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Voice Assistants - Asking the Right Questions is Key


Voice will change the way customers are shopping and both Google and Amazon are at the forefront driving retail innovation towards a truly conversational experience. Research by JWT and Mindshare revealed that Voice eases the cognitive load, makes people feel efficient and is more intuitive than text or swipe. It’s only a matter of time until users will want to accomplish more than basic, utilitarian tasks such as switching lights on and off, ordering Pizza, playing Jeopardy or listening to their feel-good playlist.

But, realistically, the technology has some way to go before it will be able to deliver the meaningful, convenient customer experience that will catapult voice shopping into the mainstream:

  • Quality: the voice proposition has to meet customer needs and expectations
  • Usability: information has to be delivered in a manageable way
  • Performance: voice recognition needs to leap from 95% to 99%
  • Security: privacy concerns and issues around voice data security have to be addressed
  • Bias & Trust: building consumer trust in product recommendations is key
  • Relationship: owning the customer relationship will become more difficult if voice technology takes over


For example, Alexa currently allows shoppers only to reorder items in their purchase history or buy Amazon Choice products. But to enable quality voice shopping experiences, voice assistants need to do more than that. They need to anticipate needs and guide shoppers through their research and evaluation phases.

This requires asking the right qualifying questions to offer personalized, trustworthy, unbiased suggestions based on what is known about the customer.

As the technology evolves (which it will) and consumer adoption rises (which it will), it would be wrong for brands to ignore this trend. Consumers will come to demand doing all in one go by using their voice.

The most helpful brands will win!


Voice Shopping – Do It Right

Imagine buying an Apple Watch.

It’s a fairly easy transaction on a visual interface, such as a laptop or smartphone. Apple only offers a few product variations, so product listings can be browsed through without much effort – assuming you know exactly which version, color, and model you’re after.

Picture completing the same transaction through a voice-based interface. Having to listen to Alexa describe each product and its features would be a terrible customer experience. Now, imagine that you are confronted with a more complex product and a greater selection. Using voice would make this a nightmare scenario.

Voice makes the need for helpful digital advice and effective guidance more apparent.

Here you can see the first-ever demo showcasing how SMARTASSISTANT Digital Advice supports consumer- and needs-oriented voice shopping with Alexa (at Digital Advice Live! 2017 in London):

The SMARTASSISTANT Digital Advice suite provides a conversational interface that can be integrated with voice assistants.


Being able to ask the right qualifying questions is pivotal for voice assistants

Customers will want to interact with you anywhere, anytime and via multiple channels. But as a brand, you have to be aware that voice will add a more delicate and intimate quality to customer interactions and engagement. Therefore it’s even more important to get the experience right.

Brands that have integrated Digital Advice on their websites, mobile or in chatbot interfaces today are in a good position to seamlessly support frictionless and fast voice shopping once this new way to shop becomes popular in a not too distant future. They are already generating the data to learn which questions are best suited to guide customers to the right products and increase their decision confidence. 

By knowing which questions to ask to help customers choose the right products, you have the key that enables you to make innovative leaps towards providing conversational shopping experiences.


Voice shopping will be a reality. Are you ready for it?

If you want to see how SMARTASSISTANT can help your company get ahead in this field by integrating Digital Advice into your omnichannel strategy, join us at our upcoming conference (Digital Advice Live! 2018, June 28th) or contact us to see a demo.


Read the full article: From CES 2018: Assistance Is The New Battleground For Growth