Recent research is showing that despite the growing proliferation of voice tech inside all of our homes, nobody is using it to make purchases. When Amazon brought Alexa into the world, everyone assumed it would be an immediate e-commerce play.

So far it hasn’t. Nobody is buying via voice. Should brands who rely on e-commerce as part of their revenue still invest in voice?

Absolutely.

Years ago, nobody would do anything on mobile. Remember that? There was a trust level that had not been established for a long time. I would download a light saber and Yelp on my iPhone…but I sure as heck wasn’t going to buy anything. What if something went awry? Would it even work?

It seems silly now as I look at my phone today. I have a whole folder of consumer apps from Amazon to Postmates to Starbucks to my BANK that have all my financial information. I don’t think twice about not only making purchase decisions…but actual purchases on a mobile device.

It will take some time - perhaps even longer with the growing public distrust of tech companies with privacy issues - but I think consumers will eventually grow comfortable with the idea of Alexa ordering them a few odds and ends as they run out of diapers, detergent or birthday gifts that slipped up on them.

Why Is Now Such a Prime Time for Brands on Voice?

Now is a perfect opportunity to engage on voice as a brand. You don’t have to go straight for the hard sell to get a return. This is a time to view voice as a brand-building opportunity.

The most clear and obvious approach is to add a utility feature to voice products. This article from SmartBrief outlines what this could look like. A brand could work with an SEO expert to see what types of problems potential customers are trying to solve. If there’s a way voice could make life easier for them, your brand could provide that utility.

Sure, there’s not an immediate ROI on something like that. Here’s the benefit:

Consumers will build trust with your brand over time from a voice tech perspective. If you are able to provide them with a smooth (and helpful) experience on voice over and over again, they’ll eventually trust your brand on that platform. They’re building familiarity with you in that space. Once you’re in a position to start trying to implement a more transactional element to an Alexa skill, you’ll already have built that credibility.

Consumers will be more likely to make voice purchases from brands that have already established credibility with them on that platform.

This could go for all emerging tech. Test out new platforms. Don’t look at them for the hard sell out of the gate. Look for the brand building opportunities with emerging tech. Even if it doesn’t take off, you’ll learn more about your consumers along the way.

What brands do you all see doing cool things in voice today? Would love to hear about them.