Business / November 21st

Exclusive report: Nearly 50% of Retailers Are Investing in Voice

Ryan MacInnis

Ryan MacInnis

Director of Marketing

2017 has been the year of voice, the year when brands and consumers have finally realized its true impact and potential. Nearly 30 million voice-enabled devices are expected to have been sold by the end of the year, and Stanford has published research showing that voice is 3x faster and 20% more accurate than typing. It’s no longer a futuristic promise of what’s to come. It’s here, and here to stay. 2017 has been the year of voice, the year when brands and consumers have finally realized its true impact and potential. Nearly 30 million voice-enabled devices are expected to have been sold by the end of the year, and Stanford has published research showing that voice is 3x faster and 20% more accurate than typing. It’s no longer a futuristic promise of what’s to come. It’s here, and here to stay.

We partnered with Retail Touchpoints on a report, surveying some of the top retailers in the space to understand where voice falls in their priorities and how they believe it will impact their business.

Mobile search and conversion continue to be the focus

Mary Meeker’s infamous report on Internet Trends featured the quote shared round the world: By 2020, 50% of search will be done via voice or through image search. And as AdAge reported, 75% of all content consumption will happen via mobile by the end of 2017. Companies are now racing to invest in solutions to improve the mobile search experience and provide uplift to mobile conversions.

Our research showed that, for 78% of retailers, the number one goal for mobile is to increase mobile purchases. And they’re investing the majority of their energy in into delivering effective responsive web experiences and mobile apps. But it’s bigger than that. It’s about fundamentally understanding the user journey and what their pain points are. It’s about making the search and filtering experience so good on mobile, that users come back again and again.

If not, as we just wrote about, 85% of shoppers won’t come back after a bad mobile experience. Voice search is the #1 technology investment of 2018. Of all technology investments outside of mobile, voice remains the top priority for companies. Here’s why, according to a recent Forbes article:

“Voice search is going to be a game-changer because it will help retailers and search engines understand the real intent of the customer search. That’s because it facilitates “understanding what customers want and offering it to them, better and faster than the competition.”

And companies like Advanced Auto Parts agree, citing that voice would be an ideal experience for customers. The company has been focused on making searches more user friendly, said Don Martin, Regional Operations Director. All stores are laid out exactly the same, so if a customer is seeking, say, new front wiper blades for a 2009 Acura, a voice search can quickly identify the right product, and also tell the customer exactly where to find it in any store if the customer chooses that channel.

“Typically, people don’t know what they need,” said Martin. “In our business, voice would be an amazing strategic advantage.”

Voice is not the future, it’s the present

While many companies are waiting for the right time, and the right business impact metric to invest in voice, nearly 50% of retailers are investing in voice today. It’s on the roadmap. They’re investing in it.

Here are some other interesting numbers:
  • 83% of consumers believe using voice technology makes it easier to find products
  • 89% of consumers say that voice makes searches faster (Stanford says 3x faster)
  • Retailers say that search, discovery and filtering are voice’s top benefits
  • More than half of U.S. teens already use voice search daily
  • Gartner projects that by the end of 2017, 5% of consumer-facing websites will feature audio interfaces

Are you gearing up for voice and looking for more resources? Read the rest of the report here for even more insights on how retailers are planning to tackle mobile and voice.



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