We’ve got everyone’s favorite dynamic duo on the show today, regular guest Bill D’Alessandro of Elements Brands and Miracle Wanzo, a longtime eCommerceFuel member and our in-house Facebook guru. Today we’re bantering back and forth on what we think the future of voice looks like, how Alexa and Siri measure up against one another and whether we think this trend is overhyped or about to explode.
What store owners are doing to optimize for voice now
The future of Alexa peddling Amazon products
Predictions on how voice can be used in commerce
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(With your host Andrew Youderian of eCommerceFuel.com, Miracle Wanzo of HipUndies.com, and Bill D’Alessandro of ElementsBrands.com)
Andrew: Welcome to “The eCommerceFuel Podcast,” the show dedicated to helping high six and seven-figure entrepreneurs build amazing online companies and incredible lives. I’m your host and fellow eCommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian.
Hi guys, it’s Andrew here. And welcome to The eCommerceFuel Podcast. Thanks so much for joining me on the show today. Today we’re gonna talk about voice, the future of ecommerce search or the next big flop that was hyped up and destined to become a failure but no one could see it at the time? It’s kind of a long title than I normally put on a show, but we might go with it.
But Voice Search, is that actually something that is gonna be, you know, the way people are gonna shop in the future? Obviously, we’re using it with Alexa, with our phones, it’s becoming more prevalent. I’ll get into a few stats a little bit further in the episode that kinda talk to how much more traction it’s getting. But is that gonna bleed over into eCommerce?
And joining me to talk about that are two of my favorite people in eCommerce, first, Miracle Wanzo, from hipundies.com. Very prominent eCommerceFuel community member, our official Facebook expert, and someone just who I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for. Incredible knowledgeable and smart woman.
And then also, Bill D’Alessandro from elementsbrands.com, also a good buddy of mine. And if you’ve listened to the podcasts for a while, you’re also likely familiar with him as well. We sit down and talk about Voice, so like I said, if it’s gonna be the next big thing or if we think it’s a little before its time.
Thanks To Our Sponsors!
But before we jump in, I wanna say a big “Thank you” to our two phenomenal sponsors who make the show possible. First, to the team at Klaviyo, who makes email marketing automation incredibly easy and profitable. And one of the ways that they can do that is with their very cool Shopify back-in-stock feature.
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Well, if you’re on Klaviyo, there’s an integration with Shopify that makes this really easy. People come, they automatically can sign up when a product is out of stock, and they automatically get emailed once you return the inventory to in-stock, which is pretty cool.
So, just one of the many features they have to help you make more money from your email marketing. So, if you’re not using them, get started for free today at ecommercefuel.com/klaviyo.
And then secondly, a big “Thank you” to Liquid Web, who offers the web’s best managed hosting for WooCommerce. A few cool things about their offering. First, they make it really easy to make a copy of your store and move it to a staging area. But even more so than that, because a lot of places offer that, they offer you the ability to stress test it.
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All right, let’s go ahead and get into our discussion today with Miracle and Bill, about voice. Bill and Miracle, welcome back to the show. Good to have you, guys.
Bill: Yeah, glad to be here. Good to be back on the podcast.
Miracle: Great to be back, thanks.
50% Of All Searches Will Be Done By Voice in 2020
Andrew: Yeah, of course. Thanks for coming on. So, we’re gonna be, like I talked about at the top, kinda doing a deep dive on voice. Voice is something I feel like it is, we haven’t done an episode on, it’s not really getting talked about a lot in the e-commerce world, but I wanna really talk about if it’s something we need to be paying attention to, how we should be optimizing our sites, and the future of it.
So, kinda casual conversation, curious to get you guys’ thoughts on things.
But I wanna kick us off with a few stats to kind of frame the conversation. The first one is, you know, 50% of all searches are gonna be done by voice by 2020. You know, in a couple of years, half of everything, and a lot of that being driven by mobile, but half is gonna be voice.
Thirty percent of all searches done by 2020 are gonna be done without a screen, think stuff like Alexa, HomePod, things like that. Thirteen percent of U.S. houses own a smart speaker today, you know, in 2017, rather, and will rise to more than half by 2022. And you think about Amazon Echo, and it was the number one bestselling item on Amazon this last Christmas.
So, how much do you guys use voice right now? Like, between Alexa on your mobile phone, are you guys using it a ton, are you kinda like me, not as probably in the game as I’m guessing Bill is? How much are you guys using? And Miracle, we can start with you and then go to Bill.
Alexa Has a Mind of Her Own
Miracle: I use Siri a lot to ask just basic questions that I don’t want to Google. I don’t use it for shopping. And I have a problem with Alexa.
Just the whole idea of the little things that have happened where Alexa has burst out in laughter during a conversation, I’ve had that happen and it was weird, or the recent news story of Alexa randomly sending someone in a woman’s contact list, a recorded conversation on her home, that’s led to me keeping Alexa outside of the rooms where I spend most of my time.
Andrew: Whoa, I’ve never even heard of these things. Have you heard of these, Bill?
Bill: Yeah, I couldn’t tell how much of it was basically like Alexa misheard what was going on in the room. And this is kind of funny because the Alexa in my office just lit up, and I’m gonna have to unplug it for this conversation because I’m gonna mention her name lots of times.
But, yeah, I think like, you know, she heard her name and like thought it was a joke and began laughing. Apparently, there was like a common phrase that triggered it. I didn’t know about the recording though, Miracle.
Miracle: Oh, yeah. That’s a recent one. Amazon actually verified that that did happen and that they were working to fix whatever it was that caused it.
Bill Lives With Six Echoes
Andrew: That’s so creepy. I think we’ll have it in, you know…this is a whole another episode, but the extent to which we’re living in a Big Brother world with more microphones and cameras than we care to admit. Bill, how much are you using Alexa for in your mobile phone to either order stuff or just, you know, in general in daily life?
Bill: As may be foreshadowed from my previous episode a few minutes ago, I own six echoes. They’re in almost every room in my house and then also here in my office at work. And I use them absolutely constantly, primarily for home automation because I have smart light switches all throughout my house, so I can say, “Turn on the fan,” or, “Turn on the kitchen lights,” or, “I’m going up stairs,” and that turns off the downstairs lights and turns on my bedroom lights.
All sorts of things like that I use it for constantly, which I actually think is one of the best use cases for voice, is home automation and control.
But I also use it very frequently. Every day, what’s the weather? Every day in the morning, play some music while I’m getting ready, in the evenings, play some music like while Natalie, my wife and I, are cooking. All sorts of things.
So, that being said, almost never for commerce. I don’t know if I’ve ever used them to purchase something, which actually leads to me being very bullish on voice, but bearish on voice for commerce.
Siri Needs To Up Her Game
Andrew: Yeah. It’s when I got our first Alexa. I’m kinda probably behind the team times, where given you have six of them. I had my first one this Christmas, I was one of those people contributing to it being the bestselling item. We have it in our kitchen. We use it probably most days, but primarily for music. And I use voice occasionally on my mobile phone, but the bigger reason I don’t use more is because I’m an IOS.
And Alexa, I feel like it’s phenomenal. I can have my kids running around screaming and I can, you know, yell something at Alexa, and over the din, she’ll be able to get it and, you know, do whatever I ask her. I can be in a silent room and enunciate as much as possible, and half the time, Siri first takes like 30 seconds to figure out what I’m saying, and then a lot of the times doesn’t even get it right, which is shocking.
I don’t know if you guys have this experience with Siri, but it blows my mind that Apple, with how much of the mobile market they have, they don’t have a better voice assistant.
Bill: The worst. I try to use Siri every day and I…just terrible. But Alexa’s great. I mean, almost every time, she gets it from across the room. Like, I can throw my voice across the room and my echo will pick it up, and Siri, on my iPhone actually sitting on the table right in front of me, and I could say, “Hey, Siri,” all day long and she doesn’t even wake up. And then even if she does, she screws it up.
Andrew: Yeah. Miracle, what are you using?
Miracle: Well, I do use Siri. I think one of the reasons that Amazon is leading in this space is because their technology for understanding language and processing language, and going from speech to text, and processing it, and bring it back to speech, is kind of available on AWS.
So, I think they have so many developers using it, that that’s why they have a much more evolved system for having those conversations come across is more natural, where when you use Siri, you definitely feel like you’re talking to a machine and you have to kind of adjust the way that you say things, and then you might get unpredictable results.
The Future of Purchasing Via Voice
Andrew: Yeah, it’s crazy. I wanna ask you guys, you know, what do you think the big question…obviously, voice is being used, Bill you kind of alluded to this, and I’m guessing I know your answer, you kinda, you know, gave it away. But, do you think this is gonna change the way, fundamentally, that we market products as ecommerce store owners? I’m not purchasing stuff on, you know, like that.
It sounds like you guys aren’t purchasing much either via voice. Do you think this has big implications for us as merchants?
Miracle: Sure. I think eventually, we’ll get to that point. I did watch a demo of Scott Galloway asking Alexa to buy batteries. Alexa gave some suggestions, and I felt like for something where you’re a little bit agnostic to which brand you purchase, that it’s great because you’re not really evaluating it much, except maybe the best price, or the best, you know, speed of receiving your order.
But I think for a lot of other things where I see voice being useful, is if the technology can evolve to the point where the assistant can do some preliminary shopping and filtering, and then present you with the best options visually one of your devices where you then can review them and then make a purchase decision. I think it’s gonna be hard to purchase a lot of things sight unseen, just totally relying on an assistant to get it right.
Bill’s Take: Will Be Difficult To Replace Research and Customer Acquisition
Bill: I think that’s exactly what I would say, because voice really, when you think about it, is a pretty low bandwidth medium. I mean, it’s very good for commanding control, “Turn on the lights,” it’s very good for, “What’s the weather?” or, “What’s five times 52?” you know, or basically, basic question and answer.
But, I mean, try to edit a photo with your voice, or try to do comparison shopping for different brands of laundry detergents to figure out which one you want. I mean, it’s the same reason that, you know, a lot of people much prefer to read text than watch video, because text can be scanned, text, you can put two documents side by side and compare them.
If if everything had to be done by voice, I mean, can you imagine reading the news, like, having the news read to you? It’s just not as high bandwidth.
So, I think voice has a spot in commerce. It’s not that it will not be used for commerce, I think it’s great for say reordering things that you’ve already ordered, like a subscribe and save type functionality, or, “Hey, get those batteries I got last time,” or whatever it was.
But I think it’s very difficult to replace that research and kind of customer acquisition piece with voice, where actually, that’s where a lot of the money is. That’s where all the ad dollars are, right? Is in customer acquisition. That’s what brands pay for, is to acquire new customers.
Whereas I think voice can get particularly interesting for a ongoing relationship with the customer you already have that maybe is loyal to keep them loyal, or to cross sell them other things if they already know what they’re gonna get when they buy from your brand. “Oh, yeah, I buy the laundry detergent. I’ll take the fabric softener,” that type of thing.
Using Voice for Discovery
Andrew: Yeah, I wish I could come in here and offer a really strong counterpoint and disagree with you guys for, you know, having a fun little…some banter on the show, but I gotta go totally in agreement with you. And if you look at the top things that people are using mobile voice search for, at least among adults, you know, number ones through number six are directions, dictating texts, calling someone, checking time, playing a song, and movie times.
And, you know, of all of those, really, one is only kind of maybe loosely correlated with business, and that’s getting directions to, you know, a business or a place to eat, or something like that.
So, Bill, you kind of mentioned before, you know, discovery is really the issue with voice, and if…I think part of telling that is trust. Like, I think if things change a little bit in the future, we’re thinking about voice and the way it works now with the way commerce works, but imagine a world where Alexa knew all of your browsing history, knew your location, could tap into your e-mails, and maybe it integrated with third party review sites like The Wire Cutter, we were talking about this earlier as well.
If it got a lot better at knowing who you were, what you liked…you know, I was also talking with Miracle, I don’t know if you were on, Bill, but location, like you’re in North Carolina and I’m in Montana, and the fashion trends are very different, right?
Like, if you say, “Alexa, get me an outfit for this weekend,” the outfit it’s gonna generate for you is gonna be very different from the one which it’s gonna generate for me in Montana or even, you know, Miracle, in San Francisco. And so, over time if you’re willing to give Alexa more data and it can start leveraging some of the AI machine learning with your preferences and things like that, and that trust gets solved,
I think we could definitely start to see it become more of a force. But I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that yet.
The Cloud Brain Separation
Bill: See, what you’re talking about though, is you’re talking about the strength and potential of AI, and you’re talking about the Alexa application as like the cloud brain. But to confine it strictly to voice, I mean, assuming that Alexa could do all those things, you could just as easily give the command, “Give me an outfit for this weekend,” by clicking a button on a screen. Voice is really just the interface. And that’s sort of what I think you have to separate.
You know, the cloud brain that is Alexa, yeah, it can get phenomenally more powerful, but I just think voice as an interface is just so low bandwidth that it’s again, more command and control of the cloud brain rather than…you know, I think people when they talk about shopping, you know, what is shopping?
That is I wanna compare a few options, I wanna learn about them, and I wanna make a decision. I just don’t think voice is a high enough bandwidth interface for that type of activity.
And now, if I’m willing to trust your recommendation, then the cloud brain is very good. It’s a low bandwidth interaction to say, “Make a recommendation, I trust you,” right?
Andrew: Right, yeah. And I guess my argument would be voice is so easy. You know, you can be very, you know, on a top of mind ask something by voice that it’s low friction. And so the more you trust the results you get, the more likely you’re gonna use that low friction approach to be able to order things.
I totally agree with what you’re saying, voice is just kind of the avenue to get to that recommendation engine, but you’re gonna trust that recommendation engine more and leverage it more especially, you know, low recommendation for voice if it’s much better.
Using Voice as a Prompt
Miracle: Well, what do you think if voice was used more of a prompt to customers? And I don’t know how you do this without making it creepy, because in some regards you’d be looking for the device to initiate the conversation, but would there be a good use case for voice to do something like a prompt to reorder something that’s re-orderable, or to suggest something that is a good companion to a purchase recently made? What do you think about that?
Bill: That’s not bad as an upsell. Like you say, “Hey, Alexa, buy that laundry detergent I always buy,” and then it goes, “That brand also has a fabric softener, would you like to buy that too?” You know, that you can see for, sure.
Andrew: Yeah, I mean…Miracle, are you thinking like you’re just kind of sitting there in your kitchen having dinner and a kind of off the plot and nothing, Alexa chimes in and says, “Oh, hey. It seems like you’re running low on dishwasher detergent, can I recommend this?” Like, it’s proactively prompting you for things? Is that what you’re thinking?
Alexa Might Be Good at Upselling
Miracle: That would be too creepy. But if you are already engaged in that, like say you were doing that, “Hey, Alexa, buy the laundry detergent I always buy,” and Alexa said, “Okay, well I also notice it’s been, you know, a while since you’ve reordered this, would you like to reorder?” That kind of thing, I could see being useful.
Implementing Voice for eCommerce
Andrew: Totally agree. Yeah, I totally agree. Are you guys thinking about or doing any…and we’re talking about this at a high level, are you guys making any, you know, changes today or tweaks today, to your website, or your SEO where your marketing strategy is to try to target voice? Or is it something that’s a little bit too abstract for, you know, real implementation at this point? And Miracle, maybe we can start with you.
Miracle: No, I haven’t done anything. I’m in a wait-and-see mode. I do play around, though, sometimes with the AWS services that relate to voice just to see where they are in terms of the evolution or the ease of use for a normal ecommerce site. And it’s been pretty fascinating to watch how much Amazon has rolled out in this space over the past, you know, year or so that I’ve been looking at it.
But I think we’re gonna get to the point where the machine learning will be able to just understand the context of websites.
And maybe that type of structured data that we use in the past, we’ll only need it for really complicated technical things, but for most basic products, I think we’ll eventually be at the point where the technology can just look at the web page, scan it, pick up the context, pick up all the little data points that it needs, and have the ability to do something with it, and turn it into language that the machine can use to communicate with the user.
Bill: Yeah, we’re not doing anything proactively either. I mean, I’ve seen in talking with other sellers, it seems like the, at least right now, the biggest implication of voice is that if you are able to get that Amazon’s choice badge for certain keywords, that is the product that Alexa will recommend for those certain keywords if somebody happens to voice search in those cases. So, it does make that Amazon’s choice badge a little bit more desirable.
But we also recently had a product that was very hot and I was looking in my Amazon conversion rate, I had conversion rate of 115%, and that didn’t make any sense, and our only way we were able to theorize what might be going on is people were buying it with voice, so it was generating conversion without a page view, was my hypothesis.
So, I think voice could be driving transactions, but there’s really not much needed to optimize for it beyond that trying to get that Amazon’s choice badge for the keywords that matter to you.
Planning for Google’s Voice Assistant
Andrew: Interesting. And one thing, I don’t know if you guys have seen this, I don’t think Google has rolled this out yet, but there’s rumors that in the search console, just like they split out on analytics, just like they split out mobile traffic and desktop traffic, they’re gonna start splitting out queries based on voice versus regular, you know, kind of keyboard input, which should be really interesting to see.
And I did some digging on this, because I’m not doing anything at all right now either to try to optimize for voice. And I read a handful of articles expecting to see like, “Hey, there’s a lot of markup,” or, “You should do this or that,” it’s a pop up, and the only things I found, I think most of it was really related to local, having your markup data really well done if like for your hours, or your location, or what kind of business you are if you’re a local business, for directions and calls, things like that.
You know, there’s a mention of trying to land that featured snippets, you know, kind of the question that often gets pulled and put on top by Google, because that’s a lot of times what, especially Google’s voice assistant will read, and a couple of recommendations on how you can maybe change your keywords tracing to target more questions and more naturally spoken requests versus typed ones.
But to be honest, reading through, I don’t think people really have any idea, apart from maybe some basic local stuff, how to optimize this for voice. It seems like it’s still pretty much the Wild West, and not a lot of real concrete stuff that’s gonna help a lot at this point.
Bill: And I don’t feel like voice yet is big enough that you would wanna sacrifice the optimizations you’ve made for text in order to be optimized for voice.
Alexa Makes You Shop for Amazon Brands
Andrew: Yeah. What do you guys think? One thing we looked at before we hopped on was Scott Galloway, the guy from L2. I think a lot of people know him. He had an interesting video on how he believes Alexa is gonna kill brands. And he uses the example…Miracle, you mentioned there earlier about how, you know, you shop for batteries, Alexa pops up the two Amazon basic types. It doesn’t offer anything from Duracell or Energizer, or any of that.
His whole point is based on that given when people shop more brands are really gonna die because it’s, you know, Amazon is being this portal and it’s limiting that brand choice for you. What do you guys think about that? You think he’s on the money, or do you think he’s kinda overblowing those fears?
Bill: Yeah, Andrew, you and I have talked some, I think there’s a prior podcast episode actually, where we talked about this. I come down on the side of in some places, this will hurt brands. But I think to some degree, it will really be a monetization strategy for Amazon because you’ll be able to pay to be the one that Alexa recommends. So, it’ll just be kind of a new type of ad unit, and brands are used to paying for ad units.
But the other thing is as I kind of alluded to earlier, brands are very much shortcut for consumers. Consumers love brands. I mean, brands…the death of brands has been much heralded for decades as stores have rolled out private label products and stuck them right next to the branded options on the shelves at half the price, and yet still, brands persist.
I think there’s something very, very deep in the human psyche that likes brands. Brands are a shortcut for product quality. You can see a new product but from a brand you trust. You can buy that without having to read the reviews. If you see a new product from a brand you trust, it’s a great upsell. Brands can convey status and prestige, which matters sometimes.
You can argue more than ever in kind of a Instagram world. So, I think discovery of brands are changing, but I’m not quite on the brand-pocalypse Scott Galloway trend.
Not a Truly Brand Agnostic Future
Miracle: Yeah, I agree with Bill. I was a little disappointed that he made that prediction, because, you know, his four horsemen video was such a great thing. And he talked about the things that motivate people to buy products, and how sometimes people buy products out of things that have absolutely nothing to do with the functionality of the product, but then he made this statement about voice killing brands as though most purchases of branded products are utilitarian.
So, I felt like it just didn’t have the best context because I think there are things that people purchase where their attachment to that purchase, or that product, or the usage of that product, is so strong that the idea that just a random recommendation from anywhere could kind of break that bond is a little misguided. There are some things that people care so much about that they’re not brand-agnostic. They really do care.
But then there are a lot of things that people buy where it wouldn’t matter who made it. And I think maybe those are the products or the categories that are most at risk, but the problem is that differs for different people. Some people, like I care about my toothpaste. A lot of people don’t, but I really do care. So, you know, I think where it matters for the consumer can differ across the spectrum of products. And I don’t know that you can unilaterally say that voice is a threat to brands, because people buy for irrational reasons.
Andrew: Yeah, that’s a great point Miracle. I mean, he, to your point on Scott, he talks a lot about like Apple being the ultimate luxury brand, and the reason people buy it is like this show status and, you know, at some level like signals they are good all this kind of stuff, and kind of goes against a little bit what he’s arguing with the brand.
I agree with you guys. I think the only time where that might be more of an issue is if we get into a point in the, you know, pretty distant future I would suspect, where kind of going back to what I was saying earlier, you have Alexa, or, you know, kind of the recommendation engine gets so good at recommending products for you, knowing your history, your contacts, your past purchasing record, all that kind of stuff that you really trusted, and, you know, it’s got a 80%, 90% rate where the things it recommends, you just absolutely love.
But I think that’s a ways away, and until that happens I think there’s, you know, that’s gonna be brands are still are here to stay for quite a while.
Is Spotify The Fifth Horseman?
Andrew: Totally unrelated, have you guys…I’d love to get your thoughts on this completely unrelated topic, but he just came out with a recent post about how he thinks Spotify, there’s a good chance it’s gonna be the next, kind of the fifth horseman. And he makes the argument it’s got global reach, it gets better with time, it kind of appeals to a younger audience.
Have you guys any thoughts on that? I don’t know of if you saw that piece, but I…maybe this is just coming from a place where I missed out on Amazon at 200 even though Bill was smacking me in the face trying to get me to buy. I totally missed the boat on Shopify, even though, you know, I should’ve known, and still I’m wondering if I should pay more attention to hear it.
You guys, any thoughts on Spotify, and if you think that’s gonna be something that takes off in the next…really takes off as what he would call the fifth horseman?
Bill: That’s a complicated one. I mean, you would have to give it a horseman status. I think you got some questions about what that means, but I know one that comes to mind is Netflix, which is basically the large tech company in video. So, you could argue that, “Will there be a large tech company in audio?” perhaps. I think the thing that makes Spotify in the music business different is just this decades of entrenched royalty model.
And you’ve got very few licensing companies that have the rights to almost all the music in the world, I think almost without exaggeration, locked up.
And if you look at Spotify’s financials, they are giving every penny they make to the labels, which I don’t know if that dynamic exists in the same way in video. And Netflix has really pushed to create original content, I think, which frees them from a dependence on like the Marvel movies, for example, you know, the big content creation houses.
And I don’t know if that works in music or not. I think in order for Spotify to kind of rise to that level, I mean, they’ve got to start displacing things like radio in a way that Netflix displaced television.
So, before Spotify, I think, gets status like that, you gotta show that people are not listening to the radio anymore, and that also they’ve got to develop some sort of unique content creation capability, and show that we can sign artists and record music, and people will wanna listen to it. That’s hard to do.
Miracle: So, a while ago, there was this article, really good, don’t remember where I read it, and it was about Spotify’s machine-learning team, and how good it was at picking up people’s playlists in the music they listen to and translating that into actionable information.
And there was a specific group at Spotify for one of the genres of music that had the ability to kind of launch artists and then take that data from their Spotify, all of the data from the Spotify platform, and then give it back and show all the things that could be actionable, like what the artist should be doing to promote, where they might have a high density of fans for touring and all of this other stuff.
And it’ll be interesting to see how Spotify commercializes their platform just outside of those standard ads that show up if you’re on Spotify free, because there may be a play for being more of an intelligence platform, not, you know, that they get the data from the streaming of the music and then that’s not a profit center, but the data that they have that they can sell to companies is profitable, just like Twitter.
Twitter has this thing where they make a lot of their profit by selling data to companies as opposed to the actual trashiness of hits ad platform, for lack of a better phrase.
A Final Consensus: Is Voice Overhyped?
Andrew: Well, guys, I’m gonna wrap us up on kind of voice in general, but maybe in closing, and maybe this is a little too binary, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway in the sake of making us take a stand on thoughts on if, you know, voice is gonna be the next big thing or if it’s slightly overhyped.
And, you know, stuff like mobile payments comes to mind, where two years ago, you know, I was hopeful…I think a lot of people were hopeful that Apple Pay would roll out and all of a sudden, our mobile conversion rates would, you know, get maybe not on par with desktop at least be somewhat in the vicinity of VRs, some of those other things.
Thoughts on whether voice is something that’s a little overhyped right now because there’s a lot of talk about it, or if it, you know, some of that actually is legitimate. And I think on my side, I take the standpoint of I think this is gonna be big for usability on mobile, big for local businesses, and I think maybe long, long term, it’ll be something that changes the way commerce is done, but for the next, you know, two to three years, definitely, it’s not something that’s gonna take a meaningful chunk away from eCommerce stores, especially if you’re off Amazon.
It maybe a little more on Amazon or more nuance, but especially if you’re off Amazon, it’s not gonna be something that’s gonna be a major threat. So, thoughts, guys?
Miracle: Oh, no, I pretty much agree. I don’t know how far we are from having voice be a big thing, because the evolution of the technology is so rapid, but I definitely think it’ll eventually get there, because, you know, we’re not gonna put that genie back in the bottle. But in the meantime, I don’t know that right now ecommerce merchants need to be worried about losing out to voice.
Bill: I would put it somewhere in between major shift, next big thing, and you also suggested is it dud like VR. I mean, you could argue whether or not VR is a dud or just not quite here yet. But my hypothesis is that voice kind of becomes something like voice-over IP. Like you remember when Skype was the next big thing, and it was gonna replace all telephones, and Skype was gonna be the next multibillion dollar company etc., etc.
And, you know, they sold for a lot of money to Microsoft, to eBay first and then Microsoft, but what actually happened is voice-over IP just kind of merged into everything.
You can make a voice call in the Facebook Messenger app. You can make voice call in Whatsapp. You can make voice call in almost every platform under the sun. Voice-over IP kind of became this thing that was commoditized. And I sort of think that’s what’s gonna happen with voice control and recognition, that it’s just going to seep into everything.
I don’t think it’s gonna become sort of this monolithic platform that replaces keyboards or replaces, you know, some maybe new form of interaction.
I just watched a really cool video on mental control of computers based on nerve impulses.
But I think it will just be a new way but one of the many ways that we interact with computers, much more like inventing a new type of keyboard rather than an entire new paradigm, I think, for how things are done. It takes is one step closer to the man-machine-mind meld, but I still think it’s more of an interface than it is a platform.
Andrew: Awesome, guys. This is fun around what to come back on in two or three years and talk about how we’re ordering 90% of our purchases through Alexa, and see how it pans out.
Bill D’Alessandro, from elementsbrands.com, and Miracle Wanzo from hipundies.com among others. Guys, thanks so much for coming on. It’s always fun chatting and batting this stuff around.
Bill: Yeah, man. Thanks. And if we get to that point, Miracle and I will come back on and spend an hour talking about our strategies optimizing for voice.
Andrew: Love it, look forward to it. Thanks, guys.
That’s gonna do it for this week’s episode, but if you enjoyed what you heard, check us out of ecommercefuel.com, where you’ll find the private vetted community for online store owners. And what makes us different from other online communities or forums is that we heavily vet everyone who joins, to make sure that they have meaningful experience to contribute to the broader conversation.
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What Was Mentioned
Andrew Youderian: Blog | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
Miracle Wanzo: Website | Twitter
Bill D’Alessandro: Website | Twitter
33 Voice Search Statistics to Prepare You for the Voice Search Revolution
Scott Galloway: This Technology Kills Brands
There Is Another by Scott Galloway
Flickr: Ayşe ÖZSOY
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