New research has found a swift uptake of in-home voice assistant devices, indicating that voice will be an important part of the consumer path to purchase in the near future.
The study, which was conducted by Salmat and the Australian Consumer, Retail and Services’ (ACRS) research unit, has revealed that the majority of consumers considering an in-home digital voice assistant device (such as a Google Home, Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod) want to use it to find discounts and deals and compare prices, rather than make purchases.
For marketers looking to implement a voice-strategy, the research found that 42 per cent of consumers either already owned an in-home voice assistant (10 per cent) or were considering buying one in the future (32 per cent).
Of those, under a third (30 per cent) were interested in using the device to buy products and services. Instead, consumers would prefer to use it for researching purchases, including being alerted to relevant discounts and sales, and to compare prices (both 59 per cent).
Two-thirds (67 per cent) agreed they would find it helpful if their in-home voice assistant device enabled them to create and manage a shopping list just using their voice.
Further, three quarters (74 per cent) said it would be helpful if their in-home voice assistant used the information on that shopping list to alert them to relevant discounts and sales.
Karen Lewis, head of digital and performance marketing at Salmat, said Australia is following the global trend where consumers are turning towards voice-led browsing.
By 2020, Gartner predicts that 30 per cent of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen – making it harder for brands without a voice strategy to get in front of consumers.
“Marketers need to ensure that their multi-channel strategy includes voice, given that shoppers are increasingly interested in using it to research brands, products and services,” Lewis said.
“We anticipate that voice will only continue to grow in influence in the shopper’s decision-making process, and marketers need to ensure they understand how and when to use it.”
Brands and retailers that sell groceries will see the biggest opportunity in voice, with over half (52 per cent) of consumers considering using an in-home voice assistant to research or purchase this category.
Electronics is second at 46 per cent, followed by holidays and travel, and clothing and accessories in equal third at 34 per cent.
When asked what would be the most important features for shopping with an in-home voice assistant, the top three identified by consumers in the sturdy were good speech recognition (52 per cent), access to the best deals (48 per cent) and wide choice (40 per cent).
Only 38 per cent of consumers thought that data protection and secure payments would be an important feature.
However, when asked what concerns consumers had about using in-home voice assistants to shop, the top concern was the safety and security of payment information and personal data (both at 45 per cent).
“What these results tell us is that consumers expect their in-home devices to provide a high level of functionality,” Lewis said.
“However, just like other technology, brands need to strike a balance between functionality and security. Therefore, companies exploring voice technology need to ensure they only work with trusted partners who work hard to protect customer data.”
Salmat launches voice experience for shopping
To help brands and retailers reach consumers through voice technology, Salmat has released a new voice activated experience for the Google Assistant called ‘Lasoo List’, which is linked to its online catalogue aggregator site, Lasoo.com.au.
Lasoo List is available to consumers through Google Assistant on their mobile phone or their Google Home device. All they have to do to access it is say, “Hey Google, talk to Lasoo.” From there, they can speak to Lasoo List to create and manage their shopping list.
The Google Assistant uses Lasoo catalogue data to find and present users with the best deals for items on their shopping list.
Users can also request to hear any deals on specific household or grocery items, and if there are any deals available for that item on Lasoo, a maximum of two deals will be presented to the user.
Using Lasoo List, consumers will be alerted to deals and sales from a number of leading retailers including Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, Target, Big W, and Chemist Warehouse, to name a few.
Lewis said the idea for Lasoo List first came out of an internal hackathon Salmat hosted with employees back in 2017.
“It’s an exciting announcement for Salmat, as it is the first voice-activated experience that we’ve developed for a commercial application, and demonstrates our commitment to helping brands and retailers develop a truly multi-channel strategy to reach more consumers,” she said.
“We will continue to refine the experience based on consumer feedback to ensure it continues to not only help consumers, but delight them as well.”