artificial intelligence (AI) to help their retail numbers grow. These AIs are in place to assist customers as well as track any orders that have been made through a voice-powered device.

Get on customer’s reorder list

Repeat orders are very common in voice shopping, especially in consumable items like food, household cleaners or cosmetics. When customers are comfortable with a specific product and know they will reuse it again and again, it makes it easier to just say “Alexa”, or “Hey Google order me some more _______.”

This is a chance to get your product on a reorder list. What items are your customers consistently coming back for? Send out a feedback survey to your customers or track your production lists and website views. Then use this data to choose which items are more like to be reordered through a voice-powered device. Once you have chosen these items, it is now time to put your creativity to work with keyword development.

Narrow down your keywords

Establishing your keywords, phrases in your web content that search engines filter to suggest your site to the right people, is very important for your business. Not only do keywords help people find your website, they also help voice-powered devices find your products. When thinking about what keywords best describes your product think about how your consumers would ask their home device. Voice searches typically run from six to ten words in length and usually start with a who, what, where, when, why and even how. Create your keywords based on how your customers would communicate. For example, if your customer’s order a certain brand of paper towels use keywords like “for the hardest messes, cleaning supplies, best results” in the products description.

Improve your content

It is important to remember that visual elements are no longer in play for customers who are voice shopping. Everything depends on the content that you choose. If customers are interested in your product, they will want the most important information. If you give them a novel, then you will lose their interest. Voice-powered devices will take bullets points from your content, so it can be read within a limited timeframe. This time frame is from about 16-20 seconds. Create a positive shopping experience with fewer words.

The future of shopping is changing every day and it is important to stay up to date with these changes in order to grow with them. Voice shopping may not be a commonly used feature on these devices yet, but it is something we encourage you to keep watching in the coming months.

Looking for more trends coming in 2019? Check out our blogpost detailing retail trends for the new year!

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