The Future of Voice Commerce and Localisation


Thursday February 20, 2020 - Posted by:

The voice commerce market is steadily growing globally and with this growth, comes an urgent need to brands for localise content for better customer engagement.

voice commerce

The world of marketing and retail are filled with hyperbole, especially when it comes to predictions. Everything is the ‘next big thing’. With this said, there does seem to be some genuine buzz around the future of voice commerce and its potential to positively impact e-commerce. International e-commerce brands stand to gain a lot if they can tap into multi-national markets and efficiently address the localisation process in those markets.

With the future looking bright for voice commerce, how can international e-commerce brands take advantage of recent innovations and market trends?

Recent innovations in voice search

Voice commerce has had time to mature as a tool from its mass-market debut with Siri in 2011 and has been refined under the watch of Amazon and Google. Near the beginning of 2019, Amazon announced it had sold more than 100 million Alexa devices.

The public look set to purchase more smart speakers in the future and according to a report by Juniper Research, by 2023 there will be 8 billion devices with voice assistants in them (up from 2.5 billion in 2018). According to a report by Adobe Digital Insights, 30% of smart speaker owners use them to shop online. However, smart speakers are not the only avenue for voice search and digital voice assistants are being embedded in a wide range of devices, including smartphones, speakers, televisions, cars and home appliances.

With the growing popularity of smart speakers and digital voice assistants, the voice commerce market will grow to be worth $80 billion — which might eventually rival e-commerce and m-commerce growth.

This growth isn’t just limited to America and the West. For example, China’s smart speaker market has overtaken the US, and in 2018, DuerOS, Baidu’s answer to Amazon’s Alexa reached over 200 million devices. In contrast, there are only 100 million devices pre-installed with Alexa.

Digital voice assistants are not only being installed in households and for consumer use but are also being blended into the fabric of the high street shopping experience. Research shows that consumers are ready for a more combined experience. According to research from Gautheir, 40% of consumers think smart assistants will be incorporated into part of their shopping journey over the next three years. For an example of how this could work, Sensory Inc recently debuted an AI-enabled virtual assistant that provides voice assistants to be incorporated in mobile apps, in-store kiosks and drive-thru points. 

Localisation and Voice Search

For the most part, voice commerce has been slow to incorporate languages other than localised varieties of standard English. However, in January 2019 Google Assistant expanded its coverage of languages from 8 languages and 14 countries to 30 languages and available in 80 countries.

This is important, as while English is the world’s most popular second language, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish dwarf English by the sheer number of native speakers with 908.7 million and 442.3 million speakers respectively.

These two languages alone represent well over a billion native speakers and potential consumers for international e-commerce companies to tap into. Even comparatively smaller languages like Hausa (85 million speakers) or Telegu (80 million speakers), offer scope for international brands to gear a localised marketing strategy towards consumers within those demographics.

But expanding language coverage is not a be-all and end-all solution. International e-commerce brands should focus on localisation to develop more bespoke marketing campaigns and more personal customer experiences. Simply put, having a system that recognises vocabulary and syntax in the language is not enough. Instead, localisation must be employed so that voice assistants can understand cultural nuances and slang.

Also important is the need for websites and advertising to be optimised to meet the needs of voice search users. As we have covered before, to optimise your page for voice search, businesses must bear in mind three main considerations:

  • Firstly, businesses should examine the customer queries and the questions they ask about the brand, products, or services and then focus on creating content around those points
  • Secondly, working on boosting your content marketing activities will improve your domain authority. Websites with high domain authority will be more likely to rank on the search engine results page and be picked up in voice search results
  • And last, brands should focus on ensuring they have strong SEO. Things such as site speed, mobile and desktop optimisation, will push the page higher in the top search and voice search results

Find out more

Locaria can help you plan and execute your international marketing efforts with focused research, translation, localisation and other strategies. To find out more, call us on +44 (0)20 3948 6800.

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