Everyone remembers the first time they encountered voice search: the feeling of wonder and astonishment at the fluidity of communication between man and machine. But unlike a fad, designed to ignite before it dies out, voice search has instead become louder and louder.
Because as we approach 2022, voice search isn’t just for playing songs or asking Google to define complicated words. Driven by technologies like live messaging tools and AI (artificial intelligence) -based chatbots, the power of voice is playing an increasingly important role in how we shop.
Here, of course, this is where conversational commerce Essentially, it’s the junction where email services meet (and, ideally, improve) the sales process – so it’s something all ecommerce businesses should be familiar with.
Below, we’ll walk you through the top three conversational commerce trends shaping ecommerce and keep you up to date with what the latest industry data and research suggests. We’ve even included a few tips at the end to help you get started optimizing your own ecommerce site for a conversational coup – so let’s go!
“Hey Alexa, what is voice search? “
Voice search refers to the act of searching for goods and services online not by typing your request into Google, but by saying it. If you’ve ever asked your iPhone’s “Siri” to search for something for you – or plugged in your Amazon Echo, Google Nest, or Apple HomePod to run a Bing search – then you’ve used voice search.
Voice search is powered by small pieces of technology called “virtual assistants” (such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant). These days, you can find voice assistant compatible technology in just about everything from smartphones and tablets to smart watches and speakers.
Of course, this ubiquity means voice search is in a prime position to influence e-commerce – and the numbers show how voice search continues to prove its worth.
The interaction of the voice assistant is expected to increase significantly 113% Coming in 2024, the number of voice-enabled devices is expected to reach over 8.4 billion. In addition, more than half (55%) of households are expected to own a smart speaker by 2022 – with more than a third (34%) of those who do not yet own a speaker have expressed a desire to purchase one.
So when will this conversational commerce trend start to shape e-commerce? The answer is that it already is. A Bing report suggests that the lion’s share of voice assistant use is related to buying (or finding) a product or service. In addition, almost one in three (31%) Gen Z shoppers (18-24) – and one in four shoppers in general – have indicated they will use a voice assistant for their holiday (and Black Friday!) Shopping this year.
With voice search technology already on the rise in the ecommerce industry – and numbers and usage only expected to continue to rise – it’s a conversational commerce trend that’s here to stay.
Of course, unlike most conversations in real life, conversational commerce doesn’t always involve the use of your voice. With 91% with consumers around the world demanding real-time support, live chat has become an increasingly important influence in the world of e-commerce.
After all, if two things matter to eCommerce business owners, they’re these: conversion rates and customer satisfaction. And the data is conclusive regarding the impact of live chat features on both.
A recent study has proven that live chat can not only improve your conversion rate by a huge 82%, but also that even one answer is enough to increase by 50% the probability that a customer will convert.
When it comes to customer satisfaction, statistics suggest that live chat has the highest user satisfaction rates of any communication channel. Non-conversational tools such as postal mail (50%), social media (48%) and SMS (41%) recorded much poorer levels of customer engagement and satisfaction.
Of course, this data won’t come as a shock to anyone who has experienced the speed, efficiency, and convenience of live chat. You can open a chat window with one click through a company’s website and have a chat in a matter of moments. For Phobic Gen Z on the phone, Gen X reluctant to social media, and everyone in between, live chat is emerging as the most effective way to get in touch with a business.
Chat AI (Artificial Intelligence)
AI chat is an emerging technology that uses chatbots powered by artificial intelligence to respond to customer queries. Instead of chatting online with a real person (as is the case with regular live chat), you’ll be dealing with “bots” instead.
These robots have been programmed to “learn” to answer specific requests and questions based on predefined rules and historical patterns.
But AI chat isn’t just about simulating the “conversational” nature of a live chat tool – or saving money on your personnel costs. For e-commerce sites, at least, AI chat opens up a wealth of new and exciting opportunities for how consumers navigate a website and proceed through the buying journey.
AI chat functions can, for example, direct a user to specific products or support articles, or provide an interactive quiz to refine a user’s needs and preferences. They also shouldn’t be used in isolation – you can use an AI chat to direct your customers to the right department or part of your website, before presenting them with a live chat feature (powered by a “real person. “) to guide them through the rest of their buying process.
Don’t just take our word for it, the data speaks for itself.
Recently, big names like Starbucks, LinkedIn, eBay and British Airways have invested heavily in AI chatbots, which at least partly explains the meteorology of the technology. 400% growth since 2017.
In the United States alone, the percentage of customers who have daily interactions with AI has increased by almost 40% between 2018 and 2020. You better watch this space too – by 2025, chatbot market share (worth $ 17.7 billion in 2019) is expected to reach a staggering level $ 102 billion.
Ecommerce store owners would also do well to understand how advancements in AI chatbots are shaping up along national borders.
The adoption of AI in Sweden, for example, has been astounding. Seven in 10 Swedes rely on AI every day, while the mega-markets of Brazil, the United States and Australia are just as heavily dependent on technology. With the exception of the UK and the Netherlands, several European countries – France, Italy and Spain, for example – have been a bit slower to adopt it.
Demographics have also played a role in the development and spread of AI as it relates to conversational commerce. In a 2020 poll, nearly half of 31-40 year olds preferred interactions only with AI for search and navigation. When it came to making a purchase, about a third (29%) of this same group said a preference for interactions only with AI.
But the biggest users of AI chat technology are people in the 26-35 age group. This niche represents 63% of all users – certainly food for thought for any business targeting their products or services at this age group!
Summarize Conversational Commerce Trends Shaping Ecommerce
Whether online, over the phone or face to face, conversation is a key part of being human. It’s our way of communicating, socializing and living – so it’s no surprise that this is also playing an increasing role in the way we shop.
Virtual assistants allow us to search and shop by saying a few words. Live chat instantly connects us to a support assistant and allows us to converse with a business in real time. And, as part of the most advanced and forward-thinking conversational business innovation, AI-powered chatbots are changing the way we interact with businesses and choose between different products and services.
By now, you should have a good idea not only of the conversational commerce trends shaping ecommerce, but also the breadth of statistics that drive them – and who they affect the most. But what’s next?
Because, let’s face it, it’s all worthless unless you start implementing conversational commerce processes and practices into your own ecommerce website. These include:
Adding schema markup to your website. This helps Google recognize the format of your data and allows voice assistants to easily select answers to user questions from your copy.
Prioritize the mobile responsiveness of your site. This facilitates the experience for the 27% of people using voice search on their mobile devices
Incorporate “long tail” keywords into your ecommerce site copy. This will help you target more niche voice queries and access a lucrative market of highly intentional consumers.
Make sure your ecommerce site has lots of regional flags. After all, 58% of customers use voice search to find local businesses. So you want to make sure that yours is among the best results!
Most importantly, the trick to being successful in conversational commerce is to keep the copy of your ecommerce site, well … conversational. The more you can write in a way that reflects how people actually speak, the better optimized it will be when they perform a voice search.
They say “money talks”. But the more your business gets to talk to your customers – and allows them to talk to you – the more money you’ll make. So start talking!
Read More: Twitter’s Holiday Shopping Trends Could Boost Your Next Marketing Campaign