After years of hype, voice commerce, also known as conversational commerce, has finally become sought-after tech able to bring tangible business value. To wit, almost 40 million Americans currently have a smart speaker, and 43% of worldwide owners use these connected devices to shop online.

Read on to dive deep into these challenges and find out ways to address them.

Speech recognition: Dealing with false interpretations

Even when speaking to each other we may misunderstand some words and their meanings. So it stands to reason that machines are also prone to error, not being able to interpret spoken words correctly or understand the contextual relation of phrases and sentences.

Ambiguity is another reason why voice commerce devices will probably fail to provide a smooth shopping experience. First, consumers might use words with double meanings thus confusing their smart assistants. Second, some of such errors can be traced to linguistic phenomena when users are speaking spontaneously, for example, pronouncing a whole phrase as one word.

Moreover, conversational commerce tech is often challenged when it comes to accents. It’s not always easy to distinguish between American and Scottish English, for example, or Castilian and Latin American variants of Spanish. The problem might be aggravated by the difficulty in interpreting a user’s speaking due to a variety of voice tone and loudness as well as background noise.

When there are difficulties in understanding sentences, smart assistants can clarify what shoppers want through further dialogue. However, it’s not touted as a sure-fire method, because it requires more time and effort, leading to poor user experiences.

How a speech application learns

Deep learning for speech recognition

Deep learning for speech recognition
Source: Mozilla

The optimal solution in this regard is adapting your voice-based eCommerce software to various accents, tones, vocabularies, and meanings through machine learning. By training your solution on huge volumes of data around people’s speaking and shopping terminology, you’ll obtain far better speech recognition results. Namely, your voice commerce device will better understand commands like comparing, buying, returning, and exchanging products, tracking the placed orders, and making repeat purchases.

Comprehensive training on various datasets will also empower your conversational commerce system to distinguish between a shopper’s words and background noise — such as other speakers, wind, transport, etc. — giving consumers an extra layer of comfort.

How we can help

Whether you need to enhance your existing software with voice-powered functionality or build a robust eCommerce solution from the ground up, we’re here to assist you.

Security and privacy concerns: Keeping data out of bad hands

Introducing new digital products to the global market always involves privacy concerns, and voice commerce devices are no exception. According to Bloomberg, 52% of consumers are worried that their voice assistants are passively listening to private conversations. The situation is also aggravated by the concern about how much access providers of smart speakers have to voice recordings.

Moreover, like any other digital product connected to the internet, voice commerce assistants are prone to external attacks, for example, voice phishing. Fraudsters might upload voice-controlled apps that secretly record users revealing their passwords and then use this information for credit card fraud.

To give shoppers a good night’s sleep, allow them to delete the history of voice recordings anytime and customize their privacy preferences like disabling “personal results” from showing up, muting the assistant, setting a purchase password, and disabling unused services.

Train your system to start acting only after a “wake-up” word, a beep sound, or a command-like intonation have been detected. Limit exposure to risk for your voice-controlled gadgets by enabling end-to-end data and network encryption as well as two-factor authentication. Also, reduce unauthorized usage through voice-based user identification.

By performing robust vulnerability scanning, you’ll be able to identify potential threats in your network devices like firewalls, routers, switches, servers, and applications. Penetration testing — including internal, external, blind, double-blind, and targeted testing — will help you to proactively address risks, ensuring compliance with security and privacy standards such as PCI DSS and GDPR.

Voice commerce personalization: Reducing purchasing time

If you want to create a consumer experience that transcends that of a typical e-store, make the most of AI-powered personalization. Underpinned by data about purchasing preferences and previous orders, voice-activated assistants will make the buying process easier than ever. For example, the system won’t be frustrated when asked to order avocado. Ripe or unripe, organic or conventional — smart devices will make the right choice without asking additional questions. And besides ordering items with 100% accuracy, voice systems can make relevant product recommendations.

Chatbot interactions

Chatbot interactions

What does the process look like? When online shoppers give their consent to process their personal information, voice-activated devices powered by AI proceed to aggregating valuable data from various sources like e-stores and social media, analyzing it, and creating insight-rich customer profiles. Such profiles then help virtual assistants understand what items need to be ordered (even if they were not informed of a particular product code) and what items shoppers would probably be interested in right now or in future.

Leverage ML to train your system so that it could make relevant suggestions even if a customer hasn’t made up their mind yet or is looking for a product similar to that they saw on TV, in contextual ads, or when window shopping. The ability to find the right product based just on vague oral descriptions — thanks to the connection with a wide range of eCommerce stores — will give your device an incredible leg up, contributing to customer satisfaction.

Do you speak the language of voice commerce?

A relatively new trend, voice commerce has already gained traction, and you can’t ignore this fact if you want to continuously expand your client base. End-to-end development of a voice-powered solution might take much time and resources, but it’s worth the price of the ticket. With multi-year experience in eCommerce and artificial intelligence, we’re here to build a tailored voice commerce system that will help you enhance shopping experiences, attract new customers, and increase your bottom line.