The Keys to a Successful Voice Shopping Experience
It's 2022, and I think it's safe to say that most of us expect to communicate with a vocal assistant for one thing or another. Whether to turn on the lights in your home or make a customer service call, vocal assistants are part of our lives now.
As we move forward, AI-powered voice tech will grow in complexity, sophistication, and convenience as it becomes part of a growing number of experiences. One of those experiences is voice shopping - shopping with your voice. While voice shopping is with us now, it's poised to grow massively in the coming years - as long as we get it right. Voice shopping is different from querying a vocal assistant for directions or the list of movies playing at the nearest cinema. Voice shopping is a unique experience that comes with its set of challenges and benefits.
This post provides tips that can help you create more intuitive and valuable experiences when designing a voice shopping experience.
This point will be especially true for brands and organizations just getting into AI-powered voice tech in general and voice shopping specifically. It's good to start with customer service before jumping on the voice shopping bandwagon.
Using a chatbot to answer customer service inquiries is simpler to implement and provides an excellent gateway to voice shopping. Brands and retailers can even use third-party solutions to enable AI features to their customer service platform, like the ability to answer product questions from customers, track orders, and initiate returns through AI-powered chatbots.
And you will learn a lot about your customer base this way - and not just what they want, like, or dislike. You'll also understand how they interact with chatbots, the words used, the sentence structure, the tone, the urgency, etc. That data will help you design a better voice shopping experience.
And that brings us to our next point…
Use the Data
For better or for worse, AI-powered voice tech requires and collects a lot of data on its users. And while you should take reasonable steps to respect your customers' privacy, that doesn't mean you shouldn't use that data to provide better customer experiences.
The data you collect on your customers is critical for a successful voice shopping experience. And while we probably haven't reached the point where one would be comfortable purchasing a car over a pair of smart speakers, there are other, smaller, and lower-risk items that fit the bill perfectly. And on top of that, many of these items need to be reordered on a regular basis. We're talking about consumable items, such as food, cosmetics, or cleaning products. These items are perfect for voice shopping because they're low risk, usually inexpensive, and don't need to be seen to be purchased - odds are you already know what that bottle of shampoo looks like.
And that's one of the critical ways your customer data can enhance the voice shopping experience: repeat purchases and purchases for "special" days, like birthdays, mother's day, Easter, etc. These represent opportunities to bolster voice shopping as a natural and positive experience. Many large retailers already use voice assistants to remind their customers that it may be time to reorder specific products. Many of them also use predictive retailing to provide reminders to order gifts for upcoming special days.
Protect your customer data, but leverage it.
Optimize your content - their keywords & descriptions
If you're going to offer voice shopping experiences to your customers, you need to make sure it's at least as smooth as other ways of making purchases, if not more so. But because voice shoppers can't rely on visuals to answer the questions they may have, you need to optimize your copy and its keywords.
Regarding keywords, voice queries tend to be more action-oriented than text searches. Whereas one might enter "bars in New York" in a text-based search engine, a voice assistant user might ask, "Where can I get a martini in New York?" On top of being more action-oriented, voice queries are naturally wordier. So you should include a more significant number of keywords while optimizing them to reflect how people talk.
As far as product descriptions go, they should also be tailored to voice shopping. If your descriptions are too short, a query for "peanut butter," for example, over a voice assistant, could result in the device reading off all of the different brands available at a given shop, search result by search result, without providing details on each one. That won't be a positive shopping experience, and it's probably not what your customers are looking for.
On the other hand, if your descriptions are too wordy, the device will end up selecting certain points from the description (typically those that can be spoken within a 10 to 20-second timeframe) and spit them out like bullet points, which, as above, results in a poor shopping experience.
Make sure your product descriptions are well-organized in short segments of conversational text. That will foster a smooth and natural voice shopping experience, in which your customers get the answers they need quickly and purchase with confidence. And confidence is key when normalizing new tech.
So there you have it. Those are our top tips for a successful voice shopping experience. There is, of course, more to it than the tips outlined in this post. But they represent a good starting point for organizations wanting to move into the voice shopping space.
It's the right time to start talking about voice shopping because the future is vocal.
Modev was founded in 2008 on the simple belief that human connection is vital in the era of digital transformation. Today, Modev produces market-leading events such as VOICE Global, presented by Google Assistant, VOICE Summit, and the award-winning VOICE Talks internet talk show. Modev staff, better known as "Modevators," include community building and transformation experts worldwide. To learn more about Modev, and the breadth of events offered live and virtually, visit modev.com.