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Future of Voice for e-Commerce - Key findings from our event

Otto Söderlund

Jan 29, 2020

3 min read

Learn how our guests realized the benefits of next-generation voice user interfaces for e-Commerce and how voice technology can improve customer experience and efficiency in retail industry.

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We organized a breakfast event in London on the 28th of January under the title “The Future of Voice in eCommerce – Beyond Smart Speakers”. The event was an intimate round table event with about a dozen industry leaders from leading retailers and eCommerce players.

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We organized the event for a few key reasons:

  1. We wanted to bring together a carefully selected retail industry expert group interested in voice technologies to discuss and share views on how this new technology can be harnessed to improve the customer experience and drive sales

  2. We wanted to showcase some of the voice enabled services that have been built on top of the Speechly Spoken Language Understanding platform for leading eCommerce players, especially in the grocery vertical. Many consider our solution the next generation of voice shopping, and we wanted to provide industry professionals the opportunity to experience it for themselves.

  3. We also wanted to gain better understanding on what are the issues holding eCommerce retailers back from adopting voice to their services and what kind of plans do they have for voice in the near future.

In the event, two leading European grocery retailers S Group (#1 in Finland) and Musgrave (#1 in Ireland) demoed their live applications powered by the Speechly Spoken Language Understanding technology. The demos were followed up with active discussion by the participants and the feedback for the presentations was great. It seems that retailers agree that when the voice shopping experience can be made so simple and easy that “even my mother” can use it, it is obvious that it creates a lot of value for the end users and helps differentiate the brand. You can read more about the solutions we have built for grocery retailers.

Even more interesting were the discussions we had with our distinguished guests. Some highlights from the presentations and discussions:

  • Across eCommerce verticals there seemed to be a clear shared understanding that voice change how customers will shop in the future. Voice is already a key part of leading eCommerce players’ user experience plans in the short to mid term. Most companies had projects active in this space.

  • Current smart speaker solutions are good for getting initial feedback from users about the feasibility of voice, but fall short when building something more serious. Especially if the average basket consists of more than a few products, or the products are specifically complicated managing it with smart speakers is too complicated for the end users.

  • Because of the nature of the medium, the difference between a good and bad voice user experience is immense. While a good voice experience is natural, human-like and fast a bad voice experience can be confusing, slow and can hurt brand experience. Voice technology has only recently developed enough to support natural, real-time experience.

  • When intuitive voice experiences that work well are offered to users, they embrace them. One of the applications demoed had a NPS score of 49 and users used it on average 5,12 times per week. 86% of users confirmed that it saves their time and effort.

  • An interesting insight from the demographic usage data of one of the applications was that voice technologies can actually reach customer segments that normally wouldn’t be doing online shopping. So voice technology actually provides an opportunity for retailers to convert otherwise non-tech-savvy segments into online shopping.

  • The benefits of voice user interfaces are not limited to just shoppers and the shopping experience. Relevant use cases had been identified and piloted for example within contact centers and warehouse operations.

Learn more about the event by watching the presentation slides below.

Otto Söderlund and Hannes Heikinheimo: Evolution, revolution and the future of voice

Slideshare: Future of Voice in eCommerce. Beyond Smart Speakers

Harri Laaksonen, S Group: Case S Group - How we improved our mobile grocery shopping experience by using speech

Slideshare: Using Voice to Improve Grocery Shopping Experience

Neill Mullally, Musgrave: Our vision of voice and experiences from online voice shopping

Slideshare: Future of Voice in eCommerce. Voice Shopping at Musgrave

We were really happy with the event and it seemed our guests found it very interesting, too. We will be sharing more insights about the event and presentation videos next week. Stay tuned and thanks again to everyone who participated in the event!

In case you missed the event and would still like to hear about how voice technology can improve user experience in e-Commerce, drop us a mail at and we’ll get back to you. If you want to hear about our future events, make sure to follow us on social media, too.

About Speechly

Speechly is a YC backed company building tools for speech recognition and natural language understanding. Speechly offers flexible deployment options (cloud, on-premise, and on-device), super accurate custom models for any domain, privacy and scalability for hundreds of thousands of hours of audio.

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