What Is Voice Commerce? Everything You Need to Know

Find out how to give voice to your eCommerce website

Jameela Ghann - Writer for Fast Simon
By Jameela Ghann
Michelle Meyer - Editor for Fast Simon
Edited by Michelle Meyer
Oli Kashti - Writer and Fact-Checker for Fast Simon
Fact-check by Oli Kashti

Updated February 26, 2024.

Woman sitting in front of a laptop computer holding a cell phone

Technology continues to shape the way we shop and interact with the online marketplace. One recent development is the rise of voice commerce, a concept that's changing the eCommerce landscape.

In this blog post, we explore what voice commerce is, how it differs from traditional eCommerce, and its growing significance in the industry. We'll also discuss the sectors and products that are better suited for voice commerce, the associated challenges, and exciting emerging trends to watch out for.

Meet the Expert

Jameela Ghann is a seasoned online store owner with over a decade of eCommerce experience. Apart from running Alora Boutique, she's also the marketing manager for Fera Product Reviews.

What Is Voice Commerce?

Voice commerce, also known as V-commerce, is the process of using voice commands to interact with an eCommerce platform.

Instead of typing search queries or product names, you can simply use your voice to navigate, search for products, and even make purchases by speaking to voice assistants like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, or Apple's Siri.

For instance, you can say, "Find me a sequin blue dress under $50," and the voice assistant will provide you with relevant options. This mode of interaction is in stark contrast to traditional eCommerce, which relies on manual typing and clicking.

Traditional eCommerce vs Voice Commerce

Traditional eCommerceVoice Commerce
InteractionText-based interfacesVoice-based interaction
AccessibilityRequires screens and manual input Offers hands-free accessibility
User ExperienceVisual and text-based interactionAuditory and conversational
SpeedMay involve multiple clicks and manual data entryStreamlined and efficient
Multimodal IntegrationPrimarily visual and text-based interaction Offers potential for multimodal integration (e.g., Augmented Reality)

Voice Commerce Example

Below, we have a basic example of using voice commerce on a laptop to find sequin blue dresses under $50 online.

As you can see, once you've given the voice command, you get search results almost instantly. You can start a new voice search by clicking on the microphone icon in the top search bar.

» Bring voice commerce home: Consider adding it to your store's site search capability

Voice commerce and voice search are becoming increasingly significant in our daily lives. Consider these statistics:

  • Voice assistant eCommerce transactions are expected to hit $20 billion globally—that's 4x more than in 2021.
  • One-third of US homes own a connected device (like a smart speaker).
  • 52% of people who use voice assistants do so almost daily or a few times a day.
What's interesting is that people often use voice assistants when their hands are occupied, such as when driving or cooking, highlighting the convenience and accessibility of voice commerce.

A humorous yet telling anecdote is the emerging trend where students, so accustomed to voice assistants, accidentally refer to their teachers as "Alexa." This underscores the integration of voice technology into our lives, especially among younger generations, who are likely to shape the future of voice commerce.

» How does voice search influence SEO? Find out here

Suitable Sectors and Products for Voice Commerce

Voice commerce is particularly well-suited for sectors and products that benefit from convenience, repetitive purchases, detailed specifications, and extensive research. For example:

  • Grocery shopping: Voice assistants can simplify the process of adding items to a shopping list or placing orders for groceries.
  • Electronics: Products like smartphones, laptops, and gadgets often require detailed specifications, making voice search a valuable tool for tech-savvy consumers.
  • Furniture: When searching for furniture, users may have specific requirements, such as size, color, and budget constraints. Voice commands make it easier to convey these details accurately.
  • Measurement-dependent products: Items that require precise measurements, like curtains or custom clothing, can benefit from voice commerce, as users can describe their specifications verbally.

Challenges of Voice Commerce

While voice commerce presents exciting opportunities, it also faces certain challenges:

  • Voice recognition accuracy: Accents, dialects, and regional variations can pose challenges for voice recognition technology. It requires more investigation into natural language processing.
  • Cost: Integrating voice commerce technology can be costly, encompassing expenses like software development, licensing fees, and ongoing maintenance.

The future of voice commerce holds exciting possibilities. One notable trend is the integration of voice commands with augmented reality (AR). This combination allows users to try on products virtually using voice commands. Additionally, companies are exploring ways to enhance the shopping experience with voice-activated AR for furniture and other customizable products.

Researchers in India created and tested an AR-based Android app that projects a life-size car. Users can use voice commands to open car doors, change colors, switch on lights, and more. The idea is to apply this solution to any marketing endeavor and enhance product demos.

Virtual reality (VR) can also pair well with voice commerce, but it requires a lot more equipment to make it happen. So, it may only be a certain subset of people who become immersed in VR. However, AR requires a smartphone only. Since 68% of the global population already uses smartphones, this makes it easier for users to access AR.

Unlocking the Potential of Voice Commerce in eCommerce

Voice commerce is transforming the way we interact with online shopping platforms. Its convenience and accessibility make it a powerful tool for both consumers and businesses. While challenges like voice recognition accuracy and initial costs persist, the potential for growth and innovation in this field is undeniable.

Keep an eye on emerging trends like voice-activated augmented reality, as they have the potential to reshape the eCommerce landscape in the coming years.