“Alexa!” Just when manufacturers had begun to get a handle on effective online sales methods, along comes voice-ordering technology—shifting the entire paradigm once more.
Verbal Communication Changes the Game
If you don’t have one in your home or connected to a smart device, you probably know someone who does. Interconnected voice ordering solutions, such as Google, Siri and the popular Amazon Echo line – featuring the convenient assistance of voice-controlled Alexa – seem to be leading the charge in the race for the most efficient online ordering systems.
From using our fingertips to relying on our vocal chords to instantly purchase and order almost any item in the retail stratosphere, this rapid advancement of the last few years is certain to have a major impact on how manufacturers use retailers to help target and secure consumers.
“There are 8.2 million U.S. shoppers who now own one of the voice-activated digital assistant devices, up 173% from an estimated 3 million shoppers in year-over-year growth.” - Paul Mandeville, Multichannel Merchant
The Potential Long-Term Benefits of Voice Ordering Tech
While it may take some time, manufacturers can certainly look forward to a ton of advantages in the era of digital convenience. So much time, effort and money are factored into marketing and packaging products, especially those that hit consumers via retail sites and in-store. But, why spend that energy on items that customers are beginning to order, from the comfort of their own homes, offices and while on the go?
Now, without the need for such a large marketing budget, manufacturers have the potential to increase budgets in other areas, such as research and development, all while cutting down on potential overhead and inspiring better cash flow. Moreover, by linking up with existing retailer platforms/applications, manufacturers can anticipate volume, and therefore produce, stock and ship to regions accordingly.
"Voice-based ordering eliminates the need for packaging, design and end-caps, all the things that brands have poured billions into and have spent decades perfecting." - Scott Galloway, L2
Obstacles in the Face of Change
While creating a vision of ultimate convenience is the number one goal for retail manufacturers, it is still unclear how this voice technology will evolve or when we will truly understand how to master its full potential. To complete this next transformation, manufacturers will need to figure out how to angle voice ordering to work in their favor amid a vast omnichannel landscape of endless products and competitors.
Right now, all over the world, consumers are verbally securing retail products, such as “soap,” “bottled water” and “socks,” on a whim or at a moment’s notice. But, without any particular brand loyalty, many of these modern technology users fail to use actual brand names in their ordering. So, for now, software algorithms are often running the show and making choices based on availability, location and price.
However, as ordering histories and patterns develop among consumer segments, manufacturers will have the ability to learn better ways of targeting, so that their names are top of mind for thousands of Echo, Siri and Google users.
The Quest for Consumer Data Continues
Just when things were going smoothly! Manufacturers of all kinds have no time to rest on their text-reliant laurels if they want to soar in the new online retail atmosphere. Using the latest collection tools in online digital software, they will need to build new processes based on the verbal patterns of voice technology users. By linking with specific sellers that have their own applications, gathering info can become an even swifter process.
While this industry-wide transformation will require intense infrastructure changes, the savings and profit benefits down the line could be well worth it. As technology advances once again, we need to learn how to best ingest, analyze and respond to the voices of consumers from around the world.