eCommerce has brought a remarkable change in the world of shopping. Coined back in the 1960s, this revolution hasn’t stopped the transformation ever since. But it wasn’t around two decades ago that eCommerce caught the hype and fastened its growth. Available to every internet user and the most convenient way of buying and selling was here.
Since then, people have everything they need to buy at their fingertips. From door-step delivery to cashless payment methods and from thousands of varieties to jumbo discounts – shopping has never been so much fun and effortless.
But is the virtual market ready to stop here? Is having everything done with just a click not enough? Well, with the introduction of many voice assistants like Alexa, people have found ways not to even touch their phones to make buying decisions and finalize the purchase.
But is vCommerce going to stay forever or just fade away soon? To clear this dilemma, I did some research on why it is in trend and what’s the future of vCommerce – I found a lot. So I thought, why not share it with more people who are curious about the concept of vCommerce.
And here we are today. Now, let’s not waste any more time, and get started.
To hit it off, let’s start with the basics and find out what vCommerce is. A whole lot of the world associates vCommerce with Virtual Commerce. But hey! There’s nowhere written that vCommerce isn’t about voice commerce at all. After all, the whole eCommerce industry is based virtually and there are a lot of different segments that can take pages of articles like this to be explained.
In this blog, my focus is vCommerce as in voice commerce.
What is vCommerce (Voice Commerce)?
vCommerce is the process of buying things from eCommerce platforms using just your voice. It offers you the convenience of not putting any physical efforts. You do not need to use your eyes, you do not need to use your hands, but you can simply command your voice assistant like Alexa to find the products you are looking for.
These smart AI technologies suggest the option that fits what you asked for. You can choose from what was suggested or ask for more suggestions, and finally, can make a purchase.
This technology is pretty advanced and magical. Though most people are not familiar with it yet, the marketers believe that vCommerce holds a very high potential of becoming the future of eCommerce.
During the research, I got my hands on some research done by Adobe. I was amazed when I saw the figures of the people investing in vCommerce:
- 91% of investors have already made a mass load of investments in voice search technology.
- 94% plan on making more investments in the near future.
So, it’s pretty clear how much people believe in vCommerce. Consumers love it, marketers and investors have their complete faith in it, and the production company has no plans to stop it.
I am not saying that mine and your expectations should completely cling on the peoples’ trust towards the future of vCommerce. I’ve got some rigid facts and benefits of vCommerce which makes the confusion a lot clearer.
What are The Advantages of vCommerce?
1. vCommerce makes online shopping stressless and more personalized
Think about those constant glares you need to spend in front of an eCommerce website to decide what to buy. Voice search in eCommerce makes your online shopping stress-free and less of a pain in the head. It also offers you the personalized options that work best for you.
It’s like communicating with your buying assistant at malls. For example, if you are buying your groceries, you can simply tell your voice assistant about the diet plan you follow and your preferences. Is it vegan? Is it for weight gain or loss? and your voice assistant can add the items in the cart that fits your specific needs.
As per the data collected by Adobe – 30% of the shoppers use their voice search devices to shop online.
2. Saves a lot of time
With the introduction of vCommerce, you do not need to take out the time to sit and look for what you need to buy. You can command your voice search assistant while having breakfast, driving a car, or going to the bed.
If we look at it this way – You wake up in the morning and tell Alexa to order the list of the groceries that you buy every month. You add a pair of socks that you lost last night, and a sports T-shirt to use in your workout routine.
It just took a few minutes and it all got completed before your eyes even could adjust to the morning light! vCommerce makes online shopping that quick and easy.
As per the studies of Dialogtech – 61% of the people between 25-64 years say that they’ll use voice search devices a lot more in the future.
3. It motivates repeat customers
If you are an eCommerce business owner, think of how useful it can be for you as your previous customers simply keep coming back to reorder their purchases?
Consumers have their order history saved. They can just command their voice search assistant to reorder the same coffee or a pack of soap they purchased last time.
Apart from making things easy for consumers, it highly influences the growth of eCommerce business too.
4. Leaving feedback is a lot easier and more genuine
Feedbacks are an essential part of online business growth. Asking for reviews is a much higher priority in vCommerce. These help build trust among shoppers.
Most of the shoppers trust the suggestions given by their voice search assistant as they know that products with higher ranking appear at the top of voice search in eCommerce results. These results with good reviews are usually recommended first to the shoppers.
Thanks to voice search in eCommerce, leaving feedback has become hassle-free. Rather than following the tiring process of logging in, finding the delivered product, and typing the review, your voice search device can simply ask about your opinion for the products you received.
Just like a simple conversation, you can tell your honest review and your voice search assistant will post it ASAP.
5. It’s seamless
No matter how friendly our website is, how well-designed your app is, or how much conversion rates you gain – you can’t beat the fact that it involves a process with too many steps. Let me break down the journey a customer needs to take every time he/she needs to buy from you:
- Take out the mobile phone
- Swipe the screen a couple of time to locate the app
- Wait for the app or the website to load
- Type in what they’re looking for
- Wait more till the results pull up
- Spend hours searching for that specific thing
- Add product to the cart and completing the payment
On the other hand, vCommerce makes this process a lot less complicated. Just a voice command and all the steps are taken care of.
Also, you need to spend a lot of time and money on your marketers to cover so many of the touchpoints to make the journey friction-less. With vCommerce – it just doesn’t make sense.
Your customers don’t need to work with too many steps to place their orders. The only thing you are left to do is to make sure that your speed of getting things done for vCommerce is fast enough.
Let’s talk about some vCommerce statistics
I reviewed some data collected by Adobe to dig into some statistics, and here’s what I found:
- 43% of the consumers who buy smart speaker uses it for creating shopping lists
- 47% of the buyers use it for doing research about the products
- 32% of the shoppers use the smart speaker for only price comparison
What are The Challenges of vCommerce?
Now, not everything’s green about vCommerce though. When you research something, you learn both pros and cons of it. And digging through the research for vCommerce was no different for me.
There are a few complications too as the concept is still fresh for the buyers as well as the sellers. Let me tell you what they are.
1. Challenge of languages
Though there are settings to switch between languages. But, every person’s accent and dialect is unique. Voice search assistants aren’t that smart enough to grab what the user is ‘trying to say’ instead of what ‘they are saying’.
This can create friction between what was asked and what was done. With time, this gap might overcome the issue but it’s never possible to completely eliminate it.
2. Robotic interactions
Voice search assistants can not assume, and they can’t predict things. People expect such technologies to communicate like a human who can be more intuitive and understanding.
This is an obvious challenge in vCommerce. However, the technology has managed to build examples like Sophia who is far more interactive and intuitive than those found in Voice search speakers.
3. Knowledge gap
Now let’s be real – nothing can beat the human mind. The way it thinks, the way it performs, and the way it works. vCommerce will ask for constant updates and data every time a new idea pops into someone’s head.
4. Lack of awareness
vCommerce is pretty new and not every customer has the idea of how to use it. Many people don’t even know how to operate a voice search in eCommerce.
5. Trust issues
Without looking or rechecking if the action was performed, people can not completely trust the voice search assistant for the work to be fulfilled. There are no visuals to support and rely on the buying decisions made.
6. Payment process
When it comes to online shopping, it is a must for vCommerce to keep the payment process as seamless as possible. However, this can be a bit of a challenge as the acceptance from the users’ end, the need to provide OTP, etc. requires a solution.
How vCommerce is affecting businesses and brands?
The speed of the technology graspers and the providers is not equal
Just as new technology is introduced, people want to try it. Something that gives a new experience is always appreciated. But most of the time, the audience is ready to grab it, however, the providers are only a few at the beginning. Let me explain –
The touchpoints are changing for the customers. Now the eCommerce business owners need to think more about the customer experience through voice search in eCommerce.
How the experience will be at home, in the car, or at the market. Do they need to think about how I can lead the customers to buy my stuff?
It can become much more difficult than before. maybe because the giant platforms like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook are already grabbing the customer before he/she will ever look for the other online store.
Huge brands are giving tough competition
Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are the torch bearers of voice search and other AI-based technologies. These companies are always the first to invest in such advanced technologies and come up with relevant devices. This makes it a lot harder for small eCommerce business owners to compete.
As per Techcrunch – More than 100 Million Alexa speakers and devices have been sold!
Voice search assistants are gaining brand signatures
Voice search assistants have become like babies who need a name to be called out. And, big brands are doing a great job providing a signature command title.
Google recognizes ‘Ok Google’, Apple’s ‘Hi Siri’, and Amazon says ‘Alexa’. A
Prepping the world for vCommerce
For every new technology, there is a time for people to accept it. The AI was introduced in 1956, but it wasn’t before the 2000s that it gained popularity. For vCommerce too, the market needs to prepare the consumers for its global expansion.
There are mainly three things that businesses need to work on:
- Customer service
A. Providing stress-free customer service
There’s no denying that there’ll be a lot of challenges in the initial expansion of vCommerce. Therefore, to keep the consumers comfortable with what they are using, a seamless customer service experience is a must.
B. Improving customers’ trust and privacy
Companies need to be transparent about what data they collect and store. It should clearly be informed about how their data is accessed and used.
In a 2019’s report of Microsoft, it was given that 41% of the consumers are concerned about their privacy.
My Final Opinion on the Future of vCommerce
Though vCommerce is still a very fresh concept and it’ll take time for the world to adopt it, but it holds a very vast potential of becoming the future of online shopping.
vCommerce, in no way just a fling. It’s new, it’s advanced, it’s useful, and it’s here to stay. Despite having several challenges, I believe that we’ve excelled in a lot of things which a time of generations wouldn’t believe in. there were times when airplanes were just the fragment of a child’s imagination.
Technology has surpassed many taboos, and I believe that the concept of ‘complete dependence on vCommerce for shopping’ is going to flourish. vCommerce is definitely the bright and undeniable future of online shopping.