Love the shopping experience with voice assistants!

Salwa Al-Tahan

Salwa Al-Tahan

17th March 2022

According to customers who participated in a survey,

"84% of customers say measures put in place to make shopping a more contactless experience have made shopping more enjoyable."

Retail data from Kiosk Market Research 2022 Tweet

In my last blog we looked at how shoppers are eagerly looking for more exciting and engaging shopping experiences. It seems by the above quote that customers want more than just contactless payment options, but are searching for a fully ‘contactless experience’. 

Here I want to discuss the how and why voice assistants are such a positive and strong gain for both businesses and shoppers alike. And what is giving shoppers that added enjoyment.

Let’s start with the infographic below which looks at some of the pain points of shoppers & helps us understand the answers to the above questions. 

As you can see, top of the list is frustration with lengthy queues for payment. Shoppers find the process of asking for help to locate items, or making a decision to purchase difficult and especially irritating if they have to wait in line or search for a member of staff to answer their questions. However with voice assistants, customers can get their questions answered accurately & with the correct product information at anytime. 

The practicality of not needing to find a member of staff, stand in long lines, or wait whilst the correct person is located to get the answers for perhaps simple questions will be a huge relief to many. 

Also for shoppers who prefer to browse digitally but in a physical retail environment, those with lingering hygiene concerns, or even for people with certain levels of social anxiety who prefer to avoid much or any human interaction, voice assistants would be a preferred option. 

How do Voice Assistants work?

Sodaclick’s proprietary Voice AI solution uses very powerful ASR- Automatic Speech Recognition and NLU- Natural Language Understanding with multi-lingual features in over 85 languages and variants. Making the use of Voice AI very friendly and comfortable with a very near human like speech synthesis.

So as mentioned above, customers using a voice assistant can navigate with voice command prompts and speech playback commands as opposed to scrolling tediously or selecting through the many items of the digital catalogue. 

Here are some examples of queries customers can ask voice assistants:

“Show me shoes”

“Can I have these shoes in size 5?”

“Where can I find bags?”

“Show me the product details on this hairdryer?” 

“Do you have this dress in any other colour?”

As we can see these are common, simple questions. And by offering more product information- to include additional colours, sizes and stock availability, it can easily free up staff time to improve other areas of customer service.

There are of course options to add or remove from the basket, go back or view other departments and finally check out. After completing the transaction with a contactless payment, shoppers are told where to collect their items all without any human interaction. The whole experience really feels very comfortable and much like speaking to a sales assistant. 

In fact it’s so natural, that customers have been noted to say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ forgetting they aren’t dealing with a human!

Add more value:

The integration of a conversational Voice AI SDK to kiosks can add more value by being used for way finding. Imagine it can give directions to a specific product in store if a customer wanted to feel and see the product first. Or inform customers of stock availability and expected waiting times.

Even better it may be used for up-sell, giving personalised recommendations of co-ordinating outfits to compliment the shopper’s basket, all in an engaging, polite and inviting manner. Without any pressure from pushy or uninformed sales assistants. 

Statistically transactions can be processed at a rate that is at least three times faster in comparison to touch. This is great for customers who don’t like to wait around and a positive win for businesses alike, increasing the rate of sales processed. 

With voice-enabled kiosks, retailers can ensure their customers are getting a better shopping experience due to a greatly improved service. And for retail shops it’s like having extra, already trained employees with a wealth of product knowledge, who can fulfil orders without breaks or sickness and increase sales!

Such a pleasant and natural interaction with so many added benefits is why voice assistants are ‘enjoyable’ to use and remember happy customers are returning customers!

Summary:

  • Friendly & polite – will give customers a near human like interaction. 
  • Inclusive of impairments – voice assistants are ideal for those with hand impairments or for those with social anxiety issues as they can now navigate easily without the need to touch or interact with humans.
  • Speed and efficiency – this translates to a reduction in queue time and more sales.
  • Alleviate pressure during staff shortages – creating a better flow of traffic and customer satisfaction.
  • Easy to change the display and catalogue – this can be done quickly without additional costs, through Sodaclick’s practical digital platform.
  • Improved representation of products – digital screens allow for quality images & provide more detailed information about the item specifics. Eg.colours, sizes, fabric content, washing instructions.
  • Increased revenue – reduction in baskets being left due to lengthy queues and increased sales opportunities.
  • Conversational AI prompts – customers can visualise available products & are prompted with additional purchase items that perhaps they hadn’t considered before. All in their own time without pressure. 
  • Unattended sales opportunities -voice assistants provide unattended sales opportunities around the clock.
  • Data –Anonymous observational demographic data can be collected if businesses choose. This will help analyse certain metrics & demography adding value.
  • Loyalty schemes – preferences can be saved on the cloud with a login or QR code scan increasing brand loyalty.

Sodaclick Ltd. London, UK

Sodaclick is a digital solutions platform specialising in dynamic content and voice-controlled AI experiences at every touchpoint