Innovations in Voice Tech Deliver Better Shopping & Cultural Experiences
Rebecca Nathenson, director of product management, Google Assistant Developer Platform at Google, leads the team that creates impressive visual and voice experiences for Google Assistant. Rebecca interviewed Dominique Essig, VP of conversational commerce at Store No8, the incubation arm of Walmart, during last week’s VOICE Talks. The two discussed how Walmart’s Store No8 is hyper-focused on improving customers’ daily lives and experiences, in-store and online. Naturally, their chat centered around how conversational technologies are making an impact -- and in a big way.
The future of e-commerce is voice-enabled
In the interview, Rebecca Nathenson asks, “What is most exciting about voice in the future?”
“First and foremost, how do we help our customers? So as we said, you know, the past year and a half have been incredibly challenging, and what we are focused on is how do we help our busy families manage the complexity of their day-to-day lives? On average, people in the United States spend two hours a day kind of managing their household needs. That's everything from food prep, cleaning, household management -- that's incredibly overwhelming. Our customers are seeking that to make their lives easier.”
According to Essig, that mission is straightforward: “build conversational experiences that enable our customers to talk to Walmart anywhere, anytime so they can shop and get the things that they need.”
View the video clip to learn the four ways Walmart is focused on this mission:
Why are multimodal experiences key in e-commerce?
Lauren Madsen, UX Designer at RAIN, a voice, and conversational AI pioneer, describes how multimodal experiences are key to establishing trust with e-commerce customers. The company helps brands strategize and build roadmaps for the conversational economy.
Points of sale have evolved from cash, to paper checks, to plastic cards, to only needing a phone, and now many people only use their voice to make daily purchases. But “multimodal experiences” help ensure an added layer of trust, especially for larger purchases.
“So what does that mean for us as designers? We need to make sure that we figure out how to build that trust,” says Madsen. In fact, RAIN recently published “Why Voice Commerce Won’t Take Off Until Our Eyes Get Involved, Too,” highlighting that voice-only experiences are fantastic for things like instant shopping but not quite ready for major purchases.
“I don't have an issue asking a voice assistant to order my favorite pizza, but you can be pretty sure that there's not going to be anytime soon that I'll be using only my voice and my ears to shop for something like a car. And that's because shopping for a car represents a much higher risk than ordering my favorite pizza,” she says.
According to Madsen, we need to figure out how to build that trust. For now, major purchases also require visual confirmation. This includes the need to “see it,” “say it,” and “secure it.”
Still wondering how to celebrate Hispanic History Month?
This month’s VOICE Talks celebrated Hispanic History Month. Rodrigo Cervantes, a journalist and a researcher, and Julio Cisneros, a professor at Walter Cronkite school of journalism at ASU, worked with Google Assistant to create “Today in Latino History.” The project allows anyone - in English and Spanish - to ask Google to provide details about crucial moments that happened that day. Rather than just being dedicated to Hispanic History Month, taking place now through October 15, the action is available all year long.
The action highlights how Hispanic and Latino cultures impact so many people and places and highlights the key historical moments.
According to Rodrigo Cervantes that includes “Artists like Diego Rivera, that I've always been a big, big fan since I was a kid, and also amazing and talented writers that are also social leaders in feminism, or leaders in the indigenous movements, but also in our pre-colonial history.” There are also fantastic characters like Joan Baez, who’s dad also happened to be a remarkable scientist.
Tune in to watch the September VOICE Talks on demand, and subscribe to receive future episode updates.