In recent years, voice search technology has gone through significant advancements, allowing for a more natural and convenient way for consumers to use this technology in various places. As a result, businesses across various industries have started to incorporate voice search into their operations, and the eCommerce sector is no exception. According to the research done by PWC, 71% of people would use the voice search feature than physically type a search query. With the rise of smart speakers, virtual assistants, and mobile devices equipped with voice search capabilities, more consumers are turning to voice search to make purchases online. Utilizing voice search features in your eCommerce properly can significantly improve the customer experience on your website and stay ahead of the competition.
In this article, we will discuss the benefits of implementing voice search in the eCommerce industry, as well as the process of optimizing the eCommerce store to use that technology. In the end, we will give examples of popular brands that apply voice search to boost engagement.
What is Voice Search, and how does it work?
Voice search is a feature that allows users to search for information, or in the case of eCommerce – for a particular product or a service, using their voice instead of typing in a search bar. The voice search feature is powered mainly by speech recognition software and artificial intelligence processes like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning. Thanks to speech recognition technology, AI is able to identify and process particular words and phrases.
Importance of Voice Search in eCommerce
The growing importance of voice search can change a lot in an eCommerce market. Voice search queries for eCommerce work more or less in the same way as voice search for search engines. Worth mentioning here is that the usage of the voice search feature in an eCommerce business is similar to voice commerce, but these two concepts are slightly different.
Voice commerce encompasses not only searching for products and services but also adding items to the shopping cart, checkout process, and more. Such a solution is especially beneficial for people that are visually impaired or have limited mobility that causes problems with using a keyboard.
Voice search eCommerce benefits
Talking about the benefits, voice search in eCommerce brings many of them. The most important ones are listed below.
Searching is easier and faster
According to TypingPal.com, the average person’s typing speed is 40 words per minute. Using a voice search app instead of traditional typing is a more effective way of finding products or services. Voice search is even better in the case of mobile devices where typing may be a little bit troublesome, as users can find products by clicking once on the microphone icon.
Offers personalized shopping experience
As previously mentioned, the voice search feature is supported by artificial intelligence. Due to that, it can give recommendations based on, for instance, browsing history and purchase dates. This functionality works even better and is more efficient when a virtual assistant like Alexa or Siri is used. For example, it could remind a customer about running out of products based on the purchase date.
Driving more traffic through voice search rankings
Google’s algorithm has revolutionized the way we search for information, especially with the rise of voice search. By using this technology, voice search users can expect nothing less than the best results that precisely match their needs.
When your website appears as the top recommendation for a user’s voice search query, it reinforces their trust in your brand, establishing you as a reliable source of information. The key is to optimize your website according to voice search algorithms.
Improves customer experience
By utilizing voice search, eCommerce stores can offer a more seamless and user-friendly experience to their customers. A pleasant shopping experience helps to get loyal customers who will recommend the online store to others.
In addition, the website can offer the same experience throughout the whole purchase process, starting from using voice search in search engines and then smoothly going to your website and using the same feature.
Dedicating time and energy to implementing voice search on the eCommerce website shows customers that a company is investing in innovation and care about delivering the best shopping experience. This positively impacts the image of a company among the competition.
How to optimize an eCommerce store for voice search?
Preparing the website properly is crucial to fully utilize the potential of Google Voice search technology in online shopping. In order to do that, there are a few steps that should be followed. By doing so, your online store will be voice-search-friendly and will help people to find you online and choose your products.
Voice search optimization for natural language
First of all, focus on optimizing the website by using conversational keywords. Try to use long-tail keywords and phrases that sound like a natural conversation. Also, voice search engine results may differ depending on the chosen words. Due to that, it is important to understand that the consumers may mean the same query by using different words.
What’s more, some product names may differ depending on the region. If you are selling internationally, try to use both terms to reach the customers, for example, shoes and sneakers. Last but not least, consider creating a FAQ that answers the common questions that people may ask in Google or other search engines.
Take care of product categories and tags
Make sure that titles, product descriptions, and category tags contain all relevant information and details that are useful for AI. Moreover, try to tag any “gender specific” items, like “white jacket for female,” as artificial intelligence starts to distinguish male and female voices.
Try to get position 0 in Google
Position 0, also known as the featured snippet, is the content that Google shows in the top search results position, above the organic and paid content. The aim of this content is to directly answer a search query without giving any unnecessary information. The best way to increase your chances of getting position 0 is to create the aforementioned FAQ and use simple but clear language.
Optimize for mobile devices
Optimize website speed
Website speed is another important factor, no matter for traditional or voice searches. People are already used to getting the information they need quickly, and if the website is too slow, they will just close it and go to another one. What’s more, website speed is also an essential ranking factor in Google.
Keep your content updated
Voice search algorithms in search engines favor fresh and up-to-date content. Regularly update your website with new product descriptions, blog posts, and other content to rank higher in results.
Challenges in implementing voice search in eCommerce
As previously mentioned, voice search relies on Natural Language Processing, which sometimes can be complex and difficult to get right. Do research about this topic in order to know what phrases and questions are most popular around your business.
Additionally, keep in mind that voice search is still a relatively new technology and not yet fully developed. Due to that fact, speech recognition software may have some problems with some languages and regional accents. This, in turn, may occasionally lead to misunderstandings. The best way to avoid this is to know the language well and use long but simple key phrases. Nonetheless, this software works really well with American and British English accents.
Another issue you may cross along the way is privacy concerns. Some users may be uncomfortable with the idea of a voice assistant listening to their conversations, which could lead to privacy concerns and pushback against the adoption of voice search technology on your website. However, the best way to avoid it is to explain the technology to your customers by putting a note or a blog post about the voice search features on your website and ensuring that sensitive information is not captured or shared without user consent.
The popularity of voice assistants
Virtual assistants gain more and more popularity each year. Voice assistants have revolutionized the way we interact with technology. From asking for weather updates to setting reminders, these intelligent devices have become an integral part of our daily lives.
To give an example, Google’s voice assistant is now available on more than 1 million devices and over 500 million people have Siri installed on their Apple products. As the technology behind it constantly improved, it also found its place in the eCommerce industry.
With the rise of voice search, businesses can now leverage this technology to boost their profits and reach more customers. As more and more people turn to voice assistants for their shopping needs, businesses that fail to adapt risk falling behind their competitors.
This trend will most likely continue to expand among consumers and companies as the AI industry figures out how to address privacy and ethical concerns.
Examples of brands that use voice search to boost engagement
Due to the development of voice search technology, many companies are already using it to engage with their customers and improve the shopping experience. To illustrate this phenomenon better, here are the examples of mentioned brands using voice search trends:
In 2014, Domino’s launched a new online business project with the aim of enabling customers to order food through a virtual assistant on mobile devices. This voice-ordering system quickly evolved and became a great model for other restaurants to follow. In 2019, Domino’s Pizza launched its new platform called “Domino’s Anyware,” which enables to order products without giving a specific home address. Instead, clients put their location services on and drag on the map where they want their products to be delivered, for example, at the park, beach, or “Anyware” else.
At the end of 2016, Starbucks introduced voice recognition to its application. The Starbucks app lets customers order coffee and food using voice commands through the app’s virtual assistant. Users can say „Hey Starbucks” to initiate the voice assistant and place their order hands-free. Depending on the region, ordering from Starbucks is also possible through Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. What’s more, due to the Starbucks partnership with Chinese giant Alibaba, ordering products from Starbucks is also possible through the use of Alibaba’s platforms in China. This partnership also resulted in releasing an Alibaba’s smart speaker called “Tmall Genie.” The device also enables web searching, home-control automation services, and music streaming.
The Sephora application uses some of the newest AI tools and models, including Natural Language Processing, Machine Learning, and Computer Vision. All that to provide the best customer experience possible and increase customer engagement. By integrating a voice search capability into its app, Sephora has made it easier for customers to find the perfect makeup products tailored to their specific needs. With just a few voice commands, users can receive personalized recommendations based on their skin tone, makeup preferences, and other factors. Apart from voice search, Sephora’s app features include Virtual Artist and Fragrance IQ System.
In today’s fast-paced world, consumers are increasingly relying on voice search to find what they need. The benefits of a voice search optimization strategy are undeniable – it allows businesses to reach a wider audience, drive more traffic to their site, and ultimately increase their profits. Apart from the better customer experience, opening for voice search technology can get you ahead of the competition and bring benefits your store may need to succeed in the eCommerce world fully.
If you are interested in implementing this technology in your eCommerce store, feel free to reach us!