Voice Search in B2B eCommerce: What You Need to Know

November 15, 2018

Category: B2B eCommerce

If you’re an executive with a B2B eCommerce or order management experience looking to make customer-centric decisions that count for long-term growth, you need to pay attention to voice search.

  • Get to know what voice search means
  • Learn how voice search impacts the customer journey
  • Understand what benefits voice search technology brings to your B2B eCommerce experience
  • How APIs will speed up the infiltration of voice search in B2B eCommerce

voice search on mobile - four51What is voice search?

The easiest way to solve a problem is by talking to another person face-to-face. So it makes sense why voice search is taking off. With voice-enabled technologies, we’re finally able to talk to our devices in the same way we talk to another human when we need to get something done.

Voice search uses spoken language as the medium of interaction with search engines rather than typing text into a search box. Some voice-enabled digital assistants include Amazon Echo, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri or Google Home.

Voice search provides new and different opportunities to support the customer journey.

Voice search is becoming a more prominent feature in all our lives. You use voice-to-speech capabilities on your smartphone to have texts read aloud in your car. You have Alexa add items to your shopping list while you cook in your kitchen. You speak to your remote to tell it what tv show you’re looking to watch next.

In fact, by 2020, 50% of all internet searches will be done using voice search (ComScore).

Is the B2B space ready for voice search?

Voice search is on track to infiltrate more than our home lives thanks to the increasing prominence of mobile.

According to a recent study done by Voicebot, 25% of US shoppers today use voice assistants on their mobile device to shop versus 8% who shop using voice-activated devices (like Amazon Echo or Google Home). 22% of US shoppers report having made a purchase via voice and 17% report having used voice to reorder a product.

Today, voice-enabled personal assistants are installed by default on all smartphones, and this is changing the way that we conduct daily tasks at home, at work and on-the-go.

Mobile is paving the way for voice search in B2B eCommerce, too.

B2B buyers are increasingly mobile.

59% of all B2B buyers prefer to research their work purchases online instead of interacting with a sales rep. And the typical B2B decision-making process is 57% complete before a customer even thinks to reach out to B2B providers.

Here, then, lies the opportunity for manufacturers, distributors, and retailers who sell to other businesses.

Voice search removes friction from the B2B eCommerce experience.

There are many ways you can use voice search to improve your B2B buying experience today. For companies looking to get ahead, voice search provides an opportunity for increased revenue and improved operational efficiencies.

Voice search helps B2B buyers conduct product research.

51% of survey respondents in Voicebot’s survey reported that they prefer to do product research via voice. Voice search can act as an aid for buyers who aren’t ready for a sales rep, but want to save time pricing products or learning about a particular product’s attributes.

Voice search helps B2B buyers manage order status.

30% of respondents in Voicebot’s survey prefer to use voice to track packages and check the status of their order.

Voice search makes completing routine B2B eCommerce purchases even easier.

Often times B2B buyers aren’t looking for the most engaging or exciting experience – they want to complete a purchase easily and conveniently. Voice search helps remove friction in the buying process and makes completing simple tasks, like reordering a previous purchase, faster and easier.

The API Economy makes voice search more accessible in B2B eCommerce.

Getting started with new technologies can seem very daunting.

But microservices and the API economy allow you to explore emerging technologies like voice search without the worry of disrupting your entire B2B eCommerce experience.

For businesses and developers alike, APIs are changing the way businesses evolve their eCommerce experiences. Before the dawn of the API economy, businesses had to establish a partnership before integrating with other technologies. Now, integrations are easier and streamlined, and time-to-market is light-years faster.

APIs allow you to incorporate things like voice search without modifying the back-end code. This eliminates the risk of disrupting your entire experience.

In other words, APIs allow you to start small.

You could configure an experience that allows customers to search for and reorder products based on their order history via voice as a way to test usability and adoption, for example.

Is voice search on your customer experience roadmap?

Voice-enabled technologies are here to stay. Speech recognition accuracy is 95% or higher for all the major technology providers, and it’s only going to continue to improve. Staying on top of emerging technologies like voice search and voice commerce will keep your buyers engaged and cut friction in the ordering process.

So the question is, can you integrate voice search into your B2B eCommerce experience? If not, it’s time to rethink your approach to eCommerce.

If you can’t imagine doing something like this, it’s time to rethink your approach to eCommerce. Your eCommerce or order management platform should not limit possibilities when it comes to ways to create operational efficiencies and to improve your bottom line. A headless, API-first eCommerce platform makes both a completely custom front-end and a strong, secure back-end your reality. And a team with 20 years of experience dedicated to your success almost guarantees game-changing results. Four51 makes it possible.