Is Voice Commerce the New Version of eCommerce?

From pressing buttons to touch and finally to voice and digital assistants, the way we engage with devices has changed drastically. In a survey conducted in 2021, 72% of the participants were using voice search, and its popularity has spread to the world of eCommerce too.

Today, it is estimated that around 45 million customers use voice search for online shopping. With the voice commerce market estimated to grow to USD 55.68 billion from 2022 to 2026 at a CAGR of 24%, it behooves retailers to start optimizing their voice search strategy or risk being left behind.

So, What Is Voice Commerce?

As the name suggests, voice commerce is all about using your voice to shop for products from online stores. It relies on technologies like Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to let customers use voice commands to search for and buy products online.

Unlike the traditional method where users had to type in a query in the search box, they can now use voice assistants on their smartphones or other voice assistants to search for products and services.

Using Voice Search

The Evolution Of Voice Commerce & Its Workings

Voice commerce is a product of years-long research and development, the history of which can be traced back to 1952.  Bell Laboratories created the first voice recognition device called ‘Audrey’ that could understand digits spoken by users. The following years witnessed a major leap in the domain of voice recognition. By 1990 the first speech recognition software was launched.

Although the voice recognition programs hit a stall in the early 2000s, it was revived in 2010 when Google launched personalized voice recognition to search on Android phones. As of 2020, the speech and voice recognition market size is valued at USD 9.4 billion and it is estimated to reach USD 28.1 billion by 2027.

Technologies Powering Voice Commerce

1. Next-Gen Speech Recognition

The significant investments made in speech recognition by tech giants like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft, along with other AI companies, have led to rapid advancements in natural language understanding (NLU).

The result? Today there are deep neural network-powered speech recognition and voice technology platforms that can interpret speech despite background noise, grammar choices, or differences in tone or accent between speakers.

2. Neural Text to Speech

With text-to-speech systems that use deep neural networks, neural text-to-speech has now become more natural, reducing listening fatigue caused during human interaction with AI systems. This also ensures that companies get to bring a human touch to their sales and marketing efforts.

3. Intent Prediction

Intent prediction is another prominent technology that voice commerce is greatly dependent on. Backed by intelligent intent prediction networks that take user-permitted contextual information and predict the likely intents, intent predictions help businesses predict their customers’ next move before they complete their purchase. This ensures that companies have a better understanding of user behaviors.

What Does Voice Commerce Mean for Retailers?

A survey conducted by Statista found that over two billion people shopped online in 2020, and e-retail sales surpassed USD 4.2 trillion worldwide. From clothes to electronics to books to other goods and services, online stores have cornered the market. But the winds of change have hit the industry. eCommerce, which was once the hottest trend in the market, has now begun its evolution to voice commerce.

If you’re a retailer and you’re not preparing for this significant trend of e-commerce going toward v-commerce, then you won’t be around.

Greg Melich, Senior Retail Analyst, MoffettNathanson

As of 2020, around 4.2 billion voice assistants were used worldwide, and this number is expected to cross 8.4 billion by 2024. And out of these 4.2 billion, research shows that 51% of consumers use voice search to research products, while 22% make purchases with a voice command.

Number of digital voice assistants in use worldwide from 2019 to 2024 (in billions)*
Source: Statista

eCommerce giants across the globe have realized the untapped potential of voice commerce and have invested billions of dollars in the technology. So, if you are an online retailer, it’s high time to optimize your store for voice search—or risk being left behind.

Four Major Benefits of Implementing Voice Commerce

Implementing a voice commerce solution is the key to offering a better shopping experience to your customers, which in turn can increase customer loyalty. Here are some major benefits of implementing voice commerce.

1. Improved shopping experience

With voice commerce, your customers can avoid the lengthy browsing and checkout process involved in traditional eCommerce platforms. Customers save time, which in turn improves the shopping experience.

2. Improve brand visibility

With 50% of all global searches becoming voice-activated, implementing a voice commerce solution for your online store will ensure better visibility in the market. That gives your brand an edge over your competitors.

3. Offer a personalized shopping experience

Businesses can better track customer behavior and choices with voice search, helping them offer a more personalized shopping experience. Customers tend to stay more loyal to your brand when you can take care of their personalized preferences.

4. Guaranteed customer satisfaction

Because voice commerce offers a faster turnaround and a personalized shopping experience, customer satisfaction improves with voice commerce.

How To Implement Voice Commerce For Your Store

Having a voice application is the key to implementing voice commerce for your store. There are two ways to build a voice app.

1. Build a voice app on your own

Building a voice application requires a team of expert developers, AI and ML specialists, and engineers who know how to integrate your system with the already existing popular systems such as Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, and Cortana.

Although you’ll have complete ownership of the final product, building an app on your own can prove to be expensive and time-consuming.

2. Hire a company to build your voice application

Hiring a reputable organization to build your voice application is a practical and time-tested approach. Because these companies have years of experience in building similar applications, you will get expert guidance and a team of specialists working on your application.

The Bottomline

Though voice commerce is relatively new in the eCommerce space, it is the next big thing happening in the industry. With research indicating a 400% growth in voice-activated shopping by 2024, retailers need to take full advantage of voice commerce before it’s too late.

If you are planning to build a voice application for your online store or have queries, get in touch with us for more information. Backed by a scalable team of developers with experience in developing voice apps for various B2B, B2C, and B2E industries, InApp can help you achieve your business goals through voice applications that can propel your business toward potential customers in the market.