As our technology becomes more and more capable, we find new ways we can put it to work for us. Voice technology is relatively young, but it’s already become a tool used in households around the world. Talking with our voices is the way most of us are accustomed to communicating with one another, and now we can use the same dynamic to interact with our home technology.
The next step for voice tech is making it more convenient than traditional methods for purchasing products. There are some drawbacks that need to be addressed before this feature of e-commerce can be widely adopted around the world. To do that, we can look at our existing voice technology and see where it falls short and what can be better adapted to fit our needs.
Voice ordering is already in use and will become adopted by the mainstream once it's perfected. You can prepare your business for the future of e-commerce by keeping up with the latest in the industry; here’s what you need to know about voice ordering.
Today’s Voice Services
If you don’t have a voice-based virtual home assistant like Alexa or Google Home, then odds are you know a handful of people who do. These helpful gadgets have been popping up more and more lately, and they’re used for everything from home automation to ordering food. But how does your voice command ultimately get your delivery to your door?
How They Work
Amazon Echo (or Alexa), Google Home, and other devices that use voice technology have their own nuances, but the operations behind the process remain the same. After learning about your preferences and adapting to your style, your smart appliances will keep your home the way you like it. You can use your voice to shut the blinds, change the lighting, or make sure your doors are locked.
When it comes to voice ordering, you’ll need to update your app with payment and shipping information. Also, you can usually set a security code so you don’t make any accidental purchases. Then you can order takeout, update your shopping list, or confirm a repeating order for pet food by talking to your assistant. The money will be taken from your account through your app, and your package will be shipped to the address you’ve inputted.
Repeated Orders. If you look at your receipts and bank statements, you’ll find that you spend a good chunk of your money on the same things every week or month. With the help of a voice assistant, you can make sure you never run out of these items. Use your voice to check your cart, add or remove items, and set up recurring orders. This way you won’t have to take time out of your day to order the same things you know are always needed around the house.
Hands-Free Interaction. Sometimes you just don’t have the hands to do everything at once. Thanks to voice technology, you won’t have to put anything down.
Time-Saving Transactions. Making purchases without even touching anything means you won’t sit through long drives to and from the store or long lines while you’re there. You won’t have to boot up your laptop and go to a website. Reordering products you’ve already selected is made that much easier with voice tech.
Lack of Trust. People tend to put the blame elsewhere when there’s a problem with a delivery, even if they simply ordered the wrong product. Unfortunately, it can be easy to accidentally order the wrong items through a voice search if you’re not careful. This can be extremely frustrating and turn you off to new types of e-commerce, and it’s an area where the technology needs to improve in order to keep growing.
Foreign Accents. It can also be difficult to use voice ordering if you have an accent. Today’s voice technology isn’t quite sophisticated enough to efficiently grasp accents or complex statements and questions. Even if you speak English fluently and natively, you may have to adapt the way you talk to your voice assistant.
Brand Bias. At this point in time, consumers can expect to be steered towards certain products or brands when they place orders with their voice-activated assistants. Ordering through Alexa will automatically use the Amazon store, for example, and can push certain listings. Gadgets might open up more options as we see further collaborations in the future.
Frequent purchases are that much easier with voice ordering. Image via Shutterstock.com
Importance of Visuals
One of the biggest drawbacks that could bring voice-based e-commerce down is a lack of confidence. People want to be sure they’re getting the exact products they want, and it’s difficult to get that peace of mind when you’re simply talking to a machine. Fortunately, there’s one solution that can give buyers the confidence they need: visuals.
Your Google Home might read the product labels and descriptions, but it can’t show you a picture of the products unless you have a screen to go along with the virtual assistant. With a screen, consumers will have visual confirmation that they’re ordering the appropriate products. This has been a missing piece that should make customers much more confident in the concept of voice-based e-commerce.
What’s The Timeline?
Voice technology has clearly established itself in many modern households, but how will it make the jump to full-scale voice-based e-commerce? There has naturally been some back and forth about its place in our society.
The addition of screens make voice shopping a lot more feasible for consumers, but it’s not the only reason people believe this type of tech will really catch on. This technology makes sense in the larger context of our changing culture and society. Everything is shifting toward convenience and intuition, and on paper, buying things with our voices makes life easier.
The younger generation is growing up with new forms of technology in their respective infancies. They will be the most accustomed to this newfound level of efficiency and convenience. Though it still needs some work, voice-based e-commerce could very well become a mainstay in the business world. Read up on the technology and get familiar with it because the future has a habit of becoming the “now.”