Voysis has launched an independent voice platform for retailers to help them add voice interaction to mobile apps and websites. Independent is a key adjective here. Voysis differentiates by offering voice interaction that is not controlled by Amazon or Google. The retailers own the interaction and experience from start to finish. Voysis characterizes this as “Your Voice AI.” Voysis CEO Peter Cahill clarified why the company is focused on helping retail today.
Retail is ready for voice interfaces. The marketing report we commissioned has some interesting figures to back this up.
14% of Retailers Investing in Voice Today
In a commissioned research report, Voysis found that 14% of retailers said the majority of their mobile investment today is in voice technology. I am assuming that is up from close to zero in past years.
Of that voice investment, there is a clear focus on voice search. comScore predicts that 50% of search will be by voice in 2020. However, Voysis also found that integration with voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is already in place now or will be in the first half of 2018 for 28% of retailers. The company is betting that these same retailers will also want to integrate a similarly robust voice experience into their web and mobile properties. This may soon become an expected feature as 83% of consumers believe using voice technology makes it easier to find products.
Retailers Believe in Voice Use Cases
Voysis also found that retailers have many voice use cases in mind beyond search. The customer buying process can be helped through filtering (29%), customer service (24%), adding items to the shopping cart (23%), checking order status (23%), asking about products (21%), reordering products (19%) and building lists (10%). These are use cases that can increase purchase conversion and retailers will need to implement them on all of their digital channels. Optimizing voice SEO for search and discovery is the highest retailer priority today (55%), but you can see how voice interaction will become an important factor over time as retailers focus more on conversion.
Voice is About More Than Smart Speakers
Mr. Cahill suggests that Voysis has several advantages for retailers over offerings such as Alexa and Google Assistant today. The first is that retailers using Voysis own the data and the customer relationship. The second is that data ownership enables retailers to maintain user context in the purchase journey and customer lifecycle. He adds:
There are multiple advantages; context is just one. We also focus on how voice + visual interfaces are optimal, and the overall user experience for the ecommerce environment…Right now the voice assistants are very closed platforms and a tiny percentage of the hardware shipped offer a visual interface which is critical for doing ecommerce well. [Google] Home or [Aamzon] Echo are fine if you want to buy laundry detergent or batteries, but that represents a tiny amount of ecommerce transactions today.
A Voice Revolution Beyond Devices
Voysis was founded in 2012 and raised one round of funding earlier this year. The $8 million investment was led by Polaris Partners and the company has been expanding its product development rapidly since the round closed. The company now has offices in Dublin, Boston and Edinburgh. While most of the media attention naturally flows to Amazon, Google and Apple, the voice revolution will extend well beyond devices. It is an interface for consumers that will show up on every computing surface.
Voysis refers to analyst data to reinforce the point. Gartner predicts 5% of website with have voice interfaces by the end of 2017 and 30% of web browsing will be conducted by voice by 2020. Who is going to voice enable all of the mobile apps and websites? Voysis hopes to become the top choice of retailers looking to engage consumers and deliver more purchase conversions through voice commerce.