Voice Search Trends and Their Impact on E-commerce

Updated: Jan 7


Do you have to buy groceries but need to walk the dog? Driving on a long trip and need to shop for essentials on the road? Shopping is now made easy with voice search!


With the surge in online shopping, the need to go to the store to pick up items seems long gone. Yet, having to type and scroll through dozens of images create an issue for those constantly on the go. Alternatives to this online shopping method, using voice search, are evolving. Consumers now engage with search engines in a way more than using the touch interface. Emerging technologies using voice and digital assistants are today’s current trends.


Though voice search technology is well-known with voice assistants such as Alexa, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Siri, it is more complex than telling the weather or asking for directions. As technology develops in mobile shopping, voice search has become a possibility that could change the overall social aspect of online shopping. One of voice search features is its smart search functionality that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to optimize online searches for products or services.


Microsoft Voice Report 2019 showed that 72% of respondents reported using voice search through a voice assistant in a survey conducted. The results revealed that voice search technology would foster a substantial impact on consumer purchasing behavior and mindset.


Over the past year, shopping has become increasingly complicated, with more people opting to shop from home. Fortunately, as the world begins to re-open, people are constantly on the go, with very little time searching and browsing for items online. Voice search is the perfect hands-free alternative, ideal for people who need to shop efficiently. Hands-free shopping will be a trend that positively impacts communication.


One major challenge for the voice search is the lack of trust by consumers in using voice assistants. In a report by PWC Consumer Intelligence Series, consumers have concerns about voice assistants. Some of the concerns expressed by respondents in the PWC consumer intelligence series voice assistant survey conducted in 2018 include:

- 38% believe that the voice assistants are actively listening or recording them,

- 28% expressed that their personal information or data is not secured,

- 46% do not trust their voice assistant to interpret and process their order correctly,

- 45% do not feel comfortable sending payment through my voice assistants.


Let’s explore three ways in which voice search is positively affecting consumer behavior:


1. Personalized and Stress-free shopping: Artificial Intelligence (AI) and voice search helps personalize shopping experiences. AI allows for data to be collected based on the customer’s recent searches and shopping habits. This collection of data is also beneficial for brands that may not receive as much recognition in-store. Another benefit of voice search is that researchers have found that this method of shopping provides a sense of stress relief. Like talking to a friend on the phone, voice search holds the potential to connect others through shopping platforms.


2. Fosters repeat customers: Customers can enjoy hassle-free shopping based on their preferences or buying history already saved by the brands. For example, voice assistants can give instructions to place the same items from previous purchases into the cart. The voice assistants can also recommend specific products based on historical buying choices. Hence, consumers will always come back for easier shopping time.


3. Saves Time: Voice search functionality helps place an order quickly, unlike typing, since we usually speak faster than when we type. It saves the time spent logging into the computer or mobile phone to search and order for items. Consumers will appreciate the ease and time savings from using the voice search.


Fast-growing developments in voice search reveal a change in consumer behavior and adaptation to new cultural trends. The advancement in voice search has become increasingly interesting to watch, with more alternatives springing up, such as the customer service chatbots that can track orders, respond to product questions, and process return requests.


So, next time you need to walk your dog and still do groceries, think of your smart search technology that promotes ease and convenience. You can tell your voice assistant (Alexa, Siri, or others) to have your groceries ready in your online shopping cart for delivery or in-store pickup.


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