At Amazon Pay, we like to say that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. If we want to understand what the future of shopping will look like, we need to see how trends in commerce have developed in the past.
Since the emergence of digital, commerce has been in a state of disruption, first with e-commerce and then with the rise of mobile commerce. With each leap forward, the user experience has favoured simpler, more intuitive interactions.
Today we are in the very early stages of the third era – voice – a powerful medium that will transform our daily lives and thus our interactions with technology and brands.
Voice is here
We can all remember a time when people said the internet wouldn't be a big deal, or mobile devices were just about making calls on the go. Each time, those who had the vision to see past the conventional wisdom and prepare for the future came out a few steps ahead. Those who chose to wait were left scrambling to catch up. The past two decades are littered with cautionary tales of businesses that miscalculated how quickly consumers will adopt and trust a new technology.
We are on the cusp of experiencing that same tipping point with voice commerce. Consumers are buying voice-enabled products at a rapid pace: to date, customers have purchased over 100 million Alexa powered devices – from home security systems to appliances, cars, and of course, Echo devices – which are now able to run over 90,000 skills from a myriad of developers.
Since the advent of personal computers, we've gone from typing, to clicking, to touching to swiping and now, to speaking. This new generation of AI-powered experience is introducing not one, but three, paradigm shifts: With voice, the user experience is more natural, contextual, and trusted than ever before.
Voice is natural
Conversational interfaces are transforming the way people interact with services as they untether from keyboards and smartphone gestures and replace those interfaces with a more natural style of interaction: the spoken word.
The average person can type 65-75 words per minute. However, most people speak 125-150 words per minute. Not only does voice feed our need to move fast, but it also provides much more information in one-to-one communications. As long as intent is understood, faster and richer interaction leads to greater customer engagement.
In recent consumer research conducted by Amazon Pay, we have found that 20% of American consumers are likely to buy a product or service using voice in the next three years.1
Ask yourself, do you want to be there with them and learn what will shape the future of connected experiences? Or do you want to play catch up once voice has become an established force?
Voice is in the moment
In our research, 30% of American consumers ranked the ability to purchase in the moment/in context as one of the top five reasons to purchase through voice.2
“In the moment” is a unique attribute of this medium. In the moment means different things for different people. It can mean “I can do this without having to find that device and unlock it and get to a web site or start an app, remember a password or battle the fingerprint reader…”. Or It can mean, “I don’t have to make an appointment with myself”. Or It can mean, “This is intuitive, and effective”….
“In the moment” might mean different things for different consumers, but for merchants, it promises a different level of engagement with the customer.
Voice is trusted
All relationships are built on trust; if you don’t have trust, you don’t have much of a relationship. Customer expectations, in turn, are higher than ever. With more choice, more access to information, and less incentive to be loyal, it is harder to win their sustained patronage. When it comes to the use of technology the trust factor is even more critical.
In an era where customers are increasingly apprehensive about what brands and companies they can trust, nurturing relationships can pay huge dividends. Our research shows that 69% of American consumers say that they will purchase more from a seller that they trust will keep their personal information safe. And 84% will switch if they don’t trust you and your brand.3
At Amazon, we consider that our most important asset is the trust that customers put in us. Internally, “Trust buster” is the most critical assessment for a proposed new policy or feature.
We are therefore honoured to be recognised as the most trustworthy brand by our customers, as reported by The Values Institute. It plays an essential role in how we are building new personal experiences.
The evolved consumer
So what does all of this mean for the future of consumer behaviour?
Understanding, context, and trust will enable customers to engage in the moment in meaningful ways that will undoubtedly prove transformative.
Customers today are looking for a truly connected experience. Forward-looking brands are designing their interfaces to facilitate a seamless, multi-channel customer journey - and in 2020 that journey will lean heavily into voice. Learn more about the connected journey and explore simple ways you can get started with Alexa and voice commerce today at https://pay.amazon.co.uk/how-it-works/voice
123 Amazon Pay conducted a double blind online survey in April 2019 among 10,297 consumers in the United States (US, N=1898), United Kingdom (UK, N=1399), Germany (N=1437), France (N=951), Italy (N=953), Spain (N=951), Japan (N=1468), and India (N=1240). All respondents were third-party panellists (not limited to Amazon customers).
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