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Voice command: is it the future of online shopping?

By Regina Henkel


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With the spread of language assistants such as Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, online shopping has again taken a big step forward in its push for convenience-buying. By 2020 at the latest, 50 percent of search queries will be voice-based, according to market research company comsCore. When considering this innovative movement, certain questions inevitably arise: How will voice commands influence user behaviour in voice searches? And how will companies react to that?

Voice search will not replace traditional search formats

Running a search query with your voice and having the answer spoken back to you - while helpful - is not necessarily preferable in every context, and advancements in technology should always take one thing into account: usability. Voice searches certainly have their advantages. For example, when looking up an address, simply asking your device can be the fastest and simplest way to get an answer. Where voice search begins to show its limitations is when the user requires more complex information, such as when searching for clothes online, which can be a long and complex task.

So conventional search methods still have advantages over voice searches, especially when it comes to searching for more complex information. Instead of thinking of a future ruled by voice searches, it might be more realistic to consider a future where voice searches and traditional search methods are combined to complement each other's specific limitations. BlueSummit Media, one of the leading agencies for international digital marketing, acknowledges the 5 key questions that must be considered when looking towards the future of voice searching:

1. Customer benefits: Where does the user benefit from voice search?

2. Scenarios: In what environment does the user use different search methods? What added value can a combination of different search methods offer?

3. Decisions: What fits better with the brand image - featured snippets or a dialogue via Chatbot? Featured snippets can map simple question-answer scenarios and are especially suitable for W-questions, FAQs or HowTos. They are easy to integrate into a website and can be read out by Google. Chatbots, on the other hand, can perform detailed dialogues and also provide a multimodal link to text or display.

4. Intensity: How strongly should the user enter into the dialogue and how invested should they become? To what extent does the classic website user experience reach its limits?

5. Language: How should the user be addressed and with what tonality? Language offers a lot of room for sympathy but also for misunderstandings.

Voice search becomes part of the user experience

The conclusion of BlueSummit: Voice alone is not the future of search. Instead, the future will be a user-centered mix of classic text search, voice and visual. Depending on the complexity of the search, users will find the appropriate search mode depending on the context and application scenario - sometimes using one search method alone and sometimes using combined methods. In the future, voice search has to be understood as an extension of the online user experience and included in SEO strategy. Only in this way can its useful applications be integrated into the whole range of “the search,” and elevate the interaction between user and interface to the next level.

This article was originally written for FashionUnited.DE by Regina Henkel. Translated and edited by Huw Hughes.

Photo credit: Amazon.

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