What steps should brands take to embrace voice?

Voice – one of the key tech trends identified in our latest research – is an area that’s growing rapidly. The growth of voice as a channel is primarily taking place on smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home. And it’s happening fast: just a year after release, 9% of UK households owned an Amazon Echo and over the 2017/18 Christmas period, the Echo Dot, Amazon’s entry-level smart speaker, was the best-selling item on all of Amazon.com.

So what’s next for smart speakers? And how should brands react in the face of the market’s rapid growth?

Gartner estimates that by 2020, smart speakers will drive $2.1 billion in spending, with 3% of households worldwide owning at least one smart speaker.

As consumers start to embrace voice to make purchases, one of the first steps brands will have to take is to rethink their channel strategy. Incorporating voice will be important along the path to purchase but its most significant impact will be at the point of purchase.

Brands that are able to capitalise on voice quickly and develop Skills and Actions (the smart speaker equivalent of an app) that make the purchase experience slick and easy will reap the rewards. And will quickly become the preferred brand of choice in their category. In this way, smart speakers will play a key role in influencing and then restricting brand choice. Once consumers become accustomed to using a simple voice command to order their morning coffee or repeat their online food shop, it’s going to be difficult for other brands or new entrants to compete.

So what steps should brands looking to tap into voice take? One of the experts we interviewed, Linden Tibbets, CEO of IFTTT had some useful recommendations:

“Right now … [voice is] largely a nice-to-have, a cool, innovative, hip thing to do… If it switches to a must have, what does that either replace or supplant or change, about how your customers are currently interacting with your service today? That’s the question that everyone is racing to figure out, so I think one of the easiest ways to begin to answer that question for your own business is to put your toe in the water, to actually give it a try, and begin to learn. Even if you’re not all in, you can afford to try it, to get plugged in.”

So get involved and start building a Skill or Action. If you want to make it into consumers’ consideration set, you need to get in there fast.

Want to learn more about emerging tech trends that brands should start considering? Download our latest report, Tech Trends Set To Transform The Insight Industry, to find out more.