Today, voice assistants can do almost anything. They can tell you the weather for the coming week, the soccer scores from last week’s game, and even why the sky is blue.
As they become more developed in their capabilities, voice assistants are starting to offer us far more than just information. We can now order groceries, buy tickets to the movie theater, and even sign up for piano classes.
Let’s explore why voice assistants are so popular today and how much they have a growing influence on our behavior as consumers. What’s more, we’ll dive into the reasons why voice shopping is looking more and more like the future of commerce, and why it may be a good idea to get started on utilizing voice assistants with your business – starting with hiring voice-over talent.
Voice assistants are technological products based on natural language speech recognition. They allow you to search for information or carry out tasks using your voice – rather than your keyboard – and give you this information by speaking it back to you.
Voice assistants are located in almost any device that contains the word ‘smart’ in the name. That’s right; your smartphone has a built-in voice assistant (e.g., Siri in the case of iPhones). Many smart TVs now also have voice recognition software. But perhaps the most popular example of voice assistant technology is the smart speaker. A huge 55% of Americans now own a smart speaker, the most common of which are Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft), and Google (Google).
Everyone probably has their precise motives for using their voice assistant. The most common reasons, however, are as follows:
Indeed, any of the brands that created this will say that the primary reason for its creation was to make your life easier – and it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t.
Voice assistants take away the need to look at your screen. For example, you want to put on your cooking playlist while preparing dinner. You no longer need to open Spotify, turn on your speaker, pair to the speaker using Bluetooth, then select the playlist. Instead, you simply address your voice assistant by name and say, “put on my cooking playlist.”
If you’ve ever seen the ads for voice assistants, you’ve probably seen people speaking to their devices while washing dishes, ironing, or anything else that requires your two hands and eyes.
Being able to multitask is highly valued in today’s fast-paced society, as it saves you time and demonstrates a high level of cognitive control and coordination. So, it’s no surprise that a machine that allows anyone to become a multitasker is so popular.
These machines ‘think’ as fast as your internet provider will allow. Completely erasing the need for any physical movement to find out information with voice assistants means that you can find out almost anything instantaneously. Wherever you are, whenever you need it, the information is given to you in just a matter of seconds.
A huge factor that draws us to voice assistants is the actual voice with which they speak to us. As emotional beings, we take pleasure in our similarities with others, whether it’s our opinion, hairstyle, profession, or the sound of our voice. Until a few years ago, any attempts from machines to speak to humans came in a synthetic voice that you couldn’t mistake for a person.
The use of hiring professional voice actors and voice-over coaches to create this technology has become the core reason for its popularity today. The biggest voice assistants to date (Siri, Alexa, Google) have used real voice-over actors as the basis of their technology, combining this with AI to take it to the next level. It’s why we speak to smart speakers like they are humans – when you get down to it, they are! As a result, we laugh at the mistakes they rarely make and feel appreciative of the information that they give us. There is empathy between humans and these types of voice assistants based on this true human connection that cannot be recreated any other way.
As time goes by and technology advances, these devices can handle increasingly complex requests. Over time, these machines have become indispensable in every household, taking over important everyday tasks that humans would otherwise have to manually perform or use other products for. Voice assistants can make a phone call to your family members, book reservations at your favorite restaurant, and create reminders for key events as if it’s nothing. Nowadays, their abilities are progressing to more advanced actions. Now, you can now connect Siri, Google, or Alexa to your coffee machine and prepare an espresso from another room – who would’ve thought?
With these undeniable benefits and sheer presence in our everyday lives, it’s no wonder that this technology has quickly entered and taken over the way we behave as consumers in the past 5 years. Once we combine this with the COVID-19 pandemic, the results are jaw-dropping. In just 3 years, the number of smart speakers in America quadrupled. For many, they have become a lifeline to continue with everyday tasks whilst staying in the safety of their own home.
With this amount of reach and dependency, it is unsurprising that marketers want to find a way of hitching a ride with voice assistants, using them as a sort of Trojan horse to get into people’s homes. In fact, eCommerce businesses are now harnessing the power of voice assistants to increase their revenue. How? With voice shopping. Between 2019 and 2021, the number of online purchases via a voice-assisted product grew by 53%. Let’s explore exactly what voice shopping is and how this has become so prominent, particularly in the past couple of years.
Voice shopping, also known as vCommerce, is the term used to describe using your voice to make transactions online. Strategy consultants OC&C predict that voice shopping will be a $40 billion industry by the end of this year, up from $2.1 billion in 2018.
The growth in this sector is down to the shift towards voice applications (voice analytics, interactive maps, voice assistants, and robots), which comes from the fact that people prefer talking to typing. Here are some of the other key factors that are driving this growth in vCommerce:
But it’s not just on the consumer’s side that voice assistants can take voice shopping to the next level. This type of technology can also be implemented in other elements or processes in the customer journey, such as customer service, recommendations, consolidating consumer data, etc. As there is a need to give a voice to these aspects from a business perspective, the need to book professional voice actors is on the horizon for many to begin their AI-assisted journey.
Whether the growing intelligence and power of voice assistants is something that fascinates or scares you, one thing is sure; the role of voice assistants in consumers’ lives will continue to grow as both a medium for transactions and an influence on what you buy. With global smart speaker sales set to exceed $30 billion by 2024, industries will have to react to a boom in consumers who want to eliminate time-consuming tasks with just a few words.
And it’s not just vCommerce businesses that will need voice assistants. Already, there are businesses in other industries such as IT, Marketing, and even Government Agencies that are hiring voice-over actors to create a voice assistant to improve their everyday work tasks. Voice assistants are used to provide extra customer, IT, or HR support to clients and customers when real-life support teams are already occupied. Voice chatbots on the websites of almost every industry are now also being developed with human voices to create a more human-like connection between customer and company. The user’s intelligent and realistic communication experience with human voices will raise the standards for all industries, which is why voice-overs are the key business strategy to watch.
Who would have thought that the human voice would be at the center of consumer-tech-brand relations in the future? With 57% of adults in the US using voice-enabled technology every day, it’s clear that every business should embrace this technology to ensure sustainable growth for the future and avoid the risk of being left behind.
Hiring voice-over talent from a professional audio production company like Voice Crafters is one of the most important steps when beginning to integrate voice assistant technology into your own business or endeavors. Click here to find out more about what we offer…better yet, why not ask your own voice assistant about us!