Siri, Alexa, Google Home – regardless of who your customers have shacked up with, voice search is big and it’s here to stay. This week’s blog covers everything you need to know about voice search, including what it is, how your eCommerce store can benefit and what you need to do. Hey Google – let’s go.
What is Voice Search
Once upon a time we would say to our nearest and dearest “Hey, do you know where I can buy a new bed?” and they would send us along our merry way to the local bed store, where we’d arrive and say to the sales assistant “Hi there, I’m looking to buy a new bed.”
Then one day along came the big, bad Internet and our beautiful voices and dictionary full of vocabulary was truncated into a short, sharp text search of:
This new text-based way of searching was great. We didn’t have to speak with people, we could take our time researching and we could do it from the comfort of our sofa (and new bed) but something was lacking – talking to someone.
Voice search has finally taken the world by storm but before we jump into the facts and figures, let’s explain what voice search is. Voice search enables users to search the internet and websites, using a voice-based query directed to a virtual assistant. These virtual assistants are contained and available on our smartphones, on our smart speakers and even on our TVs. No typing – just speaking aloud to Siri, Alexa or Google Home.
Facts and Figures
Siri has been around for a while – seven years to be precise – but plagued by reports that she failed to understand accents, sent messages about sending messages and ignored certain requests, she wasn’t an immediate hit.
Fast-forward seven years and we now have a grown-up Siri and friends, including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Voice search has subsequently seen a rise and now boasts significant stats:
– More than 1 billion voice searches per month
– A Google Home device sold every second
– One in five using voice search on their mobile
– 40% of adults using voice search daily
And it’s not stopping, with estimates that there will be 21.4 million smart speakers in America by 2020, completing 50% of all searches.
Why Has Voice Search Become So Popular?
While many thought that Christmas Day’s smart speaker fest was a novelty that would soon wear off, the convenience, ease and personable nature of voice searching has proven addictive. The more we’re using voice search, the more intuitive and capable it’s becoming and people like it.
– It’s quicker – we can speak 150 words per minute whereas we can only type 40
– It’s easier to shout over to Alexa than it is to open and boot up the laptop, log in, open up the Internet and get searching
– It’s fun!
Voice Search and eCommerce
Asking Alexa about the weather and today’s top news stories may not result in the purchasing of your products but figures show that the more familiar consumers become with their digital assistants, the more likely they are to shout “Alexa order me my shower gel” than shout it to their better halves.
85% of online shoppers using Alexa, will pick the products she suggests and 50% are also using voice search to research products before asking their assistant to buy them.
Last year, voice shopping reached $1.8 billion in the US and £151 million in the UK and is expected to rise to $40 billion and £3.7 billion respectively by the end of 2022. Consumers are spending on average £150 per year via voice search and it is particularly popular with young families shopping for groceries (20%), entertainment (10%) and electronics (17%).
Having your eCommerce store voice search optimised is no longer a decision, it’s a must.
How to Prepare for Voice Search
The words your customers will use to shout out a search will differ from what they will type into Google. They’ll be more likely to say “where can I buy an ottoman bed?” than simply “bed”.
Write in a natural and conversational language that your consumers are likely to use and answer the question they are going to asks. Get to know them.
Follow your usual SEO optimisation techniques to ensure that your content, links and image labels are relevant to the language and the questions your audience will be asking. Consider long-tail keywords and top trigger words such as where, how and best.
The majority of voice searches take place on smartphones so it is vital that your eCommerce website is mobile-optimised.
Voice search has a local preference – with Google Home likely to suggest the nearest retailers. If you have a brick and mortar store, make sure your local and business listings are up-to-date and SEO optimised.
Virtual assistants want to be the best in class and so will only recommend products and retailers that they think are tip-top. Keep your reviews and feedback in check – working hard to obtain only the best.
Voice Search and Multichannel Selling
You can pick up an Amazon Echo Dot or a Google Home Mini for £50 – making them equally affordable. Rather than gamble on whether your target audience will be shopping Amazon with Alexa or eBay with Google, you can appear on them both, as well as build up the Google presence of your own website, by multichannel selling with Expandly.
Expandly is multichannel management software that allows you to manage your eBay, Amazon, Wish and Etsy accounts alongside your shopping cart, shipping carrier and accountancy software – all from one central location.