Amazon.com.au has announced the release date of its Echo speakers locally – are you ready for what’s to come Australia?
In 2107 we listened, but in 2018 voice commerce is set to take the spotlight. While we knew voice commerce was coming last year, the biggest challenge was for retailers to figure out what to do with it. But, 2018 is the year when retailers will really start getting their voice strategies in place. With companies like Target US and Walmart working on partnerships to get their voice commerce strategies to consumers, we are yet to see the demand for voice purchases rise.
When it first launched in 2014, Amazon’s smart speaker Echo was largely criticized when critics said no one would use a speaker to purchase something. But the proof is in the pudding when brands were surprised to discover that one in five people who owned a voice-enabled device bought something with it.
Looking ahead, the bigger focus in voice commerce will be mobile conversion and the whole mobile shopping experience. The UK has been a bit sluggish in taking up voice technology, however, 37 percent of smartphone users have used voice command technology at least once a month, with stats showing that almost one in five British shoppers use voice command to buy something without looking online first.
So, the immediate effect for voice commerce is mobile. Using voice for search and discovery is three times faster than typing and 20 percent more accurate, according to research by Stanford University. It is predicted that by 2020, 50 percent of searches will be done via voice or via image search, according to Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report.
Amazon is already applying this to its mobile experience, adding Alexa’s capabilities natively to its Amazon app in March last year.
In 2017 we saw record e-commerce sales figures during the Black Friday and Thanksgiving shopping period, with Amazon responsible for raking in 55 percent of all online sales transactions in the US, according to data analytics company Hitwise. Take a guess what Amazon’s number one product sold over that period was? Echo devices, and what’s even scarier is that the top purchase using a smart speaker was other Amazon products.
Going to a retailer or to Amazon’s online store to purchase Amazon’s Echo device and then using it to purchase other Amazon products is a powerful combination – a scary one.
On Thursday, Amazon announced three of its Echo devices are available for pre-order in Australia and New Zealand, with shipping in early February. While over 10,000 skills will be available for users to use at launch, the ability to place shopping orders via Amazon.com.au, however, will not be available for online shoppers until later on. For now though, customers will be able to check up on the delivery status of the online orders they place on amazon.com.au.
So, it looks like the good news is that there’s a bit of time to get your voice commerce strategies in place.