i3 - May/June 2018 - 15

By Susan Schreiner

Tech

C 4 T R E N DS

Speak to Me

 E 

LIZA, one of the first chatbots, was introduced more
than 50 years ago. But it wasn't until Siri in 2011, Alexa
in 2014, and Facebook's Bots launch in 2016, that the
mass market noticed conversational assistants.

Chatbots are ushering in a new era of
man-machine interaction that goes far
beyond information retrieval applications
that rely on simple question-answer system constructs. As machines learn how
to speak and perform human functions,
voice and AI will enable e-commerce and
retailers to deliver differentiated consumer experiences that will transform,
disrupt and enhance shopping through
the most intuitive way of interacting with
devices: voice communications.
Voice control products are changing
customer behavior. Between Amazon
Alexa and Google Home, nearly 30 million voice devices have been sold in the
U.S. Today, 26 percent of U.S. smart
speaker owners have made a purchase by
voice. One in four people have placed an
order or executed a monetary transaction
on a screenless device, according to
Voicebot.ai's Smart Speaker Consumer
Adoption Report.

Jiraroj Praditcharoenkul/Getty Images

Voice: Making Shopping Easier

As traditional retail faces turbulent
times, e-commerce is being reimagined. In 2017, roughly one percent of
retailers and brands said they were
investing in voice experiences. In early
2018, that percentage rose to 50 percent, with many companies understanding that voice is playing a pivotal
role in the consumer experience when
it comes to searching for and buying
items on a mobile device.
Many websites and mobile apps are
improving the shopping experience
with natural language to bring new
efficiencies and engagement. For
example, retail giant Alibaba is using
"very simple natural language processing" to answer a huge volume of
C TA . t e c h / i 3

customer queries for their popular
November 11 Single's Day sale. "There
are so many customers, if you don't
use any machines to help you to reply
to their questions, you will be in trouble," said Assistant Professor Lu Wei
from the Information Systems
Technology and Design Pillar at the
Singapore University of Technology
and Design.
As software, AI and machine
learning advance, people will be able to
search, transact and create wish lists,
with voice creating a personalized experience. Customers will simply browse
and purchase via voice rather than typing, regardless of device.
By 2020, more than 400 million
devices will connect with voice-based
platforms, including consumer tech
products like watches, phones and
appliances as well as Alexa and
other smart speakers, according to
Cowen Research.

shopping service and the Google
Assistant for mobile phones and
enabled devices like Google Home. It
gives customers an easy, voice-driven
shopping experience across Google. A
shareable list, universal shopping cart
and instant checkout with saved payment credentials works across Google
and the Google Assistant - allowing a
store's customers to seamlessly turn
browsing into buying. Target,
Walmart, Ulta Beauty, Costco and
Home Depot have signed up.

Technology on the Move

With the rise of AI, machine learning
and deep neural networks, speech
technology is becoming more sophisticated. Found in everything from
smartphones and smart speakers to
appliances and automobiles, voice tech
will provide immense business value.
Voice is expected to be how consumers
soon will interact with retailers and
brands alike to provide a frictionless
experience, regardless of platform
or channel.
CONTACT: Reach Susan at
susan@c4trends.com

Google vs. Amazon

The competition between Amazon and
Google for voice shopping is heatingup. In March 2018 Google introduced
its Google's Shopping Actions program, to enable retailers to compete
against Amazon while their customers
are shopping on a mobile device. Last
August, Google partnered with
Walmart to enable voice shopping
from Walmart only through Google
Home devices. Amazon followed
with a partnership enabling Amazon
Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana to communicate with each other.
Google's Shopping Actions program
allows retailers to list their products
on Google Search, the Google Express

Voice control
products are
changing customer behavior.
MAY/JUNE 2018

15


http://cta.tech/i3

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of i3 - May/June 2018

Contents
i3 - May/June 2018 - Cover1
i3 - May/June 2018 - Cover2
i3 - May/June 2018 - Contents
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i3 - May/June 2018 - Cover3
i3 - May/June 2018 - Cover4
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