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I recently read an article by TechRadar about how smart speaker users are under-utilising the gadget. Based on a survey conducted, the article states that most smart speaker users are likely to command the gadget for simple tasks like weather forecast rather than making use of it for purchasing or repurchasing products online.

Right after I read the article, I asked Google Assistant on my Google Nest if she can make an online purchase for me. She said she couldn’t do it.

Google Home Fails

Okay Google, admit it. On numerous occasions you have seemingly been hearing my requests wrong, and even when I asked for a certain radio station to be played, you tuned into something completely different from my request on TuneIn!

Reddit also has multiple threads on Google Assistant failing to get things right, often times with hilarious outcomes.

But this time it wasn’t the case of miscommunication at all. Such a service simply doesn’t exist yet.

However, it got me thinking about how much an impact voice assisted shopping or searches can be to your business.

What If…

As of now, Google Nest is not able to do your shopping on household websites like Shopee, Lazada or Qoo10, nor can it hail a GrabCar for you. But that doesn’t mean that it won’t ever be able to do so. It’s only a matter of time before such things are possible.

While the companies I mentioned supported by a team of experts who can get quickly get voice aided experience running pretty fast when the tech becomes available, what about small businesses who run simple online stores on WordPress?

There are several plugins available that can incorporate voice commands to your website. So that’s a start. One plugin on CodeCanyon in particular even claims that it lets customers fill up your Woocommerce cart by voice command. So it seems that we are not far behind in this implementation.

The Optimisation Game

However, voice assistance is not the same as shopping via, say, Google Assistance.

Think about this carefully: In order for Google Assistant to buy from your store, it must first be able to find it, add the products to cart, set delivery schedule AND make payment on your customer’s behalf.

That means your website should not just be optimised for the shopping search engine. If, all this while, you have just been optimising your SEO for text, you need to now optimise it for voice search as well. One way of doing so include using conversational language (think how your customer will “speak” their shopping requests aloud), but this , although a likely scenario, is still a speculation until Google confirms it. It’ll only happen when the data for user behaviour has been confirmed.

Your website must also accept payment via a payment gateway that Google can use (in this case, I reckon it’s Google Pay). Google Assistant has yet to be able to automatically make purchase for you, however Google does keep a record of your online purchase, so it make sense for them to introduce auto-shopping based on, say, your most frequent purchase in the near future.

Conclusion

I believe it is only a matter of time before voice assisted shopping becomes a thing – more so than it already is. But I also believe that the first step to ready ourselves is to first ensure the optimisation of your website’s visibility on the search engines. Google still has a few issues to tweak on, so you still have a lucky break. Contact a good web developer to see how your website can be further improved from here on.

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Armen Rizal Rahman

Founder/Creative Director

Armen has over a decade worth of experience in the creative industry. He is a xennial who prefers PCs over Macs and is both tech savvy and tech phobic. He hates being called the "IT Guy".