Voice technology as the fourth sales channel

The impact of voice on consumer behavior & brand implications

Download SKIM Voice Tech Trends 2018
Download “Voice Tech Trends 2018: Consumer Behavior & Brand Implications”


Voice awareness and usage in Europe and US
Voice in the path to purchase
Using voice to trigger new decision
Brand implications of voice technology
Question brands should ask in the fourth sales channel

The increased adoption of voice technology, combined with growing sales of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home, is impacting consumer behavior across the US and Europe. Now dubbed the ‘fourth sales channel,’ voice technology poses many opportunities and challenges for brands. However, how exactly are digital assistants influencing consumer behavior? Are consumers simply curious about AI or will Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant transform the entire consumer path to purchase?

Considering the speed, intuitiveness and social aspect of speech, we believe voice will become a dominant mode of interacting with the internet. To gain consumer preference in this evolving channel, your brand strategies needs to include new insights.

Voice awareness and usage in Europe and US

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As decision behavior experts, we set out to examine consumer attitudes and adoption of voice technology in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. These countries represent the primary markets where Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft have introduced voice platforms.

We conducted research into how consumers were using digital assistants on smartphones, smart speakers, as well as other connected devices. When we see how young people and families are embracing the technology, there’s no doubt it will become mainstream:

  • An average of 40% of American, British and German users of voice technology have made at least one purchase via a digital assistant on their smartphone or smart speaker.
  • Consumers younger than 35, especially younger parents are more likely to be daily users of voice on both smartphones and smart speakers.
  • Most consumers are enthusiastically adopting voice technology and see themselves using it more frequently, and for a broader array of tasks, in the future

Download "Voice Tech Trends 2018: Consumer Behavior & Brand Implications in the US, UK and Germany" to read the full report

Voice in the path to purchase

SKIM Voice Tech Trends 2018
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The majority of consumers who have purchased products via voice do so out of curiosity, for convenience or for the entertainment factor. Concerns with accuracy and privacy remain strong barriers for brands to overcome in voice commerce. However, bear in mind that consumers are largely curious about using voice technology for shopping, with many intrigued at the potential ease it could bring to their daily routines, with 36% planning to increase their voice purchases in the next 12 months.

Using voice to trigger new decision behavior

We recommend thinking about voice in the context of consumer purchase habits:
›› Are consumers currently purchasing your products regularly, i.e. have they formed a habit?
›› Do consumers always purchase from you or do they still deliberate between your offer and the competition?
›› Do consumers only purchase from the competition or do they not purchase from the category at all?

The Habitual-Deliberate Decision Loop
The Habitual-Deliberate Decision Loop

We created a framework for brands to understand just that – the Habitual-Deliberate Loop. This loop captures different types of consumer decisions and purchasing habits.

Learn what voice technology and digital assistant strategies can help reinforce or disrupt purchase decisions by downloading the full report now.

Brand implications of voice technology

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? Brands will also need to collaborate with retailers to stay on top of the list and actively promote consumer to request their brand; e.g. “Ask Alexa for…” 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.

voice technology and brand strategy
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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? Read our 3 Tips To Optimize Your Voice Commerce Strategy with highlights of our recommendations.

Ready to learn how voice is impacting the consumer path to purchase?

Contact us and we'll help guide you in navigating the insights required to be successful in the voice channel.

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