Why Voice Commerce is the Next Wave

By Joseph Brannon 3 min read

Online commerce is experiencing a seismic shift. Even as retailers scamper to keep up with the omnichannel wave, a new fault line is emerging that’s beginning to change the rules of the game forever – voice commerce.

Voice assistants are redefining how brands and consumers interact with each other. A recent survey revealed that a large number of customers are already using voice-enabled devices to make online purchases. The trend is significant, considering voice assistants have conventionally been used mainly for streaming music and online search.

The stats tell the story – There are currently over 450 million voice-enabled devices in the U.S. alone (this figure is estimated to grow by 95% in the next 4 years) and over 51% of consumers are actively using voice assistants. According to Gartner, nearly one-third of web browsing will be conducted without a screen by 2020.

What makes voice assistants so popular? A recent survey reported that a majority of customers find voice enabled web-usage more convenient. Other reasons include the ability to multitask and automation of routine shopping tasks. It’s obvious that retailers and brands are taking note.

Retailers are investing heavily in voice assistant integrations and voice search capabilities are being rapidly adopted by e-commerce businesses. How can your organization implement a robust conversational commerce strategy?

Here are 3 ways you can make voice commerce work for your business.

1. Search Engine Optimization is the Key

Optimized content is the first step to effective voice commerce integration. The good news is, spoken search adheres to many of the core principles of traditional SEO, and the optimization tactics used in text-based search apply identically to voice search. You can use schema mark-up to structure data and provide detailed product information to potential buyers. By identifying content elements and tags through schema, search engines can identify the relationship in the given context to deliver a seamless voice commerce experience. Revising your sitemap is another effective way to increase your chances of showing up on search results. For spoken search optimization, e-commerce retailers must smartly attune for voice-based queries rather than just focusing on traditional keyword search.

2. Adapt for Natural Language Search Queries

Make sure you adapt your on-site search for Natural Language Search Queries. In order to break down human-level, conversational audio inputs which requires complex algorithms, you will need to leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP). Retailers are turning to machine learning to deliver better search results and you can leverage AI-driven unified engagement platforms to help drive richer, more relevant customer engagement by redefining site search and searching conversationally.

3. Add Natural Language to Website Content

Don’t forget to optimize your ecommerce site’s content by adding natural language. Voice searches usually tend to be long-tail keywords and more voice-friendly and often include question with a preference for high local search results. Thus, from product titles to product descriptions, the focus must shift from solely focusing on the text-based google search engine to natural language. Consider adding a Q&A page using phrases and keywords that people actually use during their conversation.

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About the Author

At TA Digital, Joe Brannon, develops strategies for growth, innovation, and execute commerce and omnichannel solutions for clients using digital technology to enhance the customer experience. For more than 15 years Joe has been a digital transformational thought and implementation leader for large multi-national brands across the B2C, B2B, Retail and Customer Care Center landscape. Joe has held various digital technology leadership and consulting positions at Starbucks, Oakley, Billabong, The Irvine Company, and State Street. In academia, Joe has been teaching business and project management for almost a decade. He holds a master’s degree with an emphasis in Technology Management and a B.S. Business Systems degree from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

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TA Digital is the only global boutique agency that delivers the “best of both worlds” to clients seeking to achieve organizational success through digital transformation. Unlike smaller, regional agencies that lack the ability to scale or large organizations that succumb to a quantity-over-quality approach, we offer resource diversity while also providing meticulous attention to the details that enable strategic success.

Over the past 20 years, TA Digital has positioned clients to achieve digital maturity by focusing on data, customer-centricity and exponential return on investment; by melding exceptional user experience and data-driven methodologies with artificial intelligence and machine learning, we enable digital transformations that intelligently build upon the strategies we set into motion. We are known as a global leader that assists marketing and technology executives in understanding the digital ecosystem while identifying cultural and operational gaps within their business – ultimately ushering organizations toward a more mature model and profitable digital landscape.

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