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If you were like most people in 2011, you were fascinated by your phone’s ability to respond to your voice. Why would you type out a question when you could simply ask Siri? It seemed like a novel idea, but then…Siri couldn’t find a “a good song” in your music, or sent a text filled with typos to the wrong person. Thankfully those days are over. Voice recognition software has come a long way since 2011, and allows you to do much more than ask about the weather or text a friend. We’re talking about voice shopping. It’s not the next big thing. It is the thing.

What is Voice Shopping?

Voice shopping is exactly what it sounds like: making purchases with your voice via smart speakers. Currently, Amazon’s Alexa Voice Shopping service is dominating this new channel, with over 70% of respondents having made a purchase with a voice command at least once. This goes to show that people simply get voice. Not only that, it’s easy. If someone wants to get started with voice shopping, all they need to do is enter their purchasing information, then they’re able to order or re-order products simply by using a variety of voice commands, like “Alexa, search for disposable coffee cups,” or  “Alexa, reorder disposable coffee cups.”

Giants In The Voice Shopping Market

Amazon isn’t the only one taking note of this emerging channel. Last year, Google and Walmart announced a partnership to enable customers to buy any Walmart product through Google Assistant. Since then, Walmart’s attention to voice-command shopping continues to become more focused, with 4,700 stores taking to voice shopping capabilities to create entirely new customer experiences, including, “choosing to pick up an order in store (often for a discount) or using voice shopping to purchase fresh groceries across the country.”


So What Does This All Mean?

The growth of voice shopping shows no signs of slowing down. As consumers increasingly rely on Amazon’s Alexa, online retailers will no doubt become an important component of this quick and easy way to purchase goods. As illustrated in this study of goods purchased using Alexa, online merchants who sell electronics, home and kitchenware, and groceries seem to have the clearest use case for voice shopping.

It won’t be long until voice shopping expands to other industries. Our advice? Position yourself for voice search sooner rather than later. When it comes to Amazon, it’s no longer a matter of beat ’em or join ’em. In a rapidly changing retail landscape, it pays to optimize for Alexa search. Strategies that worked in the past, like keyword-rich content, as a means for clients to find your products won’t be as effective. You’ll need to answer customer queries directly and give searchers the information they are looking for.

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