Listen to the Changes Coming with Voice Commerce

You can ask Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri to look for products, add to cart, create a wishlist, make product notes, and purchase. Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana also offer a range of voice-activated services. With voice assistants estimated to reach  8.2  billion devices by 2024, how can you sell using this rapidly growing technology?

We’ll cover three of the best ways to answer this trend.

  1. Use product descriptions optimized for voice commerce
  2. Keep building your brand so people ask for it
  3. Test everything

Product Descriptions: Categorize and Tag for Voice Searches

Look at your product descriptions and think about how someone would “ask” for the product instead of “search” for it.  With traditional online search, just a few words may be typed in, such as “black workout shorts.” Voice search may be more conversational and detailed, such as, “where can I buy black workout shorts for yoga, size 8?” On your eCommerce site, it’s important to properly categorize and tag your product pages, to include all relevant terms that might be spoken, such as “workout, yoga, black, size 8” and “women’s”.  Why did I add women’s? If the device hears a woman’s voice it will search for women’s wear first. This seems like a lot of work, but as you add new items or update your site, develop this as a best practice.

Building Your Brand Reduces the Competition

In traditional search, numerous competitors’ products will pop up if your brand name is searched.  Your own site may be far down the list after paid ads.  With voice search, it is more likely that customers will see at least two or three results only for your brand.  Amazon’s virtual assistant will favor Amazon brands for searches. But you still will fare better if your brand name is requested.  

So keep investing in your brand, including SEO, social, email, and the traditional marketing disciplines, such as direct mail.

Test Everything

It’s surprisingly easy to test if your site is optimized for voice. Just say, “Hey Siri” and ask for what you are looking for.  Make sure your tests relate to your top products.  Run a report on top products (SKUs) and then test them all by doing an online search and then comparing it to a voice search.  Don’t forget to get rid of your cookies.  Keep track of the results and revisit this every month.  Focus on fixing your top products to learn what works and doesn’t. Then roll out to the rest of your product line.

If your product is a consultative service or a solution, instead of a physical product, this advice still holds. You may also need to test searches related to cities.  For example, if someone searches for “fishing charters in Pompano Beach” you may wish to make sure your Fort Lauderdale based-fishing business includes Pompano Beach in the website tags.

Remember it’s just the beginning…

Let’s return to the fact that there will be an estimated 8 billion digital assistants in three years. With technical advancements, including AI, the relevance of results will only get better.  It won’t just be eCommerce and picking songs.  Usage will expand to health, wellness, restaurants, and many more categories.
A related category, smart homes, that can control temperature, security, and more will also be a growing area for voice activation.  As affluent customers manage their homes by voice they will expect to shop the same way. A recent survey from IOT News reported that by 2024, smart homes in the US and Europe will number 179 million. This year alone, 35.6% of houses fit the category, but in three years, the number will increase to 53%.

How Do You Prepare?

Voice Commerce may be just a whisper now, but it’s growing fast.  The team at James Ross is tracking this trend and actively working on solutions for clients.  Sign up for our newsletter here to keep updated. Or if you’d like to discuss your Voice Commerce opportunities, contact us to get started!