‘Alexa, get lost’: Consumers get sick of voice commerce

alexa (2)Marketers are still facing the age-old problem of how to deliver personalised digital experiences that consumers crave without breaching their fiercely protected anonymity, although one thing seems certain – voice activated devices are not the solution.

According to Episerver’s fourth-annual Reimagining Commerce Report, while over half (53%) of global consumers want brands to place a higher priority on respecting their online privacy, more than three-fifths (61%) want companies to prioritise personalisation.

The survey of more than 4,000 online shoppers in five countries reveals personalisation is positive for both retailers and customers.

A quarter of respondents said they have returned to a retail website to make a purchase after being retargeted with ads because the ads reminded them of what they wanted to buy. Personalised content recommendations, product recommendations, triggered messages and product search are proven to dramatically increase retail key performance indicators, but data consent is key.

Episerver cheif executive Alex Atzberger said: “Companies are facing a digital experience paradox. Digital is a necessity to compete, but it’s getting more difficult and expensive to compete on digital alone as the golden standard for digital experience isn’t right for every company and customer, and yet the requirements keep increasing.

“We’ve been sold on experience, but hindsight is 20/20. Understanding what customers want, giving them control over how and where their data is used, and leading them to the next best content and action is how retailers ultimately solve these contradictions.”

The report claims that consumers’ concerns over data privacy and online security are preventing “once-promising” channels from reaching mass appeal. Voice commerce, often predicted to radically disrupt e-commerce, for instance, declined year over year.

Last year’s Reimagining Commerce report found that 17% of respondents used voice-assisted devices to complete a purchase multiple times a month compared just 7% this year.

In 2019,  22% of respondents used voice-assisted devices to research a product or service multiple times a month, but that figure dropped to only 8% in 2020. The future does not appear much brighter either, with a third (33%) of consumers reporting that a lack of security features will stop them from making more purchases devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

Instead, consumers are still turning to their loyal smartphone to browse and buy, particularly millennials. Episerver data shows mobile-native millennials default to smartphones when shopping online more than any other generation.

Nearly half (48%) of daily shoppers across generations have significantly increased their reliance on their smartphones for shopping in the past year, but mobile conversion rates have still not caught up to those for desktop.

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