Over 30 Million Households Will Have A Voice-First Device By The End Of 2017

Shoppers are embracing voice as a means for communicating with brands — as well as chatbots, messaging platforms, and more.

Over 30 million households will have a voice-first device like Amazon Echo or Google Home by the end of the year, according to new research from Narvar —and adoption of the technology en masse points to how consumers’ desires about when and how they prefer to interact with brands are evolving.

According to Narvar’s study, while more than 80 percent of consumers still prefer to get messages from retailers via email — a longstanding trend — 38 percent now actively want to hear from retailers on multiple channels. Additionally, 79 percent of shoppers say they have used text messages, messenger apps, or voice devices to connect with retailers — and they prefer to have the option of voice-first communication when possible.

“Bots, voice assistants, smart homes and other AI-informed communications are top of mind for nearly every retailer today,” said Amit Sharma, CEO of Narvar. “The technology innovation complicates what we already know — that customer communications are never one-size-fit-all.”

Essentially, what marketers have known since the advent of mobile still holds true: Consumers expect a personalized experience that delivers relevant information and is responsive to their location, interests, and desires. But now, marketers need to take new devices (e.g. voice-activated intelligent assistants like Alexa and Okay, Google) into account as part of their seamless, cross-channel communications strategy. With these devices present in over 30 million homes, marketers can be sure that people will be using them to power a steadily increasing number of daily tasks — from ordering products on Amazon to setting a calendar reminder for holiday shopping, perhaps to calling an on-demand ride.

Other key takeaways from the report, below:

When retailers are transparent, customers feel comfortable with bots: 65 percent of shoppers who knew a non-human bot was responding to their queries generally liked it. As we wrote earlier this year, CoverGirl’s KalaniBot reportedly drove 14x the engagement of its social media influencer namesake; the key is that CoverGirl was transparent about how the interactions were triggered.

To that end, live chat popularity is on the rise: 74 percent indicated they have used live chat when shopping.

Voice commerce is here: 29 percent of voice device owners already use it to shop — while 41 percent of voice device owners say they plan to use it to make purchases in the future. As J. Walter Thompson’s Elizabeth Cherian put it, “brands [need to get their] underlying data layer ready for consumption by these devices. The question is, how do you build into your product and services such as the voice assistance sees you as the best option? That’s something [marketers] should be thinking about right now.”

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.