Remember when you were a fledgling sole proprietor taking the leap to ecommerce, recruiting help from family and friends to set up a website and settle on basic marketing strategies? The simplicity of that time may sound refreshing, but it’s a bit too late. You’ve now reached the point experts refer to as mid-market, or an operation with anywhere from dozens to a thousand employees. Along with the change in corporate structure has come a demand for keeping up with contemporary consumer behaviors and the business tactics that must meet them.
You’re not the only one learning to adapt to new technologies and trends; remember, your customers are also evolving in their quest to satisfy their wants and needs by shopping in a vast cyber universe. In 2018, that means experimenting with voice technologies through smartphone apps and even in-home smart centers such as Amazon Echo and its growing list of copycats.
A recent study found that in 2017, nearly 20 percent of all online shoppers made at least one purchase using a digital assistant, or voice-activated search. One-third expect to do so in 2018. It’s a staggering number considering the relative newness of the marriage between voice technology and commerce. True: Most of these purchases have represented repeat buys of a commonly used good. But as the phenomenon grows, so will the possibilities.
Speak to me
But as with any new product, the science behind it lags—and sometimes lags badly. Maybe you’ve had irritating experiences with personal assistants like Siri and Ali Baba and are still skeptical this can work for you. Consider how difficult it has been to tailor your keyword tags in a way that will result in hits when prospective customers search your site. Now picture the need to accommodate spoken words instead of typed entries, and hoping they will translate accurately. Yes, specialists in voice tech are working their magic to improve the process, but if your budget is limited, you may be tempted to wait it out.
Investing now in voice-based marketing protocols can put you far ahead of the game as this practice becomes far more mainstream among consumers. Optimizing for this technology is a win-win for current objectives as well as future goals.
Are you curious about how to blend the spoken word with a digital, code-based query, in a way that translates to sales? Read this piece about natural language for a good primer on formulating winning product descriptions. Consumers tend to be more expressive with their spoken queries than typewritten searches, which adds a layer of challenges that Natural Language Processing (NLP) seeks to solve.
Reports from some retailers look promising. A sporting goods ecommerce site saw its search bar revenues rise by 50 percent after enabling AI, or artificial intelligence, capabilities on their sites.
Try it out
Need more information and a possible partner in transforming your mid-market biz to a fully modern, voice-compatible shopping venue? Check out SearchSpring, an innovative developer of voice search protocols designed for online merchants. They will show you the possibilities and help you set up a dynamic new feature for meeting demand in the 21st century. In a world where hands-free has become a norm, you’ll be well advised to grow your business in a way that won’t leave you left behind. Use your voice.