Voice-enabled technology finds its voice

Brought to you by Retail Insider and K3 Retail

The most natural way of communicating is through voice so it is hardly a surprise that there is growing interest in the use of voice-enabled technology for shopping.

The recent ‘Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations Top 50’ report listed Amazon’s voice-enabled Alexa solution as the number one retail innovation for the second year running. This is based on factors including its potential commercial value and possible impact on the wider retail industry.

Although voice technology is seen as a bit gimmicky by some industry experts and commentators there is no doubt about its potential when you consider the high number of people and organisations in the other camp.

This growing group of advocates for voice technology includes Tesco, which recently launched a grocery shopping capability on Google Home that allows shoppers to simply ask for a specific product and for it to be added to their online shopping basket. Tesco believes this is the slickest, most friction-free way of buying goods online with the grocer.

Customers seem to also recognise the great potential of voice as IGD found 28% of shoppers recently surveyed expressed interest in using a voice-activated device such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home for their online grocery shopping.

This chimes with the findings in the US where a survey by Walker Sands – ‘Future of Retail 2017’ – found as many as 19% of people had made a voice purchase through Amazon or another digital home assistant, and another 33% had plans to do so during the next year.

It will be interesting to see how voice-enabled shopping develops. But whatever the outcome it will certainly not be through a lack of commitment by the major technology providers who absolutely believe it is the next frontier for engagement between retailers and customers.

Glynn Davis, editor of Retail Insider

K3 Retail deliver multi-channel solutions that enable retailers to create joined up shopping experiences for their customers whether they choose to buy on-line, direct, in-store or via mobile. It has over 20 years’ experience delivering award winning solutions, to more than 175 internationally recognised retail brands.