We have a new wild west.

Awhile back it was mobile. Then it was social media. Now voice is our wild west.

Why is that? Given its infancy, best practices have not yet been established and the ways to leverage voice are still being uncovered. But voice is quickly transforming computing by providing a natural means of interaction. Which means, the question isn’t a matter of if you should invest but rather when.

The short answer, the urgency depends on the industry. For food and household brands, it’s urgent. And companies like Dominos, Starbucks, Philips and Procter & Gamble are racing to understand the technology and make their products stand out.

3 reasons why it’s urgent

1. Voice will give you an edge against your competitors

A new channel for sales left untapped is money left on the table. Today smart speakers account for $2 billion in annual sales and it’s expected to grow to $40 billion in four years. And when we look at mobile, 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last 6 months. Whether via a smart speaker or app on mobile, buying with voice is easy. The eCommerce challenge is to reduce barriers to purchase. Voice is one-click ordering, but even better, it doesn’t require you to get out your phone or head to your computer. You can keep doing what you’re doing and place the order effortlessly. Watching a movie and starting to get hungry? Just say:

User: Alexa, ask (your brand) to order me my favorite (food)?

Alexa: You got it, your order has been placed. It will arrive in 30 minutes.

2. Data is the path to success and customer loyalty (voice unlocks the power of data and analytics)

We can serve our customers best when we understand them. Today, our customers expectations are changing rapidly. The best way to understand their evolving needs is to engage with them. Design research is king here but voice opens up a really unique opportunity, it removes the learning constraints of screens.

You can pull good insights from your digital experiences whether it’s your website or mobile app. But the findings are confined to the space you’re in — where are people clicking or where are they dropping in the checkout flow. If you are confining your research insights narrowly in a channel, you miss insights gleaned from customer behavior.

As Yelp reviews have taught us, the loudest voice in the room isn’t necessarily the right voice to listen to. With voice you’re able to scale and listen to as many customers as you want, not just the loudest. And voice lets you talk to large volumes of your customers continuously. The more data you have the more patterns and insights you can uncover, enabling you to better understand not just a subset of your most vocal customers but all of your customers. The better you understand them, the better you can serve them holistically as the insights you’ll gain from voice can positively impact all aspects of your business.

3. Voice helps you close the loop from marketing to transaction without leaving the experience

Customer acquisition can be expensive. With voice you can market and sell all in one place. Conversational commerce is powerful. Instagram has been moving aggressively into connecting people from the inspiration or ad they get with the platform into the buying funnel. But to do so, you head to a website. With voice even if you are buying through Amazon or Google, it feels seamless. Reducing the risk that someone will abandon their order.

Adding in an experiential layer makes it not just easy but fun to buy the things we need. Offering entertainment, value and learning all in one place.

Next Steps: Design Sprints

From UX design we’ve learned that infinite possibilities and potential, makes for decision paralysis. You don’t want to make a bad investment but you want to have a branded voice experience.

design sprint is a test-and-learn tool we use to help businesses mitigate the risks and costs associated with developing a new product or experience in a way that puts people first. My team at Moonshot has found success in using design sprints as part of our broader methodology known as FUEL, a process for solving complex, open-ended problems that don’t have a “right” answer. With design sprints, we partner with our clients to co-create and rapidly develop product ideas, create a minimum lovable product (MLP), and test it against customer feedback to determine market fit. The best part? All of this is done within just 4 days instead of months or years.

Raika Sarkett

Raika Sarkett

Practice Lead, Voice