If you’re talking to your phone to remind you to make a telephone call or even help you keep up with a beauty salon appointment, you are one among the millennial tribe, which has moved over apps. Conversational commerce has revolutionized commerce, but retailers are now equipping themselves to serve voice assistants like Google Home Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple’s Siri.A new age consumer is not interested to place an order any more, but to simply talk to their devices, writes ShwethaSatyanarayan.
Consider this: As you wake up, you realize you have to buy groceries, tomorrow is the last day to pay electricity bill and you need to book movie tickets for the weekend. And you do all thisin less than five minutes, at the comfort of sitting on your bed, not scrolling on your phone, but just talking to your voice assistant device.
“The convenience that artificial intelligence (AI) brings through conversational systems like voice assistant is unimaginable. Whether it’s buying groceries or even doing banking transactions, through voice shopping, users can give instructions in their native language without even having to touch a gadget. This saves all the time and effort,” says Ram Menon, founder of Avaamo.
It is this convenience that retailers are relying on to attract young consumers, and also the reason why the voice-and-speech recognition market in Asia Pacific is expected to become a whopping $127.6 bn market in the next six years. Last year, the estimated size of the market was $397.5 mn.
This year alone, the voice-and-speech recognition market in India stands at an estimated Rs 100 crore market.
According to the KPMG Retail Trends 2018 report, globally, it is now a norm to speak to devices at home, and these devices have even grown to become a part of a family. The report says, “Amazon is penetrating the mass market with Echo and Alexa devices, and nearly overnight it has become the norm to speak to a small device in your home, and to many it almost feels like part of the family.”
While these devices use chatbot technology and voice recognition simultaneously, they create a seamless user experience for a user who doesn’t have to type anything or look anywhere far to find what he needs.
“By speaking directly to Alexa, a user can place food orders, play music, plan events, check calendar, make phone calls and so on, and the list is endless. All a consumer has to do is just talk to her,” the report says.
Thishuman-device interaction and connection has led more people to turn to voice shopping. As per Accenture’s Digital Consumer Survey, 39% of India’s online population is likely to own some kind of digital voice assistant by the end of 2018.
Experts assert that voice will be the preferred mode of transaction for e-commerce, banking, and payments in the near future. Making these assertions true, companies like Aditya Birla Sunlife Insurance, HDFC in India have already turned to chatbots to assist their customers and even help them choose the right insurance policies based on their income, age and retirement plans. “Customers don’t have to talk to insurance company executives or bank agents to buy a policy. They can just talk to their device and get a policy,” says Menon.
In the next one year it is expected that over 150 million consumers who depend on internet will own a digital voice assistant device and mostly use them to carry out daily chores. Further, by 2020 it is also believed that 50 per cent of all online searches will be voice-based. “Artificial Intelligence is going to be so prevalent and pervasive that people will not even think or talk about it. It’s just going to be a part of our lives and voice shopping will be the biggest beneficiary. Voice shopping will continue to grow across all borders,” says Menon.