Siri: Change the Way I Shop Using Mobile Payments

January 15, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Voice assistant systems are making a lot of changes in our society. If you believe “South Park”, they’re either going to take all our jobs until we must rise up against them or force us to employ rednecks festooned with older tech to keep unemployment down. Regardless of your stance on these mechanisms, a new report sent our way suggests that they’re also shaking up the way we shop.

The report noted that the most frequently shopped-for item via a voice assistant was the “everyday household items” market, shopped for in 25.11 percent of cases. Local services, meanwhile, got short shrift from voice assistants, with only 3.52 percent using voice assistants to find and patronize businesses like local dry cleaners or hair-cutting operations.

Shoppers like voice assistants mainly because they’re a hands-free operation, as cited by 27.31 percent of users, but 31.72 don’t feel entirely comfortable shopping by voice just yet. That’s not surprising; there’s always a certain amount of lag involved in something like that. At any rate, customers do like the ability to gain information quickly and just by asking a question. So much so, in fact, that 31.1 percent of customers would like to see voice assistants added to retail stores.

All of this is actually only ancillary, especially against word from the report that notes that, by 2022, around $40 billion will be spent on voice commerce. With 55 percent of Americans claiming to “enjoy” voice shopping overall, that makes some sense.

This could be a very big market in the making. And with good reason; shoppers like it, and are using it. The concept of search has fundamentally adjusted over time; there was once a time when using a search engine took some real doing in Boolean logic. It got simpler with Google, but one could still get respect for one’s “Google Fu” capability. Now, with machine learning and natural-language interfacing, searching is becoming a lot easier, and the everyday customer is reacting accordingly.

Throw in the easy connection to mobile payments systems, and voice search is likely to take a big bite out of the market going forward. We’ve already seen the interest is there, but only time will tell if it takes off.