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Thriving in the Age of Voice Commerce & Digital Assistants (vCommerce)

Thriving in the Age of Voice Commerce & Digital Assistants (vCommerce)

The Rise of the Smart Speaker

Thriving in the Age of Voice Commerce & Digital Assistants (vCommerce)
We’ve breached another new frontier in marketing. Thanks to the widespread adoption of IoT like Amazon’s Alexa and other smart speakers, a new channel has emerged and is rapidly picking up speed in the world of eCommerce: Voice-Commerce (vCommerce). Here’s a quick guide with all the stats and tactics marketers need to know to get a grip on the new technology, fast.

Forerunners & Followers

As more voice-enabled devices like Google Home, Echo Dots, and Apple’s recently released HomePod continue to pervade households, the rate of voice based purchases is skyrocketing. Forrester projects that by the end of 2018, 26.2 million U.S. homes will have smart speakers, spelling fortunes for online retailers.

What’s more, a report published by Juniper Research estimates that smart speakers will reach more than 55% of U.S. homes by 2022. With his residence completely integrated with Google Home, Redstage CEO Adam Morris says he’s “constantly witnessing improvements in voice capabilities from new commands to more accurate responses.” Considering the growing adoption rate and skill set of voice assistants, Morris says, “I believe voice is ready for eCommerce.”

Now that we can see the adoption curve, let’s dive into the implications from a search perspective.

The Heart of vCommerce

Thriving in the Age of Voice Commerce & Digital Assistants (vCommerce)
At the heart of the vCommerce movement lies our common frenemy, Google. Not only is Google now making all types of smart speakers to compete with Amazon, they’ve naturally gained dominance in the vCommerce search market. Remember, voice search did not exist before 2016.

To get an idea of how quickly the tech is taking over, heres some info from Kissmetrics: “Within 2016 alone, voice-based search went from zero to 10% of all search volume. Today, 20% of all searches have voice-based intent, and by 2020, ComScore estimates that half of all searches will be done by voice.”

“Today, 20% of all searches have voice-based intent, and by 2020, ComScore estimates that half of all searches will be done by voice.” –Kissmetrics

Say it again in your head… HALF of all searches… that’s real estate you can’t afford to miss out on. The fun game for the years ahead will be keyword planning for customer voice searches… but we’ll get back to that later on.
Here’s another one from Forbes: “Voice assistants are already being used to make purchases by 40% of millennials, with that number expected to exceed 50% by 2020.” So now you’re thinking, okay, great, more Adwords campaigns right? But wait! There’s more you can do to prep for this torrent of voice shopping.

Getting Your Share of Voice

Unapologetic marketing puns aside, here’s how to prep for vCommerce.
Thriving in the Age of Voice Commerce & Digital Assistants (vCommerce)
Step 1: Behavioral Analysis
Get your strategy team together and dive deep into your customer behavior segments. Which of your products are getting the most search traffic? What are your top sellers? What are the top products customers search for within your site?

Step 2: Search Out Loud
Think about what products you’ve personally searched for recently and how you found them. Brainstorm which of these products you’d order on a whim from your bedroom, your kitchen, your laundry room, or your entertainment center. Think about things you might search for while out at the store to compare prices, and things you could order from your desk at the office. More importantly, think about a product you need, like a refill on paper towels, and ask for it out loud. It’s likely that the way you ask for something aloud is different from how you search for it online. Saying “Alexa, order me more [Brand name] paper towels” is a bit different from typing “[Brand name] paper towels” in Google. Use this to your advantage.

Step 3: SEO Linguistics
Once you’ve tackled mobile-first SEO, start to rethink SEO in terms of natural language. Grab your smartphone or your favorite smart speaker and run some voice searches. What are the top results? Which of your competitors are showing up? What meta descriptions and keywords are they using? What phrases are their Google ads populating for? Think long-tail, because every customer is going to be asking for things a little differently.

If you’re new to this, “Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search. They’re a little bit counter-intuitive, at first, but they can be hugely valuable if you know how to use them.” (Wordstream) Retool your content for natural language and start ranking for voice searches as well as regular (manual-typing) searches. With this in mind, remember that voice searches are the ultimate gateway to impulse purchases. Take advantage of this, make some tweaks and test, test, test!

“‘The websites that will win…are incorporating (voice) search strategies for typers and talkers, alike,’ says Michael Peggs, Founder and Chief Content Creator of Marccx Media.”
Inc.com

Step 4: Get Local, Get Vocal, and Get on Amazon
According to Search Engine Watch, “Mobile voice-related searches are 3X more likely to be local-based than text.” This means, it’s time to boost your local search magnet. If you’re not using Amazon as a channel to sell more products, now’s the time to start, as Alexa is programmed to suggest products from Amazon automatically. Don’t miss the chance to have your product recommended by a customer’s favortite digital assistant.

Additionally, consider reminding your customers that they can find you via voice search! This simple announcement can make a better CX for anyone who’s not yet accustomed to using voice search. More importantly, if you have Alexa Skills for your store, you’ll definitely want to tell the world. Send your customers an email telling them how they can order their next product just by saying a phrase. The’re not likely to forget it. Don’t have an Alexa Skill for your store? Read on:

Step 5: Get The Alexa Skills Kit Get the Alexa Skills Kit and start creating voice-enabled Alexa skills. According to PracticalCommerce, the kit is “a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it easier to create voice-driven capabilities for Alexa.” Not only will this allow your customers to make purchases simpler, but more importantly, as an accelerating number of retailers invest in the trend, more customers grow accustomed to using this pervasive technology.

Final Thoughts

Thriving in the Age of Voice Commerce & Digital Assistants (vCommerce)
To recap, 2020 is shaping up to be a critical year for vCommerce. The projections scream 50% across the board. By then, roughly 50% of U.S. households will have smart speakers. 50% of all searches will have voice-based intent. More than 50% of millennials will shop via voice.

While voice as a channel begins to enter the main stream, Morris notes that eCommmerce traditionally lags behind the latest trends and technological innovations. “We [at Redstage] talked about mobile becoming the next big change in eCommerce 5 years ago. The industry collectively lagged far enough behind that now mobile traffic has overtaken desktop and today many still aren’t properly leveraging it. Mobile conversion rates are still roughly one-third of desktop rates, another sign that companies across the board haven’t realized mobile’s full potential. I have a feeling voice will follow the same pattern, though hopefully at a slightly quicker pace with what we know now. We’re witnessing and projecting massive adoption, so we’ve got a few years before the industry becomes accustomed to using voice competitively. However, voice-commerce is an inevitability, and we should start preparing now just as we had to prepare for mobile.”

Now if you’re now thinking, “vCommerce is still on its way to maturity, so I have some time right?” Consider this tidbit from DigitalCommerce360, “A recent survey by SAP Hybris found that 38 percent of U.S. consumers would consider using digital assistants for their holiday shopping this year, a significant increase over the 17 percent who reportedly used voice devices for holiday shopping [in 2017].” If you’re looking for an edge this holiday season, this could be it.

Further Reading on Marketing in 2020

If you liked this article, you’ll also want to read, How All B2C Companies Should Be Marketing By 2020 for more disruptive insights.

17 Awesome & Odd Geek Gifts For The Nerd In Your Life

17 Awesome & Odd Geek Gifts For The Nerd In Your Life

With the holidays imminent, shopping is a must, and based on the crazy black Friday estimates, all the trending “cool” stuff is flying off the shelves. However, I must point out that we nerds are a misunderstood people, and where some nerdy gifts are held in high regard, others simply don’t make the cut. In an effort to right this wrong, I sent a mass email to the designers, developers and techno-forward geeks at Redstage asking for suggestions… They delivered. So from the bottom of our hearts, here’s 17 awesome & odd geek gifts for the nerd in your life.


#17 The Star Wars Death Star Tree Topper

No Christmas tree is complete without the paying homage to the doom wrought across the galaxy by the Death Star. Bring some light (side) into your nerd’s home this holiday with a warm reminder of the first blow to the Empire delivered by the Rebel Alliance. This warm, explody ornament will give your nerd a new hope and inspire many happy holidays to come.

#16 The Circuit Board Necktie from Amazon

The ultimate nerd dad gift. It’s also made out of 100% microfiber so he can clean his glasses.
Pressure him into wearing it to the office at least once. We would.

#15 This Really Disturbing “Squirming” USB Tentacle

Seen on LaughingSquid.com
This… thing… is guaranteed to make anyone you give it to really uncomfortable.
Don’t even watch the video. Just skip it…

Who would buy this???

Better yet, buy it for someone at work. Jeff, the weird guy.

Jeff would love this.

#14 Deathwish Coffee & K-Cups

Coffee isn’t exactly nerdy, but with great power comes great responsibility. Death Wish Coffee upholds its title as the world’s strongest coffee on the consumer market, and I personally attest to that statement. Need to write a 20 page project proposal in 1 hour? DONE. Need to network your butt off at an event and completely reverse the effects of jetlag? ALSO DONE! Need to crunch 30 hours of coding into 5 so you can enjoy the holidays? FA-La-La-La-Laaa—La-La-Laa–DONE. This stuff is powerful. Use it wisely.

Do not operate heavy machinery.

#13 Logitech Wireless Bluetooth Ultra-Portable Keyboard

Hear about on Tim Ferris' podcast.

Heard about on Tim Ferris’ podcast.

Finally, a portable keyboard that’s small enough to fit in your bag, wireless, and actually comfortable to use. Find it on Amazon here.

#12 The Five Minute Journal

Heard about on Tim Ferris' Podcast

Heard about on Tim Ferris’ Podcast

The Five Minute Journal is a great way to start every day with optimism by making you focus on the positive things in your life. It comes highly recommended by well known author, entrepreneur and e-marketing wiz Tim Ferris.

#11 A Portrait of Your DNA

Seen on

Seen on DNA11.com

Want a gift that’s both highly intrusive and also incredibly awesome? Say no more! The lab geeks at DNA11 make custom portraits that include a little piece of you or a nerd you love by using your actual DNA. Buying it for someone else? Secretly remove the cotton swab from the company’s special kit and place it into your loved one’s mouth when they’re sleeping. Next send off their DNA to a company you just heard about. What’s the worst that can happen? They might never trust you again, but these posters look really, REALLY awesome.

#10 Tentacle Cupcake Toppers

Seen on Etsy of course...

Seen on Etsy of course…

Apparently this is a trend… Make any dessert creepy and unsettling with these tentacle — I can’t even say it. This is the last time I ask around the office for gift suggestions.

#9 Nano Quadcopter Drone

This little guy is sure to create a little bit of buzz this holiday. Here’s what GeekWrapped.com has to say about it: “This quadcopter is one of the smallest in the world and uses a ton of scientific and engineering marvels to fly. It’s incredibly fast, stable, and agile, offering hours and hours of high-speed fun and mid-air racing around the house.” Create the cutest non-lethal drone army ever by buying 500 of these puppies here.

#8 Aftershokz Bone-Conduction Wireless Headphones

Tired of putting those wireless earbuds in your ear? Wish there was some space-age technology to make your entire skull into a speaker instead? Well now there is with the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones. This headset uses bone-conduction audio to boost your beats from INSIDE your head. Just don’t use them when your boss is calling…

#7 Bookniture

What do you get when you combine strategic innovation, origami, and functional design? Bookniture is redefining furniture for the modern age. These amazingly engineered books unfold into tables, chairs and leg-rests that can hold up to 1000 pounds! Bring one to your next conference or throw a chair-in-a-book in your bag for a place to sit at the park.

#5 The Sphero App-Enabled Robot Ball

Seen on Sphero.com

Seen on Sphero.com

Forget drones and the antiquated radio controlled cars of old, Sphero is here for a new generation of kids and nerds of all ages. This app-enabled robot lets you program and control the Sphero from your smartphone. You can make it change colors, teach it to roll, flip, spin and more! Definitely one of our top picks. We’re not excited to see these rolling around the office at the end of the month…

#5 The AMPware Crank-Charging iPhone Case

17 Incredibly Geeky Gifts for the Nerd in your Life

Seen on AMPware.com

Never run out of phone battery ever again. Never be stranded in an unfamiliar city after a late client meeting or drinks after a tech conference. Here’s a handy dandy way to crank power into your phone from the genius geeks at AMPware.

#4 The MYO Gesture Control Armband Wearable

Seen onMYO.com
Feeling like the Internet of Things hasn’t quite caught up with your lifestyle? Get ready for the next level of nerd-dom with a MYO Gesture Control Armband. Using a variety of gestures based on muscle movement, you can control everything from Netflix, YouTube and Spotify to drones and more!
Buy one or check out the full feature list at MYO.com

#3 The 3Doodler 3D Printing Pen

Seen on Amazon.com

Seen on Amazon.com

The latest explosion of 3D-printed art is changing the way we live, work, and design. Forget the Legos and use this pen to create standing structures from this hand-held 3D-printer pen!

#2 The Cube Portable Color Digitizer

17 Incredibly Geeky Gifts for the Nerd in your Life

Seen on Amazon.com

This insanely cool piece of geek tech lets you scan any color, anywhere and add it to your collection within the CUBE app. Great for designers and creatives of all kinds, with one click, the CUBE automatically captures color data in HEX, RGB, CMYK, LAB, LRV and more for later use.

#1 The Gaderffii

17 Incredibly Geeky Gifts for the Nerd In Your Life

Seen on Amazon.com

A favorite of Star Wars geeks everywhere, you’ll find Gaderffii’s all over
Redstage’s Jersey City office. Our developers and sales guys can be seen raising the staffs and yelling a threatening “Olololololol!” battle cry whenever they complete a project or score a goal in foosball. The Gaderffii or “gaffii stick” was the traditional weapon of the Tusken Raiders of Tatooine, adopted by the Rebels and Ewoks alike as a powerful tool and lethal melee weapon. The Gaderffii makes an excellent addition to your nerd’s collection, trophy case, or office cubicle. You can learn more about this weapon’s history on this Wookiepedia page.

Redstage’s Jersey City office

What gifts top the list for the geek in your life?
Let us know in the comments below!