Voice’s growing role in the retail commerce

Considering the ways in which voice can enhance your existing channels.

Welcome to part four of a five-part series of posts where we’re going to dive into the art of doing business in a connected world. We’ll be sharing customer insights on voice and connected commerce, based on a 25-minute double blind online survey that Amazon Pay conducted in April 2019, among 10,297 consumers in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India. To download an ebook that shares all of our findings, click here.

Consumers who are willing to use voice in some part of their shopping journey do not differentiate its use based on product or service category. Instead, they are willing to try voice services to purchase products and services across all categories. Entertainment in the form of music and DVDs/Blu-rays are the most common product category use cases, followed by groceries, books, and clothing. Online food ordering/ delivery services and digital/streaming music/TV shows are the top two use cases for voice in the service category. Hotel and travel booking round out the top five.

To begin using voice, businesses can target habitual purchases that consumers order on a regular basis, such as subscriptions, pet food, detergent, etc., before expanding to offer all their products and services. Businesses can identify the items that their customers order regularly and make it easy for them to reorder via voice. Such a start allows businesses to hone their voice execution before expanding their offerings.

Voice is an enhancement, not a replacement

Whenever a technological advance gains traction, we assume that the new technology will always replace an old one. However, the commerce space has proved that is not always the case. Since the advent of digital technologies, consumers have incrementally adopted channels such as ecommerce and m-commerce to complement (but not replace) their experience at stores. All these channels have grown together since then.


This incremental trend is set to continue with the addition of voice. One in five consumers indicate that the proportion of purchases through voice as a percent of purchases through all channels will increase in the next three years. For relative comparison, the same number for online and physical stores is 59% and 11% respectively.

Don’t expect voice to replace other channels; instead think of how voice will complement your existing channels. Businesses should devise strategies to ensure that consumers are able to access products and services through the channels of their choice, as well as enabling those channels work together effectively to improve consumer experience.

Consider scenarios where customers prefer to use voice to get something done because they are in the middle of an activity, such as cooking or driving, and cannot use the phone. Or, perhaps they’re in a place where the phone screen is not visible. Which order-related actions do shoppers want to accomplish in a hands-free and eyes-free environment?

One good way to identify these opportunities is by focusing on the top reasons customers may call the customer service line. Businesses can add value to the experience and save customers time by addressing common questions like “Is my size in stock” or requests, such as “Send the newest black boots to my phone”.

To access the full results of Amazon Pay’s survey and read more insights into the future of connected commerce, click here.