Markets are intensely competitive. You and your teamwork day in and day out to craft strategies, woo customers, and otherwise carve out competitive advantages. It’s not easy and the spoils go to the victors. One emerging technology that could give early B2B adopters a competitive advantage is voice search, which could revolutionize B2B sales.
Voice search is already disrupting the B2C market. Roughly 22 percent of smart speaker owners have used voiced search to complete a purchase and nearly half have used voice to find a local business. Meanwhile, 20 percent of mobile queries are by voice and 31 percent of smartphone users use voice at least once per week.
But how about the B2B sector? Could voice search prove every bit as disruptive for business-to-business transactions? There’s good reason to believe so. As more people rely on voice search at home, they’ll likely start to bring their habits, and smart speakers, to the office.
Let’s take a look at voice search’s already dramatic impact on the consumer e-commerce sector. After that, we can consider its potential impact on B2B transactions.
Voice Search is Already Shaking Up B2C
In total, voice search accounted for roughly $2 billion in e-commerce sales in 2018. This only accounted for about .5 percent of all e-commerce sales in 2018, but voice sales are projected to grow to $40 billion by 2022.
Some estimates suggest that voice search will account for 50 percent of online searches this year. Amazon’s Siri and Google’s Home have become immensely popular but focus primarily on consumer sales. Those consumer websites that have already enabled voice search stand to reap most of the benefits.
Take Amazon, for example. It’s now easy to find and order products online through voice search simply by using Amazon’s Alexa voice service. At the start of 2019, Amazon claimed to have shipped over 100 million products through its built-in Alexa. That’s a lot of shipments for an emerging technology.
Amazon was the B2C voice pioneer and it’ll be hard for competitors to catch up now that the company has secured pole position in the market. Still, other innovators, such as Google, are also finding success. Going forward, it’ll be increasingly difficult for new market entrants to secure market share.
That’s not true in the B2B voice search sector, however. Few B2B-focused companies have made the leap into voice search. Yet for the bold, opportunities abound. Those B2B companies that get ahead of the curve have a great chance to build a technological edge and lock up competitive advantages.
Why Voice Search Could Revolutionize the Workday
Let’s think about this from the customer’s point of view. Imagine a busy day at the office. You’re responding to emails from your employees, taking calls from customers, and putting together that report for the boss. People are coming in and out of the office, and you’ve got a meeting in 20 minutes.
Suddenly, you remember that you need to order a bunch of parts. Yet you don’t know what parts are compatible with this model or how long it’ll take to get a replacement part for that vehicle.
You should hop on their website or give them a ring but you’re short on time. What if instead, you could simply ask your voice assistant “How long will I need to get an ACME muffler delivered” or “what exhaust kits are compatible with a 2014 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500”?
With a voice assistant doing all the work, you can respond to emails and bang out that report. Voice search has the potential to disrupt a variety of industries and workplaces. Workers are always pressed for time and markets are cutthroat.
A Voice Assistant is a Virtual Assistant 24/7
In the above scenario, if you had a personal assistant, you’d probably ask him or her to look up the parts while you focused on your other work. For better or worse, many people don’t have a personal assistant on-hand. And even if they do, that assistant could be tied up with other work.
Yet a virtual voice assistant is on-demand and ready to work 24/7. You don’t have to worry about your voice-enabled virtual assistant being too busy to help you. At most, you might have to wait for it to complete its search and present its findings. Usually, that’s all but instantaneous.
For B2B focused ecommerce stores, the benefits should be obvious. Voice assistants make it easier for business customers to hunt down information and place orders. Over time, this ease-of-use will encourage customers use e-commerce stores and other B2B businesses that support voice search.
This will lead to a larger customer base, increased loyalty, and higher revenues. In other words, voice assistants could present an excellent competitive advantage, especially for early adopters.
Will Voice Technology Really Disrupt the Business Sector?
Voice search is one of the most powerful tools in the voice technology toolbox. Expect both voice search specifically and voice technology at large to have a big impact.
As voice assistance becomes more popular in both the consumer and business sectors, expect its capabilities to expand. Voice assistance software is relatively new and developers are just starting to develop technologies, algorithms, programs and more that can take advantage of voice recognition.
Already, you can ask your smart phone to call a particular person, say a customer or your boss. You can also use Google Assistant to set appointments and accomplish other tasks, such as informing you of your schedule.
Pretty soon, we’ll be talking to our devices like we talk to people. The conversations will be dynamic and information rich. Voice search is going to be a huge part of this on-going revolution. Those businesses that enable voice search today will be able to distinguish themselves in otherwise crowded markets.
At PhaseZero, our CxCommerce platform enables you to add voice commerce to your digital business out of the box. No additional addons or plugins required. We’ve built the system to meet the demands of the latest technology – including voice search.
The question isn’t whether voice technology and voice search will be disruptive. The question is, are you going to take advantage of the opportunities? If you want to get a jump on the competition, voice search and other voice technologies offer a great way to do so.
So do you want to be the next Sears, or the next Amazon?