E-commerce marketing demands a voice to best serve customers

By Will Kelly

| Retail

A man using voice search to partake in e-commerce and make purchases


It’s no secret that voice recognition is becoming increasingly popular due to smart assistants. Voice is likely the first bullet point in e-commerce marketing presentations right now. In fact, according to a Capgemini survey of over 5,000 consumers in the US, the UK, France and Germany, voice assistants are indeed influencing buyer behavior. Forty percent of those surveyed responded that they will use a voice assistant rather than a website or app.

As consumers get more comfortable using smart assistants for search and purchasing, it’s clear that voice is a retail innovation to watch in 2018. Here’s an overview explaining some voice search and recognition basics and the impacts voice will have on the evolution of SEO and marketing:

Agnostic voice UI

Voice interfaces for retailers won’t be limited to smart assistants. Instead, voice will become a customer experience pillar right along with mobile. You can expect to see new agnostic voice UIs that support e-commerce searching.

While smart assistants are getting all the voice search love right now, it’s important to remember that voice is also coming to mobile devices and PCs. Smart assistant vendors and third parties are releasing app development tools that will contribute to this wave of Zero UI and voice will start showing up in other household devices such as TVs and alarm clocks in the near future, too.

The evolution of SEO

Your organization’s SEO skills don’t diminish in importance when you implement voice search on your e-commerce site. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, voice search is becoming a huge topic of discussion in SEO circles. Expect SEO to continue to evolve as more shoppers demand voice experience from e-commerce sites.

Voice-activated coupons

While Adweek reports that the use of voice-activated coupons is still in its infancy, expect to see their use increase in the future as major e-commerce retailers partner with voice assistants. You can also be sure that advertising firms and social media consultancies are following the voice-activated coupon trend closely.

E-commerce marketing essentials: Optimize for voice search

While SEO basics still apply to voice, there’s also a whole new practice of voice search optimization coming into its own. According to Search Engine Land, voice search queries are longer and more conversational than traditional search that’s based on people using short, pointed keyword phrases. Instead, voice search queries tend to mimic questions or requests users would make when calling a business on the phone.

Because voice search optimization goes a bit beyond the standard SEO your marketing team is already doing, understanding and integration of conversational keywords is essential.

Understand your customer

Like so much in technology, you must understand your customers when implementing voice search so you’ll understand what they seek from your site. Shoppers are seeking personalized experiences from e-commerce sites and brick-and-mortar retailers. Look for ways to speak with your customers to get their feedback on how you can best serve them via your e-commerce marketing.

You might be detached from the customer-facing sales and marketing of your site. However, you can look for ways to introduce your e-commerce back-end programmers and team members who support your company’s e-commerce site to help resolve technical feedback.

Use structured data markup

To ensure that voice search devices are getting the most possible content information on your site, be sure that your web team uses structured data markup. This makes it easier for search engines to parse and contextualize your site and generate rich snippets in search results. Search Engine Land advises that this practice is crucial to efficient and effective implementation of voice search.

Mine keyword research for search patterns

Identifying natural search patterns means mining keyword research for natural-reading phrases. Such phrases are usually less competitive and easier to win than the short phrases marketers usually focus on when creating content, so it’s important to educate marketing teams about this change.

Use featured snippets

E-Commerce Nation recommends using featured snippets because search engines don’t provide featured snippets for products — instead they provide them for answered questions. To make things even more challenging, not every question you answer will lead to a search engine generating a featured snippet. As a result, your web team will have to factor creating and maintaining them into their workflow.

Study mobile payments via voice

Mobile Payments Today has found that about 8 percent of people currently make purchases or payments using voice commands. That’s a trend expected to gain rapid momentum over the next few years, so it’s wise to start researching now what support your payment provider offers for voice payments.

It’s also prudent to start tracking the security side of voice payments. Voice payments are a place where your CIO shop can have a dramatic impact over adding voice to your organization’s e-commerce site through building proofs of concepts and conducting pilot projects now so you can stay ahead of your competitors.

Voice search is only going to become more popular and widespread, so it’s wise for your enterprise to consider starting to integrate and innovate with this tool to ensure your e-commerce site keeps up with consumer expectations.

Written By

Will Kelly

Technical Writer & Content Creator

Will Kelly is a technical writer and content creator focusing on cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and enterprise mobility. He started his writing career writing technical documentation for commercial and federal government clients but now focuses on thought leadership content.…

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