Rise of voice technology as the fourth sales channel

The impact of voice on consumer decision making

voice technology and brand strategyThe increased adoption of voice technology, combined with growing sales of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, is impacting the way consumers shop today. Now dubbed the ‘fourth sales channel,’ voice searches are projected to make up between 30 and 50% of all searches within the next two years, The implications of voice-enabled technology for eCommerce, consumer journey and brand strategy are far-reaching – from search through path to purchase. If you want to gain consumer preference in this evolving channel, your brand strategies needs to include new consumer insights.

"Alexa: How are you affecting consumer decision behavior?" Download our guide to learn more about the branding and eCommerce implications of voice technology.

Brand implications of voice technology

62% of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they are likely to buy something through their speaker in the next month. People can generally speak around 165 words per minute, but can only type about 45 in that time. The consumer’s ability to easily ask a question or speak a phrase, rather than typing words or navigating buttons, leads to more “conversational” types of searches. We recommend several strategies for how brands can capitalize on this  "fourth sales channel" including how to optimize sales on the smart speakers via search and loyalty initiatives, along with capturing early pattern information for predictive analytics and creating unique voice experiences.

For example, consider how voice technology offers an opportunity to form or strengthen the emotional connection with consumers. Does your brand have an “audio logo” (e.g. Intel’s five-tone sound which plays at the end of ads) or other mnemonics to differentiate itself when there is nothing visual to do so? Just as the introduction of eCommerce required fundamental changes to the way we think about marketing and the shopper journey, voice technology poses the same exciting challenges and opportunities.

Question brands should ask in the fourth sales channel

As you consider short-term marketing tactics focused on winning consumer preference with voice technology today, we understand you don’t want to lose sight of your long-term brand vision. Substantial qualitative and quantitative measures will be needed to fully understand the impact of voice technology on both consumer behavior and the company’s overall business growth. It’s clear that new market research and insights will be required for CPG, technology and telecommunications brands, but where do you begin? Check out our full infographic with highlights of our recommendations.


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