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Voice assistants set to have bigger impact on e-commerce

16 January 2018 - 11:04 by Graham Miller

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Services like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa will be used to carry out safe shopping online more widely than ever in 2018, according to a study published by YouGov.

Analysts revealed that although just two per cent of Brits have made online purchases using a voice-controlled digital assistant platform of some kind, this trend could triple its popularity over the next 12 months and change e-commerce for good.

Report spokesperson, Amit Sharma, said that consumers in the UK were already exhibiting growing eagerness to try out voice-based safe shopping online, with the rapid growth expected to continue throughout 2018 and beyond as people become more familiar with the experience and benefits.

This echoes the results of a similar study carried out by Salmon in North America, which found eagerness to embrace voice-controlled devices for retail purposes among consumers. And since online shopping is even more popular in Britain, it could once again be the proving ground for the new tech.

Amazon has been an especially ardent supporter of this type of service, with its Alexa assistant and the Echo smart speaker range giving customers a way to simply ask for an order to be placed, rather than having to go through the hassle of handling everything manually from a smartphone, tablet or PC.

Since its smart speakers were also best selling products in 2017, the number of people who now have access to Alexa is always increasing, giving consumers the opportunity to experiment with a new way of shopping.

Whether voice-controlled e-commerce will ever overtake traditional ways of interacting with retail sites and services remains to be seen, but with 300 per cent growth in usage projected this year, it is possible that it will eventually hold sway over a sizable segment of the market.