Here are a few reasons why merchants have to be ready for the voice search revolution. Find the 7 best practice tips on where to start and what you need to consider.
Let’s start by understanding what voice search is. Voice search is a technology that allows the user to use a voice command to perform a search on the Internet, a website, or an application. When we add ecommerce to voice search it is simply adding another layer, the voice commands are specifically revolving around a consumer purchase journey.
Voice Commerce describes the utilization of voice recognition technology that enables consumers to purchase online merchandise or services. It lets consumers buy products or services by simply using their voice. (1)
Voice Commerce Trends
Voice commerce sales reached $1.8 billion last year, per OC&C Strategy Consultants. They’re predicted to reach $40 billion by 2022. (2)
Voice Commerce is usually part of a much wider customer journey.
For example, a consumer might have seen an ad for a product and asks Alexa about its price. The user then decides to buy it a few days later on the Amazon website. That’s why Voice Commerce involves much more than an isolated transaction process via voice.
- Often, customers simply want to get a piece of information in the most accessible way.
- The purchase doesn’t always happen via voice.
- It is often just a part of the wider customer journey.
5 Implementation examples
Walmart announced Walmart Voice Order in partnership with Google, which allows customers to order groceries with a simple, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart.” This command will add items directly into a customer’s cart, with the promise of accurately identifying requested items and improved performance as customers use the command. (4)
Amazon is also incorporating the same concept with AmazonFresh. The platform allows customers to shop through any Alexa-enabled device. Although Amazon has more time and money to invest in their processes than most ecommerce retailers, the idea behind improving the consumer shopping experience is the same: to take everyday activities one step into the future. (5)
AmazonFresh Expands, Further Leveraging Alexa for Everyday Voice Commerce.
Starbucks, which pioneered voice ordering in 2017 by allowing customers to purchase coffee and food from them using a voice assistant. However, their partnership with Alibaba, the e-commerce giant, took this one step further. Starbucks unveils a virtual assistant that takes your order via messaging or voice. (6)
Johnnie Walker has taken the voice search feature to an advanced level where the brand suggests its customers the product most suitable for them through conversations with a virtual assistant.
Nestle launched a GoodNes Alexa skill. It offers a visual voice browsing experience to the customers who love cooking. The Alexa device helps customers enhance their culinary skills with voice and visual guidance. GoodNes offers a visual guide that runs on Safari or Chrome on both desktop and mobile devices. (7).
7 Best Practice Tips
- Natural language: Create search content that matches the way people speak in real life versus search terms.
For example, a search term might be white shirt size small Toronto, and a more conversational version of that will: looking to purchase a size small white shirt available near me.
- Keep answers under 30 words: These answers if placed within a bigger content area should be in their own paragraph.
- Integrate long-tail keywords: For example small square soft blue pillow.
- Answer the question: When planning your content make sure to craft it in a way that would answer a question. For example: how much does an 8-foot tree cost near me? The content on the website would be 8 Feet Fir Fresh Christmas Trees in Toronto.
- Offering an AI-operated voice search option: In the search bar would help online shoppers quickly find the item they are looking for.
- Optimize for location: Businesses need to make sure their online presence is properly optimized to indicate their location.
- Fast Loading Screens: Compress large images, eliminating unused, outdated, or resource-heavy plugins, minimize redirects.
Privacy and Voice Search
While the use of voice recognition for the in-store product search has clear advantages because of its ease of use and efficiency; on mobile devices it also requires special attention to privacy and security. Voice recognition is classified as a biometric technology (8) that allows the identification of a uniquely human characteristic, and as a result, voice-related data qualifies as personal information under various privacy and security laws.
Here are some of the laws you have to consider:
- EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (9)
- California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) (10)
- Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) (11)
- State Statutory and Common Law Mandates to Safeguard Personal Data (12)
- State Mandates Regarding Data Destruction and Disposal (13)
- State Data Breach Notification Laws (14)
- The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) (15)
- The Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 (16)
How to set up an ecommerce voice search?
Here are some recommendations on how to implement voice search in your online store:
- Prepare a list of questions that online shoppers may ask while visiting your ecommerce store while searching products or additional information about products.
- Try to anticipate specific words in your search queries like a season, quality, sizes, color, age group, or gender. Think about the problem solution or purpose of the product. Include such information as product attributes or in the product descriptions.
- Use product schema markup extensively for product names and descriptions. including name, color, audience, brand, size, rating, review count, availability status, etc. The relevant attributes will help voice searchers to find matching products fast.
- Optimize the product meta tags and meta descriptions for voice search. Use phrases that are commonly used by voice searchers in the product meta tags.
- Adjust your site SEO to support voice on search engines. Use your search analytics to find popular phrases and keywords that are relevant to your site. Use such phrases in your content to catch long-tail keyword searches and improve ranking.
- Design the navigation for mobile devices as simple and easy to use as possible. Place a search bar at the top. Make the navigation elements touch-friendly with proper sizing and spacing between.
- Fast page loading is critical for mobile commerce and voice search. Use performance measuring tools such as Lighthouse to find problems in the site code or with media assets.
- “Voice Commerce: The Definitive Guide for Amazon Sellers in 2021 ….” https://consulterce.com/voice-commerce/.
- “33 Voice Search Statistics to Prepare You for the … – WordStream.” 20 Mar. 2020, https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2018/04/10/voice-search-statistics-2018.
- “Loup Ventures Says 75% of U.S. Households Will Have Smart ….” 18 Jun. 2019, https://voicebot.ai/2019/06/18/loup-ventures-says-75-of-u-s-households-will-have-smart-speakers-by-2025-google-to-surpass-amazon-in-market-share/.
- “Want Walmart to Help You Grocery Shop? With Our New Voice ….” 2 Apr. 2019, https://corporate.walmart.com/newsroom/2019/04/02/want-walmart-to-help-you-grocery-shop-with-our-new-voice-capabilities-just-say-the-word.
- “AmazonFresh Expands, Further Leveraging Alexa for Everyday ….” 29 Aug. 2019, https://voicebot.ai/2019/08/29/amazonfresh-expands-further-leveraging-alexa-for-everyday-voice-commerce/.
- “Starbucks unveils a virtual assistant that takes your order via ….” 30 Jan. 2017, https://techcrunch.com/2017/01/30/starbucks-unveils-a-virtual-assistant-that-takes-your-order-via-messaging-or-voice/.
- “Nestlé’s GoodNes Skill Pairs Alexa with a Visual Guide to Deliver ….” 14 Aug. 2017, https://developer.amazon.com/blogs/alexa/post/94f557ef-f371-4a25-b528-c9697b4ad088/nestl%C3%A9-s-goodnes-skill-pairs-alexa-with-a-visual-guide-to-deliver-visual-voice-browsing-experience.
- “Biometric Characteristic – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/biometric-characteristic.
- “What is GDPR, the EU’s new data protection law? – GDPR.eu.” https://gdpr.eu/what-is-gdpr/.
- “California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) | State of California ….” https://oag.ca.gov/privacy/ccpa.
- “740 ILCS 14/ Biometric Information Privacy Act..” https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=3004&ChapterID=57.
- “Data Protection 2020 | Laws and Regulations | USA | ICLG.” https://iclg.com/practice-areas/data-protection-laws-and-regulations/usa.
- “Data Disposal Laws – National Conference of State Legislatures.” 4 Jan. 2019, https://www.ncsl.org/research/telecommunications-and-information-technology/data-disposal-laws.aspx.
- “The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act ….” 11 Feb. 2021, https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/privacy-laws-in-canada/the-personal-information-protection-and-electronic-documents-act-pipeda/.
- “Bill summary: Digital Charter Implementation Act, 2020 – Innovation ….” https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/00120.html.
- “Product – Schema.org Type.” https://schema.org/Product.