Ecommerce

Enhancing e-commerce Apps with Voice Shopping Features like Alexa's

October 3, 2023

This comprehensive guide provides in-depth insights on enhancing e-commerce apps with voice shopping capabilities. Learn technical requirements, core features, optimization tips, emerging voice commerce trends, and how to partner with a leading e-commerce app development company like Consagous.

Voice commerce is rapidly emerging as the next frontier for digital e-commerce app development. As consumer adoption of assistants like Alexa accelerates, e-commerce app development companies must act now to remain competitive by enhancing their mobile e-commerce apps with robust voice shopping functionality.

This comprehensive guide provides an in-depth look at the technical considerations for integrating conversational AI into existing e-commerce app platforms. Best practices are outlined for architecting seamless voice experiences that drive business growth.

Image 

The Rise of Voice Assistants Creates a New Commerce Paradigm

The past few years have seen explosive growth in voice assistant usage through devices like smart speakers. 

Key statistics:

  • 30% of US households now utilize a voice assistant. 
  • The voice shopping market is expected to reach $40 billion

This demonstrates that conversational platforms are transforming how consumers browse, purchase, and engage with brands. Savvy retailers are responding by exploring integrations of voice capabilities within their e-commerce apps.

Why Add Voice Shopping to Your E-commerce App?

There are a few key reasons why enabling voice-powered purchases in your e-commerce app can be beneficial:

  • Convenience: 

Voice shopping removes friction from the purchase process. Instead of needing to grab your phone or log into an app, just ask your voice assistant out loud to buy something, and it's done. This makes impulse purchases more likely.

Image

  • Accessibility: 

Voice shopping makes e-commerce more accessible for specific groups like busy parents, elderly users, and those with disabilities, which makes traditional shopping apps challenging to navigate. Expanding accessibility means expanding your potential customer base.

  • Competitive Edge: 

As voice shopping grows more popular, consumers will expect their favorite shopping apps to offer voice-enabled capabilities. Building this functionality early can set you apart from competitors.

  • Valuable Data: 

Voice shopping provides another data source about how customers interact with your app. This can reveal insights to help you improve the overall shopping experience.

Image

Clearly, there are some compelling benefits to integrating voice shopping experiences into e-commerce apps. 

But how do you actually go about it?

How to Add Voice Shopping to Your E-commerce Mobile App

Adding voice-powered purchasing functionality to an e-commerce app development involves three key steps:

1. Select Your Voice Assistant Platform;

The first decision is choosing which voice assistant platform you want to build for. The main players right now are:

Consider which platforms your target users are most likely engaging with. Building for multiple platforms takes more effort but gives you a wider reach.

Image

2. Integrate with the Platform's Commerce API

Once you've picked your voice assistant(s), you need to integrate your e-commerce app with the platform's API for commerce transactions.

  • For Amazon Alexa, this means integrating with the Alexa Shopping and To-Do Shopping APIs. 

This allows you to manage customer identity, manage shopping carts, create new orders, and more, all through voice.

  • For Google Assistant, you can leverage its native shopping actions functionality as well as tools like Cartfly to manage voice-driven carts and purchases.
  • For Apple Siri, the focus is on enabling purchases through Apple Pay and linking back to your iOS app.

Carefully go through all the documentation for your selected platform(s) to properly integrate the voice commerce capabilities.

3. Optimize the User Experience

The final step is optimizing the full voice shopping workflow within your e-commerce app development solutions

Some best practices include:

  • Natural language processing - Ensure your app understands a variety of product search phrases.
  • Confirmation prompts - Seek confirmation before finalizing purchases to prevent unwanted orders.
  • Order status updates - Follow up on voice-initiated orders with notifications in your app.
  • Easy access - Make invoking your app's voice features hands-free with wake word triggering.
  • Helpful responses - Provide detailed responses to voice commands for a smooth experience.
  • User testing - Thoroughly test voice flows from start to finish from the user's perspective.

Take the time to smooth out all the rough edges to craft a seamless voice shopping experience.

Now let's explore some real-world examples of companies innovating with voice commerce.

Image

Voice Commerce in Action

Here are a few brands leading the way in voice shopping:

1. Domino's Pizza

Domino's allows customers to order pizza via voice assistants, smart TVs, and even connected cars. They continue to expand integrations, letting users order from virtually any device.

2. Sephora

Sephora developed a voice assistant shopper named Sephora to Go. Users can get makeup recommendations and add products to in-app carts via voice. 

Image

3. Walmart

Walmart customers can add groceries and essentials to their carts by speaking to Google Assistant devices. Users link their accounts for quick checkout.

4. Disney Parks

Disney developed an AI assistant so guests can get park information just by speaking into their phones. It uses NLP to understand diverse requests.

These examples showcase the versatility of voice commerce. 

Potential Challenges with Voice Commerce

While voice shopping offers many benefits, there are also some potential pitfalls to consider:

Voice assistants may struggle to understand certain accents or non-native languages if they are not exposed to enough linguistic diversity in training. This could limit accessibility.

  • Background noise in environments can interfere with voice commands and contribute to errors. Users may become frustrated repeating themselves.
  • Privacy concerns exist regarding voice data collection. Brands must be transparent about how they utilize and secure user voice data.
  • Voice commerce remains limited for certain types of purchases that may require visual inspection or input. Complex transactions could be problematic.

Being aware of these challenges can allow brands to proactively design voice experiences to overcome them as much as possible. Continued technological advances will also help mitigate issues over time.

Your Questions Answered

  • What are the main risks involved with implementing voice commerce capabilities in e-commerce apps?

The lack of visual confirmations and disclaimers in voice interfaces increases the potential for errors and miscommunications compared to screen-based experiences. 

Extensive testing across use cases is critical to identify gaps in dialog handling. Companies also need to prioritize security against emerging threats like voice deepfakes which can spoof legitimate customer voices. 

Overall, voice commerce requires stringent governance to ensure a smooth and protected experience.

  • What is the future outlook and forecast for voice commerce over the next 5 years?

Voice shopping is projected to become a mainstream retail channel over the coming years as smart speaker and voice assistant adoption continues to proliferate. 

According to research, the total market for voice commerce transactions will exceed $40 billion globally.

Looking ahead, e-commerce app development companies need to invest in voice capabilities now to get ahead of the curve before it becomes table stakes. Brands that lead with innovation in conversational interfaces and voice AI integrations will have a clear competitive advantage in engaging the next generation of voice-first consumers.

  • How can retailers optimize their e-commerce apps for voice search?

Brands need to ensure their product catalog is optimized for voice discovery by using natural language descriptions tailored for conversational contexts. 

Support long-tail keyword variations that customers may use in commands. Participate in voice assistant skill marketplaces to increase discoverability. 

Enhance the backend to serve up contextually relevant results tailored to the customer's prior interactions and location. Utilize voice analytics to identify common utterances that miss results and continue refining.

  • What KPIs and metrics can help e-commerce companies measure the success of voice commerce initiatives?

Key performance indicators to track include overall voice shopping adoption and usage, repeat purchase rates through voice, voice commerce's revenue contribution, and impact on re-order or replenishment frequencies. 

Compare key metrics between voice shoppers and non-voice shoppers. Monitor voice command analytics to identify opportunities to improve dialogs and conversion. 

Voice commerce success requires a mix of quantitative metrics and qualitative insights into the customer experience.

Summary

Act Now to Lead Through Voice Innovation

Voice shopping's ascent is clear - conversational interfaces will reshape the e-commerce landscape. Retailers that rapidly embrace voice can gain an advantage in delivering intuitive shopping experiences.

To enable next-generation voice commerce experiences in your mobile app, partner with the experts at Consagous. We’re a leading e-commerce app development company experienced in building innovative voice interfaces optimized for results.

Be the voice commerce innovator in your industry with our best-in-class e-commerce app developers.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and transform the way your customers shop through the power of conversational AI.