Voice assistants and the potential impact on the shopper experience and retail businesses

People love shopping - whether online or in-person. With rapid advancements in voice technology, voice assistants has already become a feature in shoppers’ experience, at the point of sale or for information and comparative shopping - online & soon in store.

Have you ever found yourself hunting for a store representative just to get a price or to see if there was "more in stock?" Now imagine walking into a store and interacting with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and getting all the information you want when you need it.

So, how can voice assistants benefit the company and the customer during a shopping experience?

Your company can make more money with voice assistants.

Shopping is not just about selecting something then paying for it; it is about exploration, engagement, interaction, communication, and understanding. One eye-opening statistic from SoundHound found that people who shop online using voice spend, on average, $136 more than those who do not use voice. The reason for the increase is that shopping using voice is easier and more natural. Applying that knowledge to the in-person shopping experience will enhance the experience for the consumer. Customers would not have to wait on someone to attend to them to get information on a particular product when they can just ask Alexa. That immediate attention and access to information would translate into a significant increase in customer satisfaction and an increase in sales.

Voice Assistants via your phone.

Every smartphone has a voice assistant included. Leveraging technology that is already at their fingertips can improve the online shopping experience by simply integrating an already existing technology with the experience. Mobile shopping generates 45% of e-commerce sales and most mobile phone users are already interacting with voice assistants, so there’s less of a barrier to the technology. Customers could get information on shipping information, special discounts and deals, information on two similar products to decide which is best, and so much more.

Back in the brick and mortal world, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri can act as a guide while spending to keep track of the customer’s costs and ensure they stay within their budget. The voice assistant can, in a virtual space, add items to your cart while the you're picking out your items and keep track of how much you're about to spend. Doing this would save some customers the shock of going to the cashier and hearing a price they had no idea they would need to pay. Voice assistants could save customers the embarrassment of putting something back at the cashier because it is over their budget.

The business can get helpful information out of the interactions.

Voice assistants can capture data with each interaction that lead to more accurate first-party data and a deeper understanding of the customer relationship with your product and services. Imagine collecting real-time data on each customer’s reaction to hearing a specific price or seeing a new product.

A voice assistant could also detail how many people had to ask where to find a particular product, implying that the product is hard to find or how many people said a product was expensive or cheap. The company could receive demographic information, preferences and all sorts of other key data points. There is a host of information a company can receive from customers by using voice assistants to interact with them.

From in-store to in-home, how retail adopt to voice assistants will directly impact how retail grows and succeeds in the near future.