You've probably heard the buzz around voice commerce by now, but did you know the global value of voice-assistant e-commerce transactions is expected to amount to almost $20 billion by the end of 2023?
By 2024, it's estimated that nearly half of all searches will be done via voice. This trend is revolutionizing how we shop, and it's time for businesses to pay attention. If you're not optimizing your customer experience for voice search and voice-enabled transactions, you're likely going to miss out on sales from this fast-growing channel.
Here's what you need to know to make sure your business is ready to win at v-commerce.
What is Voice Commerce and How Does It Work?
Voice commerce is the process of using voice commands to search and purchase products online. It utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) and AI to tailor results to a user's past behavior, delivering personalized shopping experiences.
How Does Voice Commerce Work?
Voice commerce integrates ecommerce platforms with voice assistants like Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant. To shop, you simply speak to the voice assistant, describing the type of product you're looking for. The voice assistant will suggest options based on your previous purchases and browsing history.
Voice commerce aims to replicate the convenience of shopping in stores from the comfort of your home. Instead of endless scrolling and clicking, you can search for products hands-free using natural speech. (Doesn't matter if you're doing skincare or fixing your broken pipes!) The voice assistant then learns your preferences over time to provide recommendations tailored to your tastes.
For businesses, voice commerce opens up new opportunities to reach customers through voice search and voice-enabled devices. By optimizing for voice, brands can increase traffic, drive more sales, and build loyalty with the growing population of voice technology users. The companies that embrace this new frontier of ecommerce now will be poised to thrive as voice commerce explodes in popularity over the next few years.
The Rise of Voice Commerce: What Is Driving Adoption
The rise of voice commerce, or shopping via voice assistants, is being fueled by several factors.
First, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home have become hugely popular, with over 50% of households expected to own at least one device by 2024. These smart speakers come equipped with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant that can handle shopping requests. As long as your card details are saved in your accounts, any smart device built with voice function can easily do the job.
Second, voice commerce is convenient and time-saving. You can add items to your cart, checkout, and track orders completely hands-free. No more searching for products on your phone or typing in payment info on a tiny screen. For many, voice is a more natural way to shop that fits easily into their daily routine.
Finally, technology companies and retailers alike want voice commerce to succeed. Tech companies built the voice assistants and smart speakers, so they're promoting new voice-based services to keep users engaged. Retailers recognize voice commerce as an emerging sales channel and shopping habit they need to tap into. Many major retailers already allow you to shop via Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri.
As smart speaker ownership and voice assistant usage grows over the next few years, voice shopping will become second nature for shoppers. Brands should start optimizing their e-commerce experiences for voice search and voice-enabled transactions.
Voice commerce may never replace traditional online shopping, but in 2024 and beyond, it will certainly be a channel that no business can afford to ignore.
Voice Commerce Forecast for 2024 and Key Stats
Voice commerce is poised for major growth in 2024. Here are some key stats and forecasts to know:
- Voice commerce sales are estimated to grow by 54% in 2024. That's huge! As smart speakers and voice assistants get more advanced, consumers are getting increasingly comfortable making purchases through voice commands.
- 22% of consumers currently make purchases directly through their voice-activated smart home devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home. That number will likely rise significantly over the next few years.
- 60% of US consumers already use their smart home voice assistants for daily or weekly purchases of essentials like groceries, household supplies, and pet products. Imagine how that will scale as technology and user adoption improves!
- The types of products bought through voice will also diversify. In 2024, it's likely we'll see more people buying higher-ticket items, gifts, clothing, and entertainment through voice. As trust and convenience increase, the sky's the limit.
- Companies will need to optimize for voice search and voice-based transactions. Having a voice commerce strategy in place will be key, from voice search optimization to smart responses and seamless checkout via voice. Those who adapt will benefit the most from this new shopping behavior.
Voice commerce is changing how we shop and buy in a big way. Start preparing now to take advantage of this fast-growing sales channel in 2024 and beyond. The early adopters may just gain a competitive edge!
Optimizing Your Business for Voice Search in 2024
To prepare for the rise in voice search and commerce in 2024, you'll need to optimize your business in some key ways.
Optimize for Voice SEO
Voice SEO aims to optimize your website content for high rankings in voice search results. This means using natural language and long-form content that reads well when spoken aloud. Focus on using conversational language, active voice, and straightforward syntax. Remove or rephrase complex words and awkward phrasing.
Target Local SEO
Voice search will increase the importance of local SEO. Make sure your business name, address, and phone number (NAP) are prominently listed on your website and Google My Business profile. Also include your business category or industry, hours of operation, and any offerings like delivery or curbside pickup options. Hyper-localize your content by mentioning your city or region by name and highlight what makes you unique to your area.
With voice search, longer, conversational queries are common. Target long-tail keywords in your content, especially in page titles, headings, and the first 100 words. Aim for keywords with 3-5 words for the best results. Also, focus on using synonyms for key terms throughout your content. This helps you rank for a wider range of related voice searches.
Optimize for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are the summarized blurbs that appear at the top of Google's voice search results. To rank for a featured snippet, focus on using keywords in question form, create numbered or bulleted lists, use headers for each main point, and keep sentences short and scannable. Google's algorithms prefer content with this format and structure.
Optimizing for voice search and voice commerce may require an investment of time and resources. Focusing on voice SEO, local SEO, long-tail keywords, and featured snippets are key to improving your visibility and rankings in voice search results.
Successful Voice Commerce Strategies You Can Adopt
To succeed with voice commerce in 2024, you’ll need to optimize your business in some key ways.
Enhance the Customer Experience
Voice commerce allows shoppers to browse, search and buy with simple voice commands. To take full advantage of this, offer a seamless experience by optimizing your site for voice search. Reduce clicks and make the path to purchase as short as possible. Give clear recommendations to guide customers to the right products. Make voice shopping so convenient that customers will keep coming back.
For example, retailers can:
- Provide targeted product recommendations based on customer purchase history and preferences. "Based on your previous orders, I recommend these..."
- Offer guided navigation through related categories. "Would you like information on similar items in the accessories section?"
- Enable one-click reordering of frequently purchased items. "Would you like to reorder the same vitamins you bought last month?"
- Provide proactive notifications of deals and promotions. "Just a reminder, you have a 20% off coupon that expires tomorrow."
- Alert customers when out-of-stock items become available again. "The item you wanted is back in stock if you'd like me to order it for you."
By implementing these types of targeted, personalized experiences optimized for voice, retailers can enhance the convenience and ease of shopping via voice commands, building customer loyalty and repeat purchases over time.
Use Conversational Keywords
When choosing the keywords for your products, consider the actual terms people use when speaking. Unlike search phrases which tend to be brief — around 2-3 words — voice queries often span six to ten words in length.
For example, people may say:
- "I want to buy a new pair of running shoes for women" instead of "women's running shoes"
- "What kind of blenders do you have that are good for smoothies?" instead of "smoothie blenders"
- "Where can I find some comfortable yoga pants?" instead of "yoga pants"
You'll want to consider these types of longer, conversational phrases when optimizing your product pages, descriptions, titles and other content for voice search. Analyze the actual phrases people use when speaking about your products and services to identify the most important keywords.
Enhance Product Content
To enhance the product content, ensure that it is succinct, well structured and provides concrete examples. Keep descriptions under 400 words. If your content is too wordy, the voice assistant may condense it, potentially diminishing its clarity. Content that is poorly organized could create an unsatisfactory shopping experience for your customers.
For example, provide:
- Short, simple titles and headings
- Bullet points highlighting key features
- Clear descriptions of materials, sizes and specifications
- Examples of real customers successfully using the product
- Long paragraphs of text
- Ambiguous or vague descriptions
- Irrelevant details
Concise, well-illustrated product content will allow customers to easily understand what your products are, how they work and whether they will meet their needs — improving the voice shopping experience.
Design for Repeat Orders
Prioritizing repeat orders can optimize voice commerce success because once customer data is stored, repeat orders through voice are exceptionally fast, especially for consumables. Providing discounts for recurrent voice orders may motivate this trend even more.
For example, you can:
- Offer customers automatic reorder options for essential products they purchase regularly. Voice assistants can prompt customers: "Would you like me to automatically reorder your laundry detergent when you get low?"
- Set up subscription programs for consumables where customers can sign up to receive regular shipments of products like coffee, pet food, diapers, etc. The voice assistant can remind subscribers when their next shipment is scheduled.
- Give loyalty discounts for recurrent voice orders of 5%, 10% or more to reward repeat customers and incentivize this behavior. The voice assistant can notify customers of their discount on the next order.
- Provide exclusive deals and promotions that are only available through voice ordering. Customers may be more likely to set up automatic reorder or subscription programs if they have access to special offers.
By implementing these types of initiatives, your voice commerce customers can enjoy fast, simple and discounted recurrent orders for the products they need on a regular basis. The convenience of voice powered automatic reorder and subscription options is a win-win for both customers and your business!
Analyze the Data
Pay close attention to how customers interact with your brand using voice assistants. See what products or content they search for most, then track how many people make purchases through voice and on which devices. Use this data to make improvements to your voice strategy and better serve your customers. The more you learn about your audience, the better you can tailor the experience to their needs.
For example, you may find that customers often ask for your best-selling product or top brand. In response, you can create targeted promotions that highlight this product when customers ask about it. Customers may also commonly search for specific product features. You can then optimize your product descriptions to emphasize these key features that matter most to customers.
By analyzing metrics like the number of voice purchases, which devices they come from, and the average order value, you can identify areas of opportunity. If you see that voice orders from smart speakers are lower than from smartphones, for instance, you may need to optimize your skills for those devices. If the average order value for voice purchases is lower, you could test bundling promotions or targeted upsell offers.
2024 is coming up. As a business, you need to start planning and preparing now to take advantage of this opportunity.
This way of shopping might still be unfamiliar to many, but voice commerce will soon be an everyday reality. Start preparing earlier and you'll reap the rewards later!