Voice-enabled tech has been dubbed as a transformative technology. It is creating a new communications channel for both retailers and consumers, and it helps customers receive even quicker, more intelligent responses. The adoption of voice-enabled tech is growing, and its applications are beginning to evolve as well. Consumers could use voice-enabled technology to engage with brands and products in completely new ways, creating an impact on consumer behaviour as we know it.
Three out of every four consumers (75%) are using their mobile voice assistants at home (PwC), and 11.5% of voice technology owners make purchases by voice monthly, which equates to nearly 5.5 million US adults frequently buying items via their smart speakers (Voicebot). These figures suggest that using voice-tech has become a habit for some consumers, and this is a trend that is likely to spread as technology advances even further. So, how should your business adapt?
Firstly, we must ask ourselves how and why voice assistants are being used so frequently. Gaining a better understanding of consumer usage and their perception of voice assistants is important to successfully capitalise on the technology. Organisations must research the strengths and best use cases for voice-enabled technology, as well as what kind of opportunities exist that can leverage growth within the realm of voice tech. Another element is addressing consumer concerns of trust, as some consumers have a lack of trust in new technology, especially ones that may be seen as more intrusive.
Embracing the voice revolution early is what can ultimately separate your organisation from the rest, as it will allow you to get ahead of competitors and stay off the beaten path. As consumers begin to interact with companies through conversation, it will likely change companies’ relationships with their customers, which will consequently create changes within their organisational infrastructure. However, conversational approaches to engaging with consumers have been around for a while.
This is what companies will have to leverage in order to make the most out of the voice-tech revolution. For instance, if your organisation has already built a chatbot for your website, you’re already 80% of the way to building a voice skill, according to SPLICE Software CEO Tara Kelly. This is because you’ve already figured out what kind of questions will likely be asked, and how to answer them, which means a large part of the infrastructure is already in place.
The surge in voice tech has marked a shift in the way people search for information online. According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches in the year 2020, and on top of that, further research from Hitwise suggests that 60% of searches are now performed on a mobile device. The way voice tech is changing the face of SEO is marked by the fact that people interact with search queries differently when they’re posed vocally rather than textually. For instance, voice queries tend to be slightly longer than text searches, and businesses can address this change by incorporating some longer keyword phrases into their SEO practices.
This can help your businesses stand out amongst competitors, especially if you adopt voice search strategies at an earlier stage. If your competitors have a voice search strategy and you don’t, there’s a higher chance that they will be found more often as a result of their competitive adoption of new voice-tech based SEO strategies. At this point, voice tech is still relatively new, so now is the chance for your business to get a head start. By having a strong strategy in place, your business is more likely to appear first in search results which can put you ahead of competitors who have not yet embraced any voice search strategies.
Ultimately, updating your SEO practices in line with voice searches will give your business an opportunity to create a better customer experience. It can help you gain a deeper understanding of how users are interacting with this technology, and this will come in handy when it comes to optimising your site for voice search. This could prove to be essential in finding new ways to engage with your customers.
There are a handful of businesses that are already getting creative with their voice strategies. Creating a Google Action or Alexa Skill allows voice assistants to react to user commands and queries. These actions/skills serve as third-party widgets that can be installed on voice assistants that come with preloaded answers to frequently asked questions, as well as advice for those using their products.
For instance, Tide, the laundry detergent and fabric care company, have their own Alexa Skill that can answer over 200 specific laundry questions. This has helped customers tackle tough stains, gain a better understanding of their laundry machines, and better care for hard-to-wash fabrics. It can even provide image and video content on devices with screens for more in-depth answers. This has enabled for better user experiences and is a great way to leverage the capabilities of voice tech in an effort to provide a more tailored service to customers.
Another relevant example is Domino’s Pizza, who also use Alexa Skills to help their customers order from the comfort of their own couch without having to pick up the phone or even place an order online. This shows how Domino’s are embracing voice technology to further tap into the heightened sense of instant gratification present in today’s consumer landscape. It also shows that they are context-aware with regards to how and when their customers are likely to order food, and knowing your customer first and foremost can be seen as the catalyst to this personalised approach.
So, in order to compete and stay relevant, it is important that your business gets on board with voice technology. Consumer behaviour is constantly changing alongside the constant advancement of technology, meaning that businesses must continue to dwell on the bleeding edge in order to stay competitive. Voice technology has also encouraged businesses to revisit their research into consumer behaviour as a means of optimising their voice strategies to match customer demands. The world of search is continuing to evolve, and the survival of many businesses is highly dependent on being able to adapt to new technologies.
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