Voice search in eCommerce – future or sci-fi?

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The concept of having a conversation with computers is not new. It has been imagined by visionary sci-fi authors years ago with humans talking to smart machines naturally and even with some touches of humor. For example: computers in Star Trek or droids of Star Wars. We were all amazed by these dreamy interactions at the time.

However, these sci-fi dreams, now become reality with voice recognition technologies which are the next big thing. Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Siri, Cortana, Samsung Bixby are voice-based products that recognize human speech and generate the most convenient results for the users by offering an alternative experience.

So, it is not a surprise that voice recognition technologies are changing how we interact with machines and how they facilitate our lives. 

Voice search usage has been embraced by users and becomes a new legitimate channel of interfacing with technology. According to The Consumer Adaptation Report, published by Voicify, the number of U.S. adults who have access to voice assistants has grown last year from 47.3 million to 66.4 million which means more than one-in-four U.S. adults have access to this solution. 

At the same time, these people are not just using voice assistants to ask for directions or check the weather. Study shows that clients are looking for product information with voice search. A survey conducted by voicebot.ai found that  35.2% of consumers prefer ordering products via voice search. Additionally, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants, the volume of voice-searched sales is expected to grow from $2 billion today to $40 billion in 2022 (source).

Should E-Commerce Owners Invest in Voice Search?

Consumers are frequently searching for new ways to reach the right information more comfortably. When a shopper is searching for a product or preparing to make a purchase, a small window of opportunity opens. The company which can deliver the fastest and the most suitable message will be the winner in that race as it was with all the other media before. 

That’s why, when it comes to online shopping, voice search is a perfect match!

Imagine a scenario where a shopper asks Siri “women shoes near Camden Town” and she gets the best results and is able to reach the store in minutes. Or, let’s take it to the next level and you tell “Alexa, order my daily grocery” and you get your needs in a couple of hours at your door.

So, in a nutshell, the use of natural language to interact with search queries is growing day by day. These striking facts point to a crucial message; voice search in e-commerce will be the game-changer in the future! 

E-commerce companies need to be aimed at accommodating to specific needs of people using voice, especially how they use language, to ensure their online store is ready for the voice search hype!

SEO expert Brian Dean of Backlinko, who researched thousands of voice searches, addressed the importance of this trend and stated: “Voice searches are replacing traditional searches, (…) and if you’re not optimizing for them, you’re going to miss out on a lot of Google traffic.”

Moreover, when researching the topic of voice search technology in e-commerce companies, we concluded that online businesses, in general, are investing in voice search. They are optimizing their SEO strategies to respond to the rising star of the current online era – voice-based searches.

According to The CMO Performance Report 2018 which was developed in cooperation with 150 CMOs of consumer brands that exude a revenue of £150 million, 75% of respondents said their brand will prioritize voice-led search and change its SEO strategy. Of those, 43% said they would apply a voice search approach within the next 12 months. 

Voice Search Will Disrupt E-Commerce

It is now a reality shift! 

It becomes a part of consumers’ lives and changes their everyday behavior. In 1-2 years, the shopping journey may completely change and the online shoppers may use their voice while watching TV to search for things they see on screen.

It also opens new fields for e-commerce marketing managers. The ones who adopt innovative marketing campaigns mixed with voice search will disrupt the industry and be ahead of the competition.

Few tactics before embracing the voice search implementation;

  • Accept your online store as a customer success manager. What are the frequently asked questions towards your products? What do online shoppers ask about your rivals? How do you interact with your customers in your physical store? Prepare your descriptions to answer shoppers in a natural language. If you can give the feeling of natural speech, you can adapt your content to be featured in voice searches and capture the first positions.
  • Optimize the online store’s contents (it can be a blog, FAQ, product description,…) to give the most convenient answers to common questions. By doing that, you’ll increase the chances of being a featured-snippet which is also named position 0. It is a proven fact that featured-snippets supports voice searches.