Conversational Commerce and Shopping By Voice (in 2018)

Posted By Debbie on April 23, 2018

Another thing I see trending is Conversational Commerce… shopping by voice. When Google Homes started getting hot in 2017, I saw lots of articles about how you were going to shop by voice. Same happened when people bought Amazon Echo and similar products. Amazon wanted you to imagine reordering laundry detergent by telling Alexa.

Do you like paper towels?

I read as many articles as I could find on shopping by voice. Nearly every example I saw had to do with one of two things:

  • Buying paper towels.
  • Reordering something you’ve previously bought.

What’s missing from this list? Buying something you have not bought previously AND that you might need to research, compare, or even see to decide to buy.

Paper towels are easy. I like Target brand. Or Brawny. Or I don’t care! Google, send me a 12-pack of paper towels. Don’t care!

Reordering is easy. Alexa, reorder Volutz USB C cables. I had those. I liked them. I want more.

What about everything else?

Shopping by voice sounds like the next big thing but I think it won’t catch on that fast. There are so many things to research, compare, and see before making a purchase decision.

I think I looked at nearly 20 Amazon listings for USB C cables before choosing the ones I did. Are they braided and strong? Do they have good reviews? How long are they? Can I get them in a pack of varying lengths?

If I take that much time to shop for cables, what about something where appearance really matters? You need a holiday dress for your child. You want it to match the shoes she already has. We need to look at dress cuts, colors, lengths, etc…

Can you buy a dress with your voice? I doubt it. I am not sure what we would need to say to you for you to know this is the best dress. It’s pink. What shade of pink? It’s long. How long? It has flowers. What sorts of flowers, how many, and in what pattern? It’s sleeveless. Spaghetti strap or some other sleeveless shape?

Google Assistant assumes I can see.

I just asked Google Assistant on my Android phone to find me a pack of USB C cables for under $20. The voice said, “Have a look at these results. The first is from Amazon.”

Have a look. I’m going to need to look. And that’s where shopping by voice falls apart.