In my last post, I explored how natural language search enhances the product discovery experience. While we can all relate to the value a product expert adds to the buying process when we’re making considered purchases, oftentimes we know exactly what we want. In that context, that helpful assistant can sometimes be an annoyance. In addition, sometimes those identified purchases are things you need immediately. I still find myself rushing to fit these errands into my day. Maybe it’s bottle of wine before a friend stops by for dinner or a desperate need for cold medicine (it’s still that time of year in the northeast). There is a whole new breed of businesses that are vying for this next leg of the online retail market. It’s what we like to refer to as “on-demand ecommerce”. At Voysis, we believe that these types of experiences are ripe for voice AI.
Think for a second about how your neighborhood liquor store differs from Target. At Target, you grab a cart and likely go through most if not all isles of the store. You often leave the store with products you’ve discovered that you didn’t plan to buy. And it’s rare that you interact with a Target employee before you reach the register. In the liquor store, you almost always interact with someone even if you already know what you want. You’re usually in and out in a minute or two. The only friction you’ll run into is a line…if there is one. It’s the travel time that is the real commitment here.
One great example of on-demand ecommerce is a company called Drizly. Based in my hometown, Boston, the team at Drizly is focused on transforming the way alcohol is shopped, sold and shared. Sure sometimes it’s nice to explore the shelves for something new, which you can do with Drizly by the way, but more often than not, we’re creatures of habit and know what we want. And the thing I love about Drizly is that it offers convenience in an on demand way. When the team needs a case of Heineken to celebrate a big milestone, Drizly is there.
Traditional interfaces present users with a search box as well as categories and filters. While we’re all used to these experiences, our goal as innovators is to always be looking for a better way. As our own John Fitzpatrick outlined in a recent post, voice interfaces allow us to build experiences that are truly optimized for specific domains. To offer an experience that closely mirrors what we’d do if we were in the liquor store but, with one key difference, without having to be there.
Below is an example that showcases how voice streamlines the product selection and checkout process. In this type of interaction, the user can identify the products they want to buy, add them to their cart, define a delivery time and location, and checkout with a few simple voice commands.
As online retail continues to permeate our lives, we’ll travel less, use less gas, and have more time to focus on more important things. In parallel, voice AI is driving a shift in how user experiences are designed. A partnership between these two movements will pose new levels of efficiency for consumers and also offer a more natural way of completing these tasks online. It’s a natural evolution.