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The impact of Voice Assistants in Retail

By |2018-11-09T11:00:32+00:00November 9th, 2018|Chatbot & AI, Retail|

Vocal Assistants in Retail made their first appearance in 2014 when Domino’s Pizza introduced the possibility of making voice orders via their mobile app.

Since then it has been a crescendo that has led to today’s widespread numerous Voice Assistants, that are increasingly revolutionizing the way consumers interact with Brands.

By some defined as Voice Assistants and by others as Voicebots, these applications are the new frontier in the development of Conversational Interfaces.

They are not just a new channel that companies must consider within their omnichannel strategy but also a lever, able to redesign the Customer Journey.

As the number and variety of devices capable of supporting Vocal Assistants grows, the consumer will have the opportunity to stay more connected in different places. It is precisely this integration that the Tech industries are working on and brands must aim at, to create a continuous connection with their consumers.

But what will be more specifically the impact of Voice Assistants in Retail?

Virtual Assistants in Retail will lead to a real revolution

Consumers are becoming more aware that soon they will increasingly use Voice Assistants to place orders online: as many as 40% say that within three years they would prefer this technology instead of an application or having to physically go to a store.

This future perspective is already a reality: according to the research carried out by Capgemini, as many as 51% of the consumers interviewed said they had already used Assistants, above all to receive information, for example weather news, or to play videos and music. Their use is also growing to buy products (35%), above all technology and books, order a meal (34%), make a payment (28%) or book a taxi (31%).

This increase in functionality is certainly because Artificial Intelligence is making great progress and can better understand requests and manage them even when they are more complex.

For this reason, it is estimated that in the future there will be an increase in their use in the E-Commerce sector.

Consumers are increasingly using Voice Assistants

The people who most use Vocal Assistants have an average age between 33 and 45 and judge the experience as positive. Another common element is the embarrassment they experience in interacting with these devices. In fact, it emerged that as many as 69% still prefer to use them inside the home and that they feel uncomfortable talking to an Assistant in a public place.

Less stress, availability every hour every day, the possibility of interaction even when your hands are occupied and greater speed in interacting with the Brand are the most recurring advantages as highlighted by users.

The most frequently used Voice Assistants are still those of the Smartphones, but the rapid diffusion of Smart Speakers suggests that this advantage will not last too long.

There are numerous benefits in using Voice Assistants in Retail

A 25% increase in NPS in the US – the Net Promoter Score, a tool used to assess a customer’s loyalty to a Brand – is another index that underlines the benefits deriving from the use of Voice Assistants in Retail, a real opportunity for companies to increase Customer Satisfaction.

Integrating these Assistants into a business also has the effect of generating positive word of mouth among consumers, who will share their experience with other people and will be more likely to interact with the Brand in the future.

Voice Assistants in Retail, moreover, can also be used in after-sales, for example to quickly receive information on the progress of shipments or to access information on how to return a purchase.

The next developments

The picture that emerged from the Capgemini research seems favorable to an ever-increasing spread of Voice Assistants with advantages for Brand and Customers.

If on the one hand Brands, especially in European countries, have not yet developed solutions it’s because in some areas there is a spread of Smart Speakers. On the other hand, however, consumers seem to appreciate the benefits deriving from their use but at the same time they still have reservations about the treatment of data and information given, they feel uncomfortable interacting vocally and, in some situations, they don’t like the fact of not being able to see information on a screen.

Finally, in the future, Voice Assistants like Amazon’s will have to integrate even within mobile devices. This integration will also be essential to ensure interaction with the bot not only when you are at home or near the Smart Speaker but at all times daily.


Sources: Capgemini, 123RF