“Alexa, get me up to speed with voice commerce”

“Alexa, get me up to speed with voice commerce”

“Alexa, get me up to speed with voice commerce”

By 2030 it is expected that voice-assisted commerce will account for 30% of overall ecommerce sales. Online stores have been slow to fully adopt voice commerce, and it is very much in its infancy. So far, the most prevalent progressions in voice commerce are features such as a voice search option on-site, rather than manually submitting a search, however there is scope for far more development in the coming years. 

 

What is voice-based ecommerce?

While voice recognition technology goes as far back as the 1960s, it wouldn’t be until 2011 and 2012 Siri would be available on iPhones, and Android would release their counterpart, respectively.   

Voice technology might not be necessarily a new invention, but consumers are increasingly adopting it and retailers are becoming more and more accommodating to this trend. It’s safe to bet that voice commerce will surge over the next five years.  

Voice commerce refers to using your voice to search for or purchase products online. All you need is to speak to your digital voice assistant.  

To understand voice commerce, let’s look at its foundation: voice recognition technology. 

Voice recognition technology allows devices to recognise your voice. It sounds simple, but it’s more complicated.

Voice recognition technology filters sounds into a readable format that it can translate. The technology then leverages inputs and algorithms to interpret what was said, and respond accordingly. As with many A.I. applications, it continually improves.  

Devices such as smartphones and smart speakers use voice recognition to interpret questions, commands, and more.  

Voice commerce does have some requirements in order to be truly frictionless:

It requires a device that has a voice assistant and allow it time to understand the user  and learn to interpret their speech.

It’s also necessary to set up payment information in the user’s digital wallet for quick buying.  

However, when everything is set up, voice commerce is truly effortless and presents many opportunities for businesses.  

“Okay Google – what’s the best-reviewed gaming laptop?”

“Hey Alexa – give me running shoes at a discount?” 

Voice commerce presents an infinite number of paths your shoppers can take. Customers don’t necessarily need to have a specific product in mind – just a problem they need a solution for, that they use voice command to get them from a to b. Voice commerce allows consumers to engage with a conversation with technology – and your business – to explore different products, services, and more. 

Pain points in ecommerce

Conversational commerce or chat commerce or conversational marketing is a way online retailers sell their products and services by conversation

How does voice commerce improve the shopping experience?

Customer experience is leading the ecommerce agenda, and convenience is at the heart of this. Consumers want fast, secure, and personalised shopping. Voice commerce offers all of these, and is becoming hot:

Convenience and Faster shopping journeys

Speaking is faster than typing. It only makes sense therefore that customers would use voice assistants where they can. It allows consumers to shop without having to put the rest of their life on pause. 

All in all, voice commerce provides a smoother and smarter buying journey.

Creating more personalised shopping experiences. 

Personalisation is everything to the consumer in today’s world of ecommerce. There’s no way of getting away from it.  Voice commerce presents a more personalised experience because by design they get to understand the shopper they’re talking to. The ability to save order histories, provide an easy path to reorder, and quick recommendations makes for a better experience all around.

Make your products easily discoverable

Voice commerce also expands the reach of your products. Google’s voice search feature means that if your products are listed on Google Shopping, any consumer using voice shopping will be able to find them.  This presents an excellent opportunity.

How can businesses take advantage of voice shopping?

Subscriptions and reordering

Reordering is one of the most common uses for voice commerce. The reason for this is that voice commerce already takes into account historical orders and provides a simple path for users to be able to reorder goods. Common examples include haircare products, supplements, food and beverage, and more.

Product recommendations

You can also use voice commerce for merchandising purposes. It gives you historical data and intel into your customer purchasing behavior, which allows you to push specific products that they will appreciate. 

Voice commerce platforms can begin to understand their consumers’ preferences like dietary restrictions, past purchases, and more to make relevant product recommendations during a voice search.

Looking beyond on-site voice functionality 

Slow product discovery is one of the top frustrations for ecommerce shoppers so there is vast potential to capitalise on voice commerce for its purchasing convenience, namely by ordering products directly through voice assistants rather than accessing the website first. The thing is, unlike Amazon, a majority of retailers do not have their own voice assistant platform or voice-enabled devices, so if merchants wish to spearhead the future of voice commerce and become truly voice accessible via the likes of Alexa or Google Assistant, they’ll have to enter into partnerships with these tech giants.

A few companies have already set a precedent. For example, Google and Walmart teamed up to offer Walmart’s customers voice-assisted grocery shopping. Walmart’s Voice Order feature works across all platforms that are powered by Google Assistant, including smartphones, smartwatches and Google’s smart speakers so that items can be ordered without even having to access the store.

What is the future of voice commerce?

Voice commerce might be somewhat new to the ecommerce space, but it’s growing rapidly, and expected reach a staggering $19.4 billion in 2023. If you haven’t already, it could be time to consider leveraging voice-activated shopping  for your ecommerce store. 

 

Considering new and historical barriers

These partnerships offer a huge opportunity to be one of the first to enter the voice-based market, and we are likely to see others follow suit as voice commerce evolves. However, it is likely that these partnerships will be somewhat restricted. Currently, these partnerships are exclusively in the United States, where demand for voice commerce is higher and there is a drive to progress with the technology. In fact, in the United States voice commerce is the fastest growing sales channel with the voice technology user base in the U.S. accounting for 42.7% of the population.

However it seems that in Europe, the European Union has already put a stake in the ground, with policies expected to follow in the coming years that might pose a barrier to uptake in the region.

The main concern is surrounding competition. Only a small number of major players control the voice assistance market, including Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. Practices limit the possibility to use multiple voice assistants on a singular device (for example, Amazon’s Alexa will not utilise Apple’s Siri upon devices). This means that the owners of specific voice assistants have full control over user relationships, potentially impacting the discoverability and visibility of rival services.

It is also worth noting that uptake by customers may be slow. It is a lot harder for customers to trust the purchase of a product they can’t see, however there are ways voice assistants may be able to overcome this. Solutions that employ voice and visuals such as Amazon’s Echo Show provide a richer experience. That being said, connecting with shoppers on-site before purchase is likely to become a requisite for those retailers looking to cement sales.

In line with the lack of trust surrounding non-visual purchases, it is likely that we will see voice commerce most popular with repeat purchases – those that shoppers deem as low risk as they are confident with what they are spending their money on, for example groceries. In fact, based on analysis, the grocery product segment dominated in 2020, with more than 39% share. Despite shoppers looking for conveniences, those items that require a little more consideration and research are not likely to be purchased until a shopper has performed their due diligence.

Not all banks or financial institutions allow voice commerce purchases – largely down to the novelty of the technology. As well as this, there are concerns surrounding the reliability and safety of purchasing with voice commands. Furthermore, most voice commerce shoppers make low-value purchases.The seamlessness of voice commerce makes it seen as less secure – after all, passwords and verification methods aren’t generally used. 

There’s still a way to go. Conversational AI is still an emerging technology, meaning it’s not completely intuitive to a lot of people. Every person’s speaking voice is unique, and machines may struggle to understand accents, slang, and other nuances. Developers have to  continuously improve language features, to overcome this challenge.  

Getting the ball rolling

Regardless, voice commerce is more than just the act of purchasing. There are a number of ways retailers can begin optimising for voice commerce in the buildup to purchase, by enhancing discoverability – think SEO for voice. 

For example, optimising content to increase your chances of appearing in voice searches. This includes:

  • Answer ‘Who’, ‘What’, ‘Where’ and ‘How’ Questions
  • Optimise for long-tail queries
  • User conversational language
  • Account for regional dialects
  • Anticipate questions

Another consideration is to add new skills on Alexa and Google devices. Alexa has hundreds of thousands of skills that have an answer to almost every question users ask. Now, retailers are able to add value and improve CX by installing their own skills onto well known voice assistants to provide more context and answer questions specific to their business.

Showing their commitment to drive voice commerce and its adoption by smaller retailers, in February, Amazon made public a developer tool called Alexa Conversations, which uses deep learning to make conversations flow naturally: This should open the door to smaller retailers to develop skills, who have previously been reluctant due to resources as rather than pre-program Alexa with a whole host of possible commands or questions that customers might ask, Conversations is able to learn broad categories of conversation.

 

A tipping point

Major players in the voice commerce space have made moves in the last year to drive this growing way of shopping forward, with retailers strategizing in line with these. As these initiatives solidify, it is likely that other regions, besides the United States, will follow suit and make more significant steps that demonstrate commitment to voice commerce. Until then, it is important for retailers to look beyond the standard on-site voice functionality and familiarise themselves with the scope of possibilities available directly through voice assistants so that they can hit the ground running when the rest of the world catches up to The States’ level of adoption.

 

Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

Open Source Elasticsearch Is Not so Open Anymore: Enter Findologic

Open Source Elasticsearch Is Not so Open Anymore: Enter Findologic

Marcel Krabath

Open Source Elasticsearch Is Not so Open Anymore: Enter Findologic

The conflict between AWS and Elasticsearch has come to a head, forcing many ecommerce businesses to rethink their offering – but what are the alternatives?

Over the years, Amazon has been criticised by the open source community for taking advantage of the freely available software and the launch of Amazon’s Elasticsearch Service, underpinned by the open source, Elasticsearch was no different. When AWS made the decision to use Elastic’s code on its cloud and profit from it as a managed service, Elastic’s CEO, Shay Banon responded, saying that “some cloud service providers have taken advantage of open source products by providing them as a service, without contributing back.“

Back in January 2021, Elasticsearch acted, changing its licence from the open-source Apache 2.0-license (ALv2) to the non-open-source friendly Server Side Public Licence (SSPL) in order to prevent what they call “big code robbery”. The new licensing states that users do not have the right to sell the software, meaning third parties can not sell the software for a fee or as a product or service.

This had a direct impact on AWS’s Elasticsearch offering, so it comes as no surprise that AWS announced the release of OpenSearch, a fork derived from versions 7.10.2 of Elasticsearch and Kibana and licensed under Elastic’s previous and permissive Apache 2.0 licence. In short, Amazon is able to continue to use the previous version of Elasticsearch, under the same offering and build upon this themselves to continuously enhance its abilities, although they will be unable to pull in future versions of Elasticsearch core code.

So, if you’re an Elasticsearch user you’ve probably asked yourself the question: should I continue using the software under the new licensing or look for an alternative?

Is Elasticsearch still a good choice?

The licence change of  Elasticsearch v2 will no doubt force many retailers to rethink their choice of software. Fundamentally, a majority of online stores will be looking to drive monetary growth with the assistance of Elasticsearch, however the new licence for Elasticsearch v2 has created an air of uncertainty and confusion surrounding the product and the repercussions that may ensue for commercial use.

Licensing aside, Elasticsearch is a complex system and requires extensive maintenance and configuration in order to tailor it to your specific needs. Even as a managed service, such as the one offered by AWS or or Elastic, there is still a high level of technical burden.

    Enter: Findologic

    If you’ve built your own online services on Elasticsearch, the SSPL license is most likely a risk your company will not want to take.

    You might consider AWS new OpenSearch offering as an alternative, however for a majority of retailers today, software is about easy to use solutions with minimal burden – as a bare search API, the retailer would have to integrate OpenSearch into their site manually and manage significant setup to tailor it to their specific needs. Even after this, developers still have to build UI features such as Shopping Guides, Autocomplete and Promotions.

    The closest and most trusted alternative to Elasticsearch within the open source community is Solr – it is a mature product with a broad user community and has no single company controlling contributions.

    Built upon the latest version of Solr, Findologic has created a platform that allows for comprehensive search and navigation optimisation, minus the technical burden. Rather than spending time, resources and money to create, maintain and develop a search solution underpinned by Solr, Findologic does all the hard work, with tried and tested, revenue boosting software including an AI layer without the risk of repercussions.

    By creating a powerful platform that looks beyond traditional search and navigation approaches, innovating every stage of a customer’s journey for usability, inspiration, guidance and personalisation, retailers are able to benefit from sophisticated technology, without the excruciating challenge of developing or maintaining the underlying technology themselves.

    So, if you’re after a quick win and want to leave the licensing headache and internal development battle in the past, the better choice today is another vendor altogether – one who has already done the leg work and created a ready to use platform that can be relied on.

    About Findologic

    Search and navigation are at the epicentre of any user’s path to purchase – Findologic has over 13 years of experience in this and is one of the world’s leading providers today. Bridging the gap between in-store and online retail experience is a requirement for any online retailer – Findologic’s comprehensive set of features supercharges customer journeys, optimising every element of a browser’s pathway to conversion for efficiency and intuitiveness.

    Satisfy your customers and increase revenue: harnessing the latest A.I. technologies, Findologic’s search and navigation platform is more intelligent than ever, drilling into user behaviours to personalise every journey and present users with gold-standard outputs that convert.

    Marcel Krabath

    Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders on a range of marketing initiatives.

    Findologic and BigCommerce announce strategic partnership to power online CX for retailers

    Findologic and BigCommerce announce strategic partnership to power online CX for retailers

    Findologic and BigCommerce announce strategic partnership to power online CX for retailers

    Findologic, a leading search and navigation platform, has announced its pan-European partnership with global ecommerce platform provider, BigCommerce.  The strategic alliance sees the two tech leaders join forces to offer retailers new and innovative ways to power online customer experiences that drive sales and build long-term customer loyalty.

    Findologic’s solution helps supercharge ecommerce conversions by allowing retailers to optimise every element of a shopper’s path to purchase – from enhanced on-site search and navigation to serving up hyper-personalised content that supports an individual customer’s buying journey, to UX optimisation, shopping guides and online merchandising. 

    Its Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered virtual shopping assistant, Li.S.A. –, uses intent signals and discovery to deliver improved on-site search.  Rather than relying on keywords alone, which can often return volumes of random results, Li.S.A. is able to analyse behaviours to understand each shopper’s intent, in order to deliver personalised recommendations that are more likely to convert.

    Marking the launch of the partnership, Findologic will release a plug-in that allows brands and retailers already using the BigCommerce platform to quickly and easily enhance on-site search and navigation.

    Using the newly developed app available on the BigCommerce platform, retailers can transform digital buying journeys using Findologic in as little as 5 weeks – from an initial scope of work, which includes a bespoke project plan, through to integration, testing and go-live.  Findologic’s user interface allows direct integration into retailers’ online store fronts, while its mobile-first technology ensures that User Experience (UX) is optimised and future-proofed, no matter what channel or device the customer chooses to shop on.

    Matthias Heimbeck, CEO of Findologic, commented: “By basing on-site search on intent and not keywords, we help retailers revolutionise the way shoppers are served results online, to enhance CX, drive conversions and revenues, all while reducing returns and improving customer lifetime value.  We’re excited to be working with BigCommerce to offer up these capabilities to its customers, so that they too can drive value across their business – and this is just the start of that journey.  

    “Looking ahead, we will be collaborating closely to offer up a combined technology roadmap that pushes the envelope on innovation and enables retailers to evolve and future-proof their ecommerce operations,” he added.

    Deepak Anand, Senior Director at BigCommerce, said: “As two businesses that put the enhancement of customer experience at the front and centre of what we do, this is a natural fit that we should come together and collaborate formally as partners.  With so much opportunity to grow the online channel, as we have seen demand for ecommerce accelerated and sustained since the start of the pandemic, our partnership will allow retailers and brands to optimise ecommerce shopping journeys to meet the ongoing needs of customers.”

    Rachel King

    Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders for a range of marketing initiatives.

    Measuring Pain Point Severity to Prioritise Business Actions

    Measuring Pain Point Severity to Prioritise Business Actions

    Measuring Pain Point Severity to Prioritise Business Actions

    Pain point analysis is essential within eCommerce. It provides a method for assessing the severity of pain points across your website, allowing retailers to prioritise areas for improvement, and understand where their time, resources and budget will have the most impact. Companies investing in their customer journey must be clear about what value particular activities will generate. 

    Common sense suggests to prioritise the issue which impacts the highest amount of people, however, this isn’t always the best approach. Perhaps 100 people are affected by an issue, however, this issue is minor, and will not cause any of those individuals to abandon your website. 

    Meanwhile, 2 people may be experiencing a very severe issue. So severe that they abandon your website and never return.

    Which is more important for your eCommerce team to prioritise?

     

    Define your users, and customer journeys on your online store

    Anybody can identify pain points throughout an online store, however selecting pain points to measure at random, rather than addressing customer journeys one by one, won’t enable any journeys to be fully optimised from start to finish. Instead, retailers should focus on identifying end-to-end customer journeys and optimising the weaker touchpoints. This way, we can focus on streamlining overall customer journeys and ensuring consistency throughout rather than individual pain points.

    To do this, retailers should categorise their users and map out key journeys within these categories, defining important interactions within each journey.

     

    Decide which key metrics you want to measure

    Typically, measuring a pain point considers not just the number of individuals affected by it, but the severity of the pain point. There are a number of data sets an online retailer might harvest in order to measure the severity of a pain point, most notably, impact, reach and task completion time. These metrics are gathered automatically and can be harvested by eCommerce teams via analytical tools.

    However, there are other valuable metrics we can leverage. A more holistic approach utilising a mixture of data sets provides a more comprehensive picture of which aspects of your website require your attention. These data sets require users to provide feedback on the experience and provide insights into a user’s perceived experience rather than the organisation’s assumptions based on user behaviours. These include customer satisfaction, customer effort and net promoter score (NPS).

    A combination of the two data types provides a more comprehensive and accurate picture of a user’s experience with a particular touchpoint. 

     

    Design a scoring system to assess pain-point severity

    The easiest way to define the severity of a pain point is by rating each metric in a pre-defined and consistent manner. Internally, this will require your team to determine scales for each metric and agree upon fixed criteria that will categorise pain points into particular levels of severity upon the scale.

    For example, a typical scale may look something like this:

    • Critical: If we do not fix this, users will not be able to complete the scenario.
    • Serious: Many users will be frustrated if we do not fix this; they may give up.
    • High: There are a few barriers to a user achieving their goal.
    • Moderate: Impacts core journey and users experience reduced performance.
    • Minor: Users are annoyed, but this does not keep them from completing the scenario. This should be revisited later.

     

    Measure

    Let’s compile a list of the data sets we decided to gather earlier and rank each of these metrics on our aforementioned scale, where a score of 1 is a critical issue and a score of 5 is a minor issue:

    1. Impact: score of 4 (moderate)
    2. Reach: score of 1 (impacted upwards of 80% of users)
    3. Task completion time: score of 5 (10 seconds – the quickest 20% of users)
    4. Customer satisfaction: score of 4 (user was satisfied)
    5. Customer effort: scored 5 (minimum effort)
    6. NPS: scored 4 (likely to recommend)

    Medium has generated a formula for calculating the overall pain point severity based on these metrics, however, retailers can create a formula that suits them – the important thing is that is consistent:

    (Impact x Reach x Task completion time) +(Customer satisfaction x Customer effort x NPS)
    Divided by total possible score (250)
    Multiplied by 100 to find the percentage

    (4 x 1 x 5) + (4 x 5 x 5) = 120

    (120 / 250 = 0.48) x 100 = 48

    So, our pain point score is 48!

     

    What does this mean?

    It is important that your team defines their own benchmarks internally to determine pain point thresholds. Typically, this becomes clear over time, as you become more familiar with which scores require immediate action. However, the higher the score, the better that touchpoint is performing.

    As an example, you may decide that any score under 10 needs to be actioned immediately and is earmarked as a high priority. On the other hand, scores over 80 indicate that individuals have a higher tolerance – these will become a lower priority on the corporate agenda. Of course, threshold tolerance depends will vary from business to business.

    Ultimately, this approach ensures quick wins that will have the largest impact. Many companies begin customer-experience efforts with plans to reinvent the wheel, however, one of the single most important things a company can do to achieve a gold-standard CX is link activities to the value they will add. Simply prioritising CX initiatives based on their severity is an important first step in the roadmap to eCommerce excellence.

    Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders for a range of marketing initiatives.

    Findologic appoint Steven Ledgerwood as CRO

    Findologic appoint Steven Ledgerwood as CRO

    Findologic appoint Steven Ledgerwood as CRO

    Findologic, the leading search and navigation platform, has today announced the appointment of Steven Ledgerwood as its new Chief Revenue Officer (CRO). 

    Former EMEA MD of Conductor, a search and content intelligence platform that helps marketers improve visibility online, Ledgerwood joins Findologic with extensive MarTech experience, having held senior executive and board-level roles at Exponea and Emarsys.  

    Having successfully led commercial organisations in the MarTech space for over 15 years across key global markets, including EMEA, APAC and the Americas, Ledgerwood is no stranger to creating and implementing the strategies needed to dramatically accelerate business performance and growth, whether its delivering operational excellence through the creation of new teams or strategising entry into new markets. 

    As CRO, Ledgerwood will spearhead the success of Findologic’s EMEA operations as it eyes ambitious growth plans to solidify its position as the foremost solution provider for global site search and navigation in key markets, including DACH and the UK.  He will be charged with growing the number of retailers and brands who would benefit from Findologic’s solution, including the use of its latest product, Li.S.A.® –®, an AI-based virtual shopping assistant that uses intent signals and discovery to power improved on-site search, whilst expanding the use of Findologic’s capabilities within its existing customer-base. 

    Already working with major European brands, including Carrera Toys, Plumbworld, Lucky Bike, Expert and Pour Moi, Findologic’s 150-strong partner ecosystem – including technology solutions, such as Styla and Nosto, and integrations with global commerce platforms, from SAP and ShopifyPlus to Magento2 and commercetools – perfectly places the business to support brands’ and retailers’ digital transformation journeys as demand for eCommerce continues to boom. 

    Ledgerwood joins at an exciting time for the business, as it announced rapid growth in 2020 and has grown its European team by +25% in the last year.

    „We’re very excited to bring Steve on board,” said Matthias Heimbeck, CEO of Findologic.  “He is a great asset to the team and this move will ensure we can further leverage our strong positioning and innovative services as we expand into new markets and consolidate our leading standing within regions where we already operate.  His profound experience will allow us to scale, setting world-class standards for customer experience as the eCommerce market continues to accelerate at pace.“

    Speaking on his appointment, Ledgerwood commented: “Demand for eCommerce has never been higher, so the imperative is on retail businesses to not only to establish themselves online, but to offer up engaging and straightforward customer experiences that differentiate them from the competition, and keep customers coming back.  Findologic’s solution is uniquely placed to help retailers achieve that; by basing on-site search on intent and not keywords, it revolutionises the way shoppers are served results online, to enhance CX, drive conversions and revenues, all while reducing returns and improving customer lifetime value.”

    Rachel King

    Rachel is a Content Marketing Specialist, creating insightful materials on all things eCommerce, tech and Findologic that drive growth and awareness. Rachel has a wide understanding of the tech space, before joining Findologic, she produced content for global FinTech publications as well as working closely with industry leaders for a range of marketing initiatives.

    Findologic joins forces with Nosto 🚀
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