Voice is a relatively new marketing channel. We are just beginning to understand its full potential. Through voice assistants like Siri, Bixby, Google, and Amazon’s Alexa, e-commerce merchants gain access to an invaluable tool that positively impacts every aspect of their business. In 2020, we saw the voice commerce channel enjoy exponential growth. More end-users than ever took advantage of the ease and convenience that voice-driven services provide. Headed into 2021, the sky’s the limit. Nearly 24 million people in the US alone are expected to make purchases using voice assistants this year. The future of voice commerce looks exciting. Now is the perfect time to add the voice commerce channel to your e-commerce repertoire. Let’s take a look at the concrete ways that voice assistants can enhance your customers’ shopping experience.
What Constitutes Voice Commerce?
Voice commerce is a natural extension of e-commerce. It harnesses assistants like Google, Siri, and Alexa to help online shoppers complete their transactions quickly, conveniently, and 100% hands-free. With more than 90,000 voice-enabled devices in the US alone —60,000 of which are compatible with Alexa— the voice commerce channel has prolific reach.
Voice commerce is an end-to-end solution. It helps customers with everything from pre-sale questions to post-sale follow-up. Voice commerce provides e-merchants with a fully-realized channel right out of the box.
The Convenience of Voice Commerce
What makes voice commerce such a powerful part of the consumer experience?
For the customers, the ease of the overall experience. It gives consumers a way to shop their favorite merchants and brands completely hands-free. The result is a high-quality experience similar to 1-on-1 sales and customer service at a brick-and-mortar store. Using a voice commerce storefront like Rep via an Alexa-enabled device allows the customer to browse your products, receive information on them, get additional suggestions, and even collect reviews from across the web to comparison shop. At check out customers can complete the order using a one-step process. Their billing and shipping information pulls directly from their Amazon account. For the busy millennial balancing family and work, hands-free voice shopping is a godsend.
For merchants, however, the benefits are much more profound. Using a tailor-made voice app with custom Alexa skills, merchants can offload a significant portion of their workload onto the voice platform. You turn over custody of your sales funnel and lead-qualification process to the voice app.
Not only can the voice app answer simple customer questions, but it can also help you efficiently qualify leads and move them down your funnel. The voice app gathers crucial customer information quickly and naturally. Voice apps make an incredible impact during the awareness and consideration phases of the customer journey.
As an additional benefit, if your e-commerce operation maintains a physical outlet or brick-and-mortar fulfillment options, the voice app can help steer customers with product and store locator services. The bottom line from a marketing perspective? Voice commerce with Alexa gives you extra channels for qualifying and converting shoppers into paying, repeat customers.
Beyond Utility: Fun and Engaging
oice apps have emerged as an incredible marketing tool. But there’s more to the picture than just utility.
The voice commerce channel holds a vast yet unmeasured level of potential for consumer engagement. Voice assistants can help drive your sales process and move leads efficiently through your sales funnel, but they can also boost your brand’s visibility by encouraging social media engagement from customers.
New, unique Alexa skills are continuously hitting the Amazon Marketplace. Alexa helps you with productivity by helping you manage your household and personal finances. It also opens people up to new forms of entertainment and social opportunities. One of the biggest advantages that Alexa, and other voice assistants Siri, bring to the table is the ability to send curated content directly to your customer base. From news to weather, to specialized podcasts, the ever-expanding library of Alexa skills provides e-merchants with an unprecedented level of penetration directly into core customer demographics.
Voice Assistants for Delivering Branded Content
Dr. Teri Fisher, creator and host of the podcast “Voice in Canada Briefcast,” a show that explores the versatility of amazon’s evolving voice apps, found a way to leverage one particular Alexa skill. It is known as the flash briefing. Flash briefings are quick, curated updates that allow a marketer to deliver tailor-made content to their end-users. Dr. Fisher took the concept of the flash briefing and used it to novel effect. He gamified his updates with a daily contest that required listeners to tune in daily. In turn, he made all that content point back to his social media.
Rep offers a similar innovation. Our new service, called “Voice Followers”, lets consumers subscribe to brand-specific content through voice. The process is simple and customer-oriented. With Voice Followers, customers get weekly content like recipes, podcasts, and blogs delivered via voice assistant. All they have to do is say “Alexa, ask brand X for content Y” to initiate their subscription.
Alexa skills like the flash briefing and Voice Followers are one of many marketing tools that a voice app can employ. The true result is understanding the incredible engagement opportunities that voice commerce apps, like the Rep Platform, can provide. Not only can you streamline your sales process, making it quick and convenient for your customers, but you can also make your marketing efforts reflexive, always pointing back to your social media presence in an attempt to boost customer engagement.
Voice Commerce’s Future Potential
At its heart, voice is a quality-of-life upgrade for the e-commerce channel. It provides a frictionless sales process directly tailored toward the busy life of the modern working adult. It is also an enhancement from the e-commerce merchant’s point of view, by helping pre-qualify quality leads and moving them through your sales process seamlessly. Voice is a channel that’s comfortable and easy to engage with.
Voice searches and their utility are increasing every day. Soon enough, the voice will become the dominant way to browse the web. New and exciting voice apps, like the Rep platform, are helping to usher in a new wave of online commerce with the quality of the customer experience at the center. For more information about the power, advantage, and versatility of the Rep platform, please contact us today.