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Alexa: Your Personal Shopper? Maybe Not

Voice Search isn't as great for commerce as we thought

Alexa: Your Personal Shopper? Maybe Not

Buying behaviour has changed drastically in recent years. Today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, with countless shoppers around the world researching products online before they buy them in-store. At the same time, there are more ways to buy than ever. You can buy something you like on your Instagram feed, ask a company for quote over Facebook messenger, and more.

One of the biggest changes to the world of commerce, has been the emergence of voice assistants. The arrival of devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa has left many industry analysts with the belief that voice will be the ultimate new mode for shopping. After all, why bother going on your computer to look for products when you can just ask Alexa to order your pizza and get it delivered for you?

How Are Voice Assistants Affecting Buyer Behaviour?

So, how are voice assistants actually changing the way that we buy things? Capgemini conducted a survey into the rising prevalence of consumers using voice devices in the US, Germany, France, and the UK to find out. The study collected quantitative data about buyer behaviour and combined it with focus group discussions from consumers around each country.

Ultimately, the report revealed that more customers are developing a preference for using voice assistants to interact with customers. However, despite this, voice assistant users only spend around 3% of their time as a consumer using the assistants. Though the number is small right now, Capgemini, along with other industry analysts believe that the percentage will increase to around 18% in the next three years.

Do Customers Love Voice as Much as We Think?

Dave Michels - Judge - UC Awards 2018

Dave Michels – TalkingPointz

Though the general attitude towards voice assistants in commerce is that they will transform the way we buy goods forever, the numbers don’t exactly back that idea up right now. According to Dave Michels of TalkingPointz and author of the “Quipz” newsletter, a leak into Amazon Alexa usage numbers reveals that buying through voice isn’t as popular as we’d think. Although Amazon has sold 50 million Echos, Michels reveals that only “2% of them have been used to make a purchase, and 90% of those” only purchased something once.

Maybe voice isn’t the game-changer that we thought it would be, but that doesn’t mean that the tables won’t turn in the years ahead. According to the Capgemini study mentioned above, the consumers that do use voice assistants say that they were very happy with their experience, and 71% claim that they were thrilled with their voice assistant. In fact, 52% go further, to outline how convenient it is to be able to order and purchase things hands-free.

Though voice assistants don’t get much love today, it may simply be that we need more time to properly embrace these new devices. Only time will tell if the future of commerce is truly voice.

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