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1. What is voice commerce?

What is voice commerce? How your business can benefit

We are living in an era where we are working towards simplifying everything, from searching the internet to ordering our favorite pizza without touching the keyboard—thanks to voice commerce. Gaining the spotlight in recent years, voice commerce is rewriting the rules of customer engagement and marketplace competition.

Through this article, let's understand its functionalities, benefits, and how you can implement voice commerce into your business effectively.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Voice commerce, or v-commerce, uses AI-powered voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, smart speakers, and Apple's Siri for conducting transactions, utilizing natural language processing for a hands-free shopping experience.

  • Emerging from early voice recognition technologies, it is now integral in retail due to advancements in AI, smart devices, and features like voice recognition, natural language processing, and task execution.

  • Voice search offers an improved shopping experience, personalized customer engagement, greater accessibility, and the potential for increased sales and customer loyalty.

  • Voice search involves understanding user behavior, designing voice user interfaces, optimizing for voice search, and adapting to changing consumer behaviors and preferences.

  • Future developments focus on more sophisticated AI and NLP for enhanced experiences, with challenges in privacy, accuracy, and consumer adoption to be addressed.

What is voice commerce?

Voice commerce, often abbreviated as "v-commerce," refers to transactions conducted by interacting with voice-assistant devices. Voice commerce transactions can be as simple as ordering your favorite takeaway or as complex as purchasing a new outfit with just your voice. 

As artificial intelligence improves and voice recognition technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, v-commerce is revolutionizing the ecommerce landscape. It reduces the need for traditional touchpoints such as a keyboard or touchscreen, offering a hands-free, convenient shopping experience to the customers. Now, let's understand how voice commerce works.

How does voice commerce work?

Voice commerce technology operates through AI-powered voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple's Siri. When a user issues a voice command like "order pizza" or "buy toothpaste," the voice assistant processes this input, searches the web or connected platforms for relevant results, and initiates the ordering process. 

The essential part of this is the natural language processing (NLP) ability of these tools to understand and respond accurately to customer queries. Moreover, they memorize purchasing preferences, enabling seamless transactions. That said, v-commerce offers an intuitive and hands-free shopping experience that's transforming ecommerce.

Historical evolution of voice commerce

Since its inception, voice commerce has been on a transformative journey. Emerging from the realm of voice recognition technologies in the early 2000s, it has now become an integral tool in the retail sector. Driven by advances in AI and natural language processing, voice commerce was given wings, thanks to smart devices like Amazon's Alexa and Google Home, leaving an indelible footprint on the evolving digital landscape.

Understanding voice-activated devices and AI assistants


Voice-activated devices, such as Amazon's Alexa or any other smart speaker, Google's Assistant, and Apple's Siri, harness the power of artificial intelligence to process spoken language. Coupled with AI assistants, they perform varied tasks, offering convenience to the user. Key features include: 

  • Voice recognition: This voice technology adapts to the user's voice and accents, improving accuracy over time.

  • Natural language processing: Voice commerce relies on NLP and processes speech into actionable tasks.

  • Task execution: Users can enable voice commerce to perform tasks such as online shopping, setting reminders, or locating information.

  • Machine learning: Lauded for situational adaptability, the system learns from interactions, constantly refining its response. This integration of technology makes voice commerce possible and increasingly prevalent today.

The rise of voice search in ecommerce

Voice search is rapidly gaining popularity in the ecommerce sector due to its convenience and ease of use. It not only simplifies product search for users, but it also provides a new level of accessibility. Users can instruct their devices to search for a product or service, eliminating the need for typing or scrolling through numerous options. The rise of voice search marks a shift towards a more interactive and personalized consumer experience.

Benefits of voice commerce for businesses


In the fast-paced world of ecommerce, maintaining a competitive edge is crucial. Implementing voice commerce can serve to gain that edge, offering a unique way to interact and transact with consumers. It has become a game changer as it empowers consumers, making their shopping experience more convenient and engaging. Let's look at some of its main benefits.

1. Improved shopping experience 

Voice commerce shopping enables customers to browse, select, and purchase products using voice commands, making the buying process easier and faster. This round-the-clock availability extends the accessibility of your services to your customers, catering to their needs anytime and anywhere. 

2. Personalized customer engagement 

Personalization is key to fostering strong customer relationships and voice commerce excels in this. AI-powered voice assistants can learn and understand the preferences and shopping behavior of each customer, driving a highly personalized shopping experience. This deepens customer loyalty and can lead to increased sales. 

3. Accessibility 

Voice commerce brings a new level of convenience for people with visual impairments or physical disabilities. This technology is inclusive and caters to a segment that would otherwise face challenges with traditional online shopping methods. 

4. Increased sales 

With the convenience and personalization that voice commerce offers, it should come as no surprise that businesses are seeing an increase in sales. Making the shopping experience highly intuitive and user-friendly, voice commerce can prompt impulsive buying decisions, thereby leading to higher conversion rates and, ultimately, greater profit margins

Voice commerce can give your business a competitive edge. It can revolutionize the customer experience, drive sales, and make your online store more accessible.

How to integrate voice commerce into your ecommerce strategy


Integrating voice commerce into your ecommerce strategy can yield substantial benefits. Here are a few tips:

  • Research: Begin by understanding user behavior, their familiarity with voice command features, and their value proposition for your product or service.

  • Blueprinting voice user interface (VUI): Design the conversation flow and the kind of responses the AI would give. Ensure these responses align with your brand's tone and voice.

  • Develop: Embed speech recognition and natural language understanding characteristics into your ecommerce platform.

  • Optimize: Just as SEO is crucial for visibility in text-based searches, Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is key for voice search. Incorporate long-tail keywords and natural language into your voice commerce SEO strategy.

  • Collaborate: Incorporating voice commerce may also require a partnership with voice assistant platform holders like Google, Amazon, or Apple.

  • Test & iterate: Continually test the VUI, review user feedback, and make necessary adjustments to better cater to user needs.

The goal is to seamlessly integrate voice commerce to not only complement but also enhance your existing ecommerce operation, providing a frictionless, engaging customer experience.

Adapting to consumer behavior with voice commerce

Consumer behavior is ever-evolving, shaped by technological advances. Adopting voice commerce means adapting your business to cater to this evolving landscape. Here's how: 

  • Understanding your customers: Analyze the demographics, preferences, and habits of your customers. This will help you determine the potential adoption and use of voice-activated shopping.

  • Integrate voice-based features: Introduce voice search, recommendations, and transactions. This seamless integration would offer your customers a choice of using voice commands.

  • Train and adapt: Regularly update voice systems with relevant data, assisting them to respond to customer demands effectively while improving over time.

Optimizing user experience with voice command customization

Voice command customization is crucial to enhance user experiences. By allowing consumers to make purchases using natural language, businesses can:

  • Simplify navigation: Users verbally state their needs, reducing time spent on manual searches.

  • Increase user engagement: Interactive voice commands can create a more engaging shopping experience.

  • Boost conversions: Tailored voice prompts can guide users strategically through purchase funnels.

  • Improve customer service: Smart devices can offer personalized assistance, mimic human-like interactions, and expedite order tracking. These bespoke features not only offer seamless shopping experiences but also foster customer loyalty.

Measuring the impact of voice commerce on sales


Measuring the impact of voice commerce on your business's sales involves a combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis. A few potential methods include: 

  • Tracking the number of voice-activated sales: This gives you a direct measure of the impact.

  • Looking at changes in customer behavior: Are customers buying more frequently or making larger orders with the ease of voice commerce?

  • Surveying customer satisfaction: Feedback about users' voice shopping experience can help gauge its overall effectiveness.

  • Analyzing saved time and resources: With streamlined sales, your business can potentially decrease operational costs.

Voice commerce challenges and solutions

While the benefits of voice commerce are clear, it's equally crucial to recognize that it isn't without its challenges. Businesses interested in adopting this technology must be aware of potential obstacles that may arise, as well as the innovative solutions that can help overcome them.

1. Potential privacy concerns 

Since voice commerce technologies often require access to personal and potentially sensitive information, privacy concerns are a prominent challenge. Consumers may hesitate to engage if there are doubts about how their data is used and protected. 

The solution lies in developing solid privacy policies and clear communication strategies that reassure users about data security and privacy protection. Employing encryption and other robust security measures can assist in bolstering consumer trust. 

2. Accuracy and misinterpretation 

Another fundamental challenge with voice commerce is the potential for misunderstanding voice commands. Accuracy problems can lead to incorrect orders or fillings, affecting the customer experience negatively. 

Refinement of voice recognition technologies is the key solution here, focusing on improving natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, increasing machine learning models' effectiveness, and enhancing the software’s ability to understand accents and dialects. 

3. Navigating the consumer adoption journey 

Changing traditional shopping habits to rely on voice commands requires a shift in consumer behavior. Businesses must educate their users about the advantages of voice commerce, making the transition as seamless as possible. Incorporate demo videos or tutorials, provide helpful guides, and facilitate customer interaction through social media platforms or webinars to guide users on using voice-activated shopping. 

While voice commerce brings intriguing possibilities, it's necessary to anticipate these challenges and plan for them accordingly. By doing so, businesses can enjoy the benefits of this technology while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction and trust.

Future trends and developments in voice commerce

Looking ahead, advances in artificial intelligence and natural language processing will continue to usher in new developments in voice commerce. Consumers can anticipate smoother and more intuitive voice-activated shopping experiences, emphasizing personalization and proactive assistance. 

For businesses, evolving technology will bring about more sophisticated tools for voice-based customer analytics and insights, paving the way for innovative sales strategies and promotional campaigns. The journey towards seamless, conversational commerce is only set to accelerate, heralding a future where voice interactions are a key component of commercial transactions.

Leveraging Gelato’s platform for efficient order fulfillment

When exploring voice commerce, a prime ally you can count on is Gelato's platform. With a focus on print on demand, it offers an array of customizable products, such as t-shirts, mugs, phone cases, wall art, photo books, etc. The power of voice commerce combined with Gelato's vast product catalog can reshape your customer's buying journey, making it more intuitive and less time-consuming. 

Gelato's platform bridges the gap between user commands and efficient order fulfillment seamlessly. Sign up for Gelato to get started.

Voice commerce FAQs

How many people use voice commerce?

Usage estimates vary, but a study by Voicebot.ai claims that approximately 83.1 million people in the U.S. — 31.7% of the online population — utilized voice commerce in 2020. This represents a rapid growth from previous years, indicating the growing popularity of voice-activated shopping.

What retailers are using voice commerce?

Leading retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Domino's have joined the voice commerce trend. They're leveraging voice-enabled devices, like Amazon Echo and Google Home, to facilitate voice-driven shopping, offering an efficient, hands-free shopping experience to their customers.

What is an example of voice shopping?

An example of voice shopping is when a customer uses a voice-activated device like Google Home or Amazon Alexa to order a product. For instance, uttering "Hey Alexa, order a large pepperoni pizza from Domino's" will initiate a transaction without the need for any manual input.


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