Is it finally time for your ecommerce business to start taking voice search seriously?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Whether you personally consider smart assistant devices such as Amazon Echo or Google Home to be the future of online communication or a mere gimmick, the mere fact that more and more of us are becoming owners of them should cause ecommerce store owners to sit up and take notice.

Indeed, it was reported just earlier this year that almost a quarter (22%) of UK households now had a voice-controlled digital home assistant device like those we mentioned above.

This is quite the jump on the 11% figure recorded in 2017 – and with 41% of households having indicated that they plan to own such a device in the next five years, the actual ownership percentage at present may already be a lot higher.

No less crucial, however, is how we are using these devices

As recently as August, it was reported that almost 60% of smart speaker owners in the UK had used their device to shop in the last month. However, nearly half – 45% – felt that they weren’t really getting the most out of their devices, which indicates just how much of a burgeoning opportunity voice ecommerce might well be for many online retailers.

Moreover, Google has predicted that half of all searches will be initiated by voice by next year. So, is now the time to start re-jigging your own ecommerce portal for the emerging era of voice-activated shopping, or is the hype around it still outpacing the reality?

There are very real complexities to shopping by voice

Unfortunately, if there’s any reason for you to not invest a huge amount of time and money into readying your site for voice-initiated shopping just yet, it’s the sheer awkwardness and difficulty of trying to search for and purchase products using voice alone, at least for now.

For one thing, even with simple goods such as T-shirts, there are just so many attributes and variables for shoppers to compare and choose from – think the likes of size, colour, style, fabric, price, brand and so on.

And, while artificial intelligence (AI) is certainly continuing to improve, it’s still got some way to go until shoppers can be assured of a concise and easy path for sorting through the various choices before them as far as product specifications are concerned.

Nonetheless, voice-based shopping is a field to keep an eye on

Even if the AI in today’s voice assistants isn’t quite up to the task just yet of conducting the sophisticated conversations that many customers will expect if they are to start making serious use of this method of online shopping, the seeds of such development have certainly been planted.

As a consequence, voice shopping is creeping up and up on many ecommerce store owners’ priority lists – and it should be doing the same on yours.

As for what you can do right now to boost the relevance and usefulness of your e-tail portal for the current preferences and needs of your customers and those that they are likely to have in 2020 and beyond, get in touch with the Piranha Designs team today for a more in-depth conversation.

You’re welcome to contact us at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices, and when you do, we’ll be pleased to advise you on the best steps to take with your ecommerce website design to achieve the results that you want.

The ‘unusual’ product images that will do the most to boost sales

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 03, 2019

The visual element of the online shopping experience undoubtedly makes an immense difference to customers’ ultimate buying decisions. This is especially so given that the customer is unable to physically touch and examine an item prior to purchase.

It is precisely this that may have led you to include product images on your ecommerce site that showcase your items from various angles, as well as in close-up to draw attention to more specific features.

It is, though, possible – and potentially fruitful – to go even further with the ‘non-standard’ images that you supply for your online product pages. Here are a few examples of what we mean.

Context of use

A context-of-use image is one that shows how the product is to be used. Of course, there’s the obvious purpose of the product that may seem self-evident, but also alternative uses you could highlight in your product images to inspire the imaginations of prospective buyers.

You may find out about potential alternative uses of the product through your own experience, or even as a result of your customers simply telling you.

Size and proportion

Even when specific figures are given for a product’s size, it can be very easy for shoppers to become confused. That’s why you might decide to make it even easier for the customer to decide whether to purchase, by making the item’s size and dimensions even clearer through the images you use.

Including other elements in the photo for straightforward comparative purposes is one step that you might take. If the product in question is very small, for example, you might show it alongside a coin or in someone’s hand. A medium-sized product, meanwhile, could be shown with a person or animal, while a particularly large item may be best depicted next to a vehicle or building.

Consider, too, the items that could be shown inside the product – money and credit cards, for example, in the case of a purse or wallet.

User-generated images

When you look to purchase a given product online and land on a product page, there’s a good chance that one of the first things you do is look for the elements of content that actual customers have provided in relation to the product. Those include not only customer reviews, but also any images that customers may have contributed.

So, why not tap into customer images to help your store to drive sales? After all, such images constitute ‘social proof’ – demonstrating that others have bought and used the product – and provide a realistic view of the product, thereby helping to keep returns down.

Asking your customers to submit their own images of the given product – while perhaps offering enticements like reward points or store credit – could therefore prove more than worthwhile to your efforts to present your ecommerce site’s offerings in more dynamic and engaging ways.

Would you like to talk through your requirements for your next ecommerce website design with professionals who have ‘been there and done it’ and possess the most up-to-date specialist knowledge and skills? If so, it couldn’t be more straightforward to get in touch with the Piranha Designs team.

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