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RetailX Brand Index 2019

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Voice commerce intrigues many shoppers, but most retailers and brands don’t know how to deliver it, studies find

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Many shoppers are quite at home with voice shopping, many more want to try it
Many shoppers are quite at home with voice shopping, many more want to try it
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Shoppers want to try voice for shopping but retailers and brands not sure how to deliver it, studies find

Half of shoppers who regularly interact with a voice device such as Alexa or Siri have shopped on their device – and they are tending to do it via mobile – however, with 57% of shoppers interested in checking out via voice, only 23% of brands currently offer that experience.

 

Two studies out this week reveal that voice is certainly something that consumers are interested in trying, but that many retailers and brands are simply not geared up to service.

 

New data from digital commerce consulting firm SUMO Heavy suggests that voice commerce remains a nascent retail channel but the data suggests voice-assisted shopping will quickly increase as voice assistants gain wider adoption among consumers. While voice assistant adoption is still in its early stages, consumers are becoming more accustomed to the technology as it becomes commonplace in connected devices such as smart speakers, wearables and in-car entertainment systems, says SUMO Heavy.

 

However, 49% of consumers still prefer to interact with voice assistants via their smartphones, which offer the lowest barrier to entry. According to the research, 68% of iOS users report having used voice assistants in the past, compared to just 45% of Android owners. 35% of consumers own a smart speaker and the vast majority of them use voice assistants at least once a week.

 

“We’re at the cusp of the voice revolution. The people who do use voice assistants do so regularly, which is a promising sign,” says Bart Mroz, co-founder and CEO at SUMO Heavy. “Once more consumers discover that their voice assistants are capable of more than performing simple tasks like playing songs and relaying the weather report, they’ll use it for other activities, including making purchases via voice.”

 

Voice commerce shows particular promise in the consumables category, with consumers stating that they see themselves purchasing household products and groceries using a voice assistant in the near future. Consumers looking for a seamless, hands-free way to discover and purchase goods may soon embrace this new method of shopping.

 

Where are the retailers?

A separate study by Elastic Path, however, suggests that, while 57% of consumers are interested in checking out via voice, but just 23% of brands currently offer that experience. Hear that, brands? That’s the sound of a missed opportunity.

 

This striking data comes from a new report “The Sci-Fi Shopper: How to Future Proof Your Brand for the New Consumer,” surveyed 1,000-plus shoppers and 300-plus brand professionals on how companies are keeping up with what shoppers really want.

 

It finds that 67% of shoppers want checkout-less payments, while just 18% of retailers offer it, 57% want voice commerce, but only 23% make it available, 58% want to use smart devices, while just a quarter have it and 55% see facial recognition as a must, while only 20% offer it.

 

The survey also found that, while 81% of consumers have not even tried using voice to make a purchase, early adopters are hooked. 21% use it at least weekly. Of these, 69% of consumers want to purchase groceries via voice; 67% want to purchase health and beauty products.

 

Gen Z has purchased an Alexa or Google Home most (29%), followed by Millennials (24%)

 

However, 37% of consumers said errors and miscommunication when leveraging voice stops them from using the technology and 11% avoid the technology because they don’t trust it to correctly purchase their desired items.

 

“When it comes to new technology, brands continue to chase shiny objects. Consumers just want to buy the products they need with as little effort as possible,” says Darin Archer, CMO of Elastic Path. “Companies need a strong commerce backend that supports the latest innovations without sacrificing customer experience. It’s up to brands to make any experience shoppable. With the right tech, they can enable consumers to purchase almost without thinking, anytime and anywhere.”

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