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What Voice Search Means for Your Online Store

Posted by Contributors on March 27, 2018

The 2017 holiday season was a blowout for the purchase of smart speakers. More than 39 million Americans now own a smart speaker device. New research shows rapidly changing habits are taking place in the homes of Americans who own these devices. From the way they search to the way they buy, Americans are increasingly using voice assistants to do the things they used to do by typing.

The End of Typing and Swiping?

In a new survey by Invoca, 58% of respondents said they're using their smart speakers to "accomplish tasks they used to do through typing or swiping." The rapid adoption of voice search using smart speakers is also having a trickle-down effect to other devices. More than 44% of respondents said they're using voice assistance more often on their mobile phone since getting a smart speaker, according to an NPR and Edison Research study released in January 2018.

Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence are shaping the shopping experience

Keep in mind that chatbots and artificial intelligence are going to become a lot more familiar when you interact with retail companies. AI chatbot systems like those in Amazon's Echo, Google's Home and Apple's Siri are making real differences in the online shopping experience. For many consumers these AI robots are replacing their home computers, offering an intelligent spoken user interface. Online shopping appears destined to be a major disruptive force to the brick and mortar store as AI makes the online experience more human-appearing.

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Not only is it at the front end of the shopping experience but AI actors are deep in the bowels of retail. Deep machine learning is being trained to recognize consumer demographic differences, allowing retailers to understand exactly the type of shoppers who are engaged with their brand. These insights are being carried over to the real-world shopping experience and are creating more tailored decisions about things like merchandise assortment and marketing campaigns. Retailers are applying AI technology like Amazon Go, to better understand the movement of customers in the store, how people examine items, how shelves should be restocked, and how customers should be assisted.

What It Means for Your E-Commerce Strategy

As the rise of in-home voice assistants skyrockets, so do the number of people using them to make online purchases. The Invoca study reports that 73% of speaker owners said they'd made a purchase using their device. The number of people who own speakers and use them to purchase is massive, and the trend shows no signs of slowing down. To capitalize on the trend, ecommerce companies need to make the most of their search capabilities.

Optimizing Your E-Commerce for Voice Search

Make sure your ecommerce website is well optimized for searches by staying on top of the latest Google best practices. Here are some specific guidelines targeted to voice search optimization:

  • Optimize for the way people really ask questions. Make your content more organic by adding natural language queries. Voice searches are longer and more like spoken questions than the traditional 2-3 word keyword terms.
  • Make the most of Schema mark-up on your ecommerce site. Structured data helps your ecommerce site better communicate with Google. When Google better understands your site, they're more likely to deliver your product information to interested buyers.
  • Ensure your ecommerce site has an updated sitemap. It will be easier for Google search bots to crawl your site, which increases your ranking opportunities.

The Future of Online Search

More than 50% of all online searches will be voice searches by 2020, according to comScore. The time to get ready for it is now. Making your ecommerce platform more searchable will better position you for voice search, and for plain old typed searches.

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Onestop Internet's performance marketing strategy for partners includes analysis, identification, and targeting of online customer segments. Our ecommerce experts can tailor your offering to the shoppers who are most likely to engage immediately with your brand, and we use cutting edge consumer research to build descriptive audience profiles that inform creative design, merchandising and promotions.

Topics: voice assistants, Amazon Echo, Ecommerce, shopping, Retail, user experience, AI, search trends

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