Until six years ago, all that mattered in the world of commerce were three primary channels – brick and mortar stores, ecommerce, and m-commerce (mobile web and apps). But now, with tens of millions of Alexa enabled devices in the world, ‘voice’ is quickly emerging as a channel that merits consideration.
The 2019 Amazon Pay Connected Commerce study1 validates voice’s emerging potential, and found that 44%2 of consumers surveyed indicate that they are likely to use voice services in at least some part of their shopping journey in the next three years. What’s more, one in three (30%) consumers indicate that they are likely to use voice to purchase products/services in three years. But the possible applications of voice go beyond commerce; consumers also indicate that they will use ‘voice’ for banking (26%), paying bills (26%) and sending and receiving money from individuals (22%) implying even wider financial implementation of the technology.3 These are promising numbers for an evolving channel, and proves that businesses should do their best to embrace ‘voice’ in anticipation of the next level of consumer expectation.
According to the survey, the top two voice commerce drivers are ease of use (49%) and speed (44%). On average, people speak two times faster than they type, and because of this, voice has the potential to be more convenient than other commerce channels, satiating the consumers’ desire to get more by doing less. Thirty one percent of the surveyed consumers say that they prefer “doing less” because it frees them up to pursue other activities. Additionally, one in three (28%) like the immediacy of voice commerce. ‘Voice’ is the only channel that allows consumers to buy in the moment, moving quickly from the ‘desire’ phase to the ‘purchase’ phase.4
While many consumers are willing to adopt voice commerce, they don’t view it as a replacement for brick-and-mortar shopping or for e- or m-commerce. But they are signaling their openness to a multi-channel shopping experience, with 42% likely to be involved in a sale that spans multiple channels in the next three years.5 In fact, 39% of consumers say they are currently comfortable starting their shopping journey in one channel and ending it in another.
But ultimately, it isn’t the channel that matters most, it’s the overall customer experience. Forty nine percent of surveyed consumers say they will recommend a brand if it offers a seamless and continuous experience across all channels.6 While voice might not be a replacement for other channels, it is an important tool to help businesses better serve their customers, and should be an integral part of any commerce strategy.
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1 Amazon Pay conducted a double blind online survey in April 2019 among 10,297 consumers in the United States (US, N=1898), United Kingdom (UK, N=1399), Germany (N=1437), France (N=951), Italy (N=953), Spain (N=951), Japan (N=1468), and India (N=1240). All respondents were third-party panelists (not limited to Amazon customers).
2 Source is same as reference #1. Question - In 3 years, how likely are you to use voice services in the below phases of the shopping journey? Percent refers to those who rated somewhat (4) or very likely (5) on a 5 pt. scale.
3 Source is same as reference #1. Question - In 3 years, how likely are you to use voice services for the following activities? Percent refers to those who rated somewhat (4) or very likely (5) on a 5 pt. scale.
4 Source for the numbers in this entire paragraph is same as reference #1. Question – Please pick up to five reasons why you use/you will use voice services for purchasing products/services. Percent refers to those who ranked these options as one of their top five reasons.
5 Source is same as reference #1. Question - In 3 years, how likely are you to be involved in a shopping journey that spans multiple channels where you start shopping in one channel but complete the purchase in another? Percent refers to those who rated somewhat (4) or very likely (5) on a 5 pt. scale.
6 Source is same as reference #1. Question - How strongly do you agree with the following statements? Percent refers to those who rated somewhat (4) or strongly agree (5) on a 5 pt. scale. The statements for the 39% and 49% numbers are respectively – ‘I am comfortable starting the purchase process in one channel and completing it in an entirely different channel‘ and ‘I will recommend a seller if they offer a seamless and continuous customer experience across all channels‘.