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Brits embrace voice-controlled online shopping

29 June 2018 - 09:00 by Graham Miller

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Consumers in the UK are usually the first to adopt new technologies to help them shop, so it is no surprise to see that a new survey from Wiraya has found a growing appetite for voice-based e-commerce orders.

Internet Retailing reports that a typical Brit who has embraced services like Amazon’s Alexa to shop online using their vocal commands would be willing to splash out around £195 on a typical order.

This average spend is even greater amongst those over the age of 30, hitting £232 for people who fall into this age group.

The study also found that consumers are keen to see more customer service solutions and support platforms offered through voice activated digital personal assistants. This could transform the way that safe shopping online operates and force retailers to rethink their e-commerce offerings.

Traditionally the best way to sell products online has been with a well designed website, but Alexa and the Echo smart speaker range have changed that. The interface is no longer visual, but aural and oral, which presents its own set of opportunities to embrace and challenges to overcome.

Security is clearly a concern, since being able to place an order simply by asking for it out loud could leave consumers open to exploitation. There have already been incidents in which orders were placed by accident, so if malicious third parties get involved then the extent of the damage could be much greater.

Usability is also up for debate, as not every voice controlled digital assistant is capable of coping with the different accents and dialects that exist around the UK, even amongst people who are all technically speaking the same language.

Such problems will be ironed out as more people adopt this approach to retail and firms can justify investing in making improvements to meet demand and expectations.