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Voice technology is disrupting search and consumer behaviour

Your customers are talking to you, but do you know who is listening? Q+H attended an excellent talk called Voice Tech 101 at We Are Social last week with great insight from the hosts, Dominos and the FT. By Voice Tech we are referring to devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Echo, the Google Home and Apple’s soon to be released premium Apple HomePod. Already 62% of the UK population are regularly using Voice Tech and by 2018 at least 40% of UK homes will have a Voice Tech device and this is already having a big impact on consumer search habits and search results, especially in the retail/brand world.

Apple's soon to be released HomePod

One in three owners of an Amazon Echo have already ordered an item by using voice and it is estimated 50% of all searches will be by voice in 2020. When consumers do voice search, they are usually only presented with one choice, as opposed to the pages of choice you get from a normal screen based search. For brands it is important to understand how this works and either educate their consumers to search by brand name or ensure they are the first on the voice search. Users are tending to use long tail conversational search terms rather than shorter typed written searches on a desktop or mobile. The kitchen is home to c.50% of Voice Tech devices and this is where consumers are adding items to shopping baskets and searching ingredients for recipes.

Besides search, the other opportunity for brands are the “Skills” (think voice apps). Currently there are over 12,000 skills on Amazon Echo which can be split across offering a service, information, functions or commercial. Pizza firm Domino's has introduced a new skill that allows Echo users to order food using their voice, from their pre-selected ‘Easy Order’ option by asking 'Alexa ask Domino’s to feed me '. Alexa will then automatically tell the company to accept the order for the pre-selected items. There are also voice options to know what stage of production the food is in and in some areas of the UK, which are trialling GPS tracking, Alexa will respond with how far away the delivery is based on traffic conditions. To use these options, say: 'Alexa, ask Domino’s where my pizza is' or 'Alexa, ask Domino’s to track my order ’.

 

It is important in the coming months brands get to grips with Voice Tech or they could be missing out on a vital relationship with their consumers. In the UK over 40% of users have regularly used Voice Tech to find information about a brand or company, or found information about a product they are interested in. By the end of 2016 Amazon had sold 11 million Echo devices globally from mid 2015 and by 2021 the native digital assistant installed base (in specific devices or smart phones) will surpass 7.5 billion devices, more than one per person on the planet.

Source: We Are Social 'Voice Tech 101', Innovation Group ‘Speak Easy, The Future Answers to You'