Alexa – How Can Brands Leverage Voice Assist?

Voice commerce is here to stay. Make sure your brand and products are optimized for it.

Voice assist and voice commerce are here to stay, just ask Alexa, re-order black dress shoes in size 7. Or Google, what’s the status on my order? Siri, add these items to the grocery list.

Welcome to the world of voice assistants. Moderately priced and available to everyone and anyone, the voice assistant generation has been and continues to make waves across the industry. As technology advances, brands too must follow suit.

The ability to purchase items and products without ever having to step foot in a store is an upside in itself. However, the ability to continue to do that without having to physically order an item via mobile, tablet or computer is quite the game changer. And voice assistants are doing just that. Brands are in a voice commerce rat race, if you will, challenging one another to see who will make it across the finish line.

But the question to ask is how does your brand ride navigate through the voice commerce waters. While there is no clear cut answer, time is of the essence for brands who are considering this channel.

Alexa, tell me about voice search

According to EMarketer, the number of people using smart speakers will grow to 76.5 million by 2020. Who is using this technology today? The recent Turning Browsers into Buyers survey by inRiver reported 22% of US consumers have used a voice assistant to buy a product and this number steadily increases in the lower age groups. Voice assist and voice commerce are clearly making an impact on e-commerce.

However, as consumers continue to turn to the likes of Alexa and Google and other voice-controlled apps and devices, they will begin and continue to use them for search-related instances as well. In order to keep up, brands will need to ensure that all of their content is optimized for voice in addition to their other channels.

Similar to SEO strategies, brands should optimize for voice through long-tail keywords. Hone in on conversational type questions and statements that your consumer would ask their voice-assistant to produce answers and results for. In the perfect e-marketers’ world, Alexa would answer the consumer’s question with your brand.

SEO for voice search

*Image via

Marketers must first assess what questions their products or items are answering for their targeted audience. To remain visible in e-commerce brands should plan to invest in voice apps that help loyal and new customers alike make purchases directly from them. This ensures consumers have access to your products via voice while allowing marketers and data analysts to utilize personalized data to make smart recommendations that they would likely find pleasure in. Much like creating that perfect customer experience, brands must create a voice-first experience. Solely using voice search alone will leave you swimming with sharks while competition rises to the top of the market.

Alexa, what does this mean for brands like mine?

Looking ahead, Tech Crunch estimates that roughly $40 billion dollars will be spent in voice shopping alone come 2022.

Voice Commerce

*Image via TechCrunch

But, let’s push pause for a minute.

Without focusing on the dollars the company is looking to draw from voice-assistants, think about how your brand is going to continue to provide a seamless customer experience across this new vertical. What’s going to keep them engaged and build upon brand visibility? Make sure to plan for this and don’t leave anything to chance.

Never forget the importance of delivering a relevant, consistent and positive customer experience. Voice assisted purchasing isn’t immune that.

Alexa, how do brands bridge the visual and personal components with voice commerce?


Let’s tackle the elephant in the room. Sure voice assistants are great and they provide a lot of value to millions of people. But, exactly what role do they play when it comes to the visualization aspect of your products. This continues to be a bit of a challenge for brands and voice assistant companies today. If your customer base relies on physically viewing your product via mobile, tablet or desktop, you may be a bit skeptical to break into the voice commerce space.

However, Google and Amazon have been hard at work tackling this very concern. Enter Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Smart Display devices that plan on easing visibility issues for consumers who prefer to view the product and read descriptions prior to purchasing. Again, the value of accurate and consistent product information is critical, even in voice commerce. Make sure you can deliver the best images via a PIM solution like inRiver.

Data today is showing us signs that the voice assistant population and user rate is one of the fastest growing segments we’ve seen since the birth of the web and mobile devices. Voice assistants will have a huge impact on many things, but maybe, and even most significantly, on e-commerce and consumer choice alone. Brands simply cannot afford to be left behind as consumer purchasing habits continue to evolve over time.

Thanks, Alexa.

Listen in to the latest podcast on the future of voice commerce here from PIMtalk.



Written by

Erika Goldwater, CIPP

Erika Goldwater is the director of global communications for inRiver. An industry veteran, Erika lives and breathes B2B marketing, content, public relations, and data privacy. She's a Boston marketer who hails from Baltimore.