Con­sumers Use Siri, Alexa For Daily Tasks — Not Shop­ping

WWD Digital Daily - - In Focus: Business Insights - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH DOUPNIK

A new re­port re­veals that con­sumers are slow to use voice-ac­ti­vated as­sis­tants to fa­cil­i­tate shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences.

Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the power of a good search bar. Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by per­son­al­iza­tion plat­form RichRel­e­vance, con­sumers con­tinue to opt for good, old-fash­ioned search func­tions for their shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ences — not voice-ac­ti­vated as­sis­tants like Ap­ple's Siri or Ama­zon's Alexa.

“Search is an es­sen­tial part of the com­merce ex­pe­ri­ence,” said Mike Ni, chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer of RichRel­e­vance. “Ses­sions us­ing search ac­count for 45 per­cent of e-com­merce rev­enue, yet our study in­di­cates that many com­pa­nies still un­der-de­liver when it comes to rel­e­vance and ac­cu­racy, par­tic­u­larly on mo­bile. While con­ver­sa­tional com­merce has risen to the top of re­tail buzz, voice search still in its in­fancy for shop­ping.”

Polling over 1,000 U.S. con­sumers last month, the re­search dis­cov­ered that an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity — 86 per­cent — con­firmed that a search bar is still im­por­tant for shop­ping on a re­tailer's web site — via desk­top or mo­bile.

If a re­tailer or brand doesn't have a strong search tool, 72 per­cent of sur­vey par­tic­i­pants said they would aban­don the web site. What's more, 80 per­cent said they al­ways use a search bar when shop­ping on­line.

The heavy-use pat­terns of tra­di­tional search points to the slow adoption of voice-ac­ti­vated as­sis­tants. Ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey re­sults, 70 per­cent of par­tic­i­pants have yet to use such a tool. And con­sumers don't have much faith in in­dus­try lead­ers like Google, Mi­crosoft, or Ama­zon to get it right. Sixty-three per­cent said they don't ex­pect cur­rent lead­ers to crack the code on voice-ac­ti­vated as­sis­tants.

“With many re­tail­ers look­ing to go be­yond last-gen­er­a­tion key­word-based search, brands and re­tail­ers would be best served by fo­cus­ing on per­son­al­iza­tion and image search while po­si­tion­ing them­selves to win with any de­vel­op­ments in voice-based search,” Ni said.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, Mil­len­ni­als and Gen­er­a­tion Z are more open to us­ing voice-ac­ti­vated tools when shop­ping than older co­horts. The sur­vey re­sults found that 43 per­cent of younger con­sumers have used the fea­ture, op­posed to 30 per­cent of older par­tic­i­pants. When they are us­ing the tech­nol­ogy, they're opt­ing for Ap­ple's Siri over Google or Ama­zon.

Ama­zon’s Echo Plus.

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