What Does Voice Search Mean for E-Commerce

“Hey Google… what’s the deal with voice search and its role in e-commerce?”

Think the combination of voice search and e-commerce is still in its infancy? Think again. Recent statistics show that 16% of Americans own a smart speaker (that’s 39 million people) and the number is increasing rapidly. Jeff Bezos is proud to report that more than 20 million Amazon Alexa units have been sold since their introduction, while Google sold 6.8 million Google Home smart speakers during the 2017 holiday season alone.

Consumers are all about voice search, so what does this mean for your e-commerce business?

Voice Search Options

Most consumers today will use one of two virtual “assistants” to conduct voice searches when using their smartphone – either Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant. Siri only works with Apple products, while Assistant does not require an Android device. In fact, home computer browsers (Mac and PC) can use voice search when scouring the Internet via Google Chrome. The other option for voice search is a smart home speaker like Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Home speaker.

Why Should Brands Pay Attention to Voice Search?

Though voice search-based purchases represent only about 10% of all online purchases made today, the rate at which people are using voice search to complete transactions (many of them initiated by product research done via voice prompts) is gaining traction in a big way. Here are several considerations to weigh as you adopt a strategy to take advantage of the power of voice search:

It’ll Amplify the Importance of Customer Loyalty

With an Alexa system or Google Home speaker, the device becomes the ‘gatekeeper,’ wherein your brand must rely on the actual smart speaker to connect customers to your product. Guess which grocery store an Amazon Alexa system will naturally seek to connect customers to? You guessed it, Whole Foods, which is owned by Amazon.

E-commerce brands must focus on securing repeat business and fostering loyalty among customers to ensure voice search devices don’t inadvertently steer clients away. Create a loyalty program, cascade emails to previous customers with compelling discounts, or create a referral discount that’ll spread your brand’s reach. The goal is to foster loyalty and minimize the potential interference of the smart speaker.

Advertising Mediums Are Changing

Instead of focusing on traditional advertising methods, consider the way voice search will drive your brand’s ability to connect with clients. Yes, the preeminent social media platforms and leading search engines like Google do an admirable job at peppering in ads that are engineered to capture the attention of the web browser, but smart speakers can’t really do this. There simply aren’t any eyes to capture. Create different strategies to advertise to customers.

Optimizing Content for Voice Search Is Critical

As your content team refreshes and builds out your brand’s content, keep in mind that general content and your keyword strategy must be tweaked a bit in order to maximize results from voice searches via Google or a smart speaker.

For example, your auto parts e-commerce company may have previously optimized content to contain the popular keywords “best Ford brake pads,” but that chain of keywords isn’t representative of how people really talk or how they’d conduct a voice search. Instead, content creators should use a long-tail concept that may include a phrase like “what are the best brake pads for a Ford F-150 pickup truck?” The idea is to build out conversational content to gain voice-based SEO value.

We’re still witnessing the growth phase of voice search e-commerce activities, but optimizing your brand to take advantage of it now will position you for a greater likelihood of success in the coming months.

Let’s talk.