We’re surely moving in the direction of voice input to bots, but unless microphones advance — allowing you to request things with a near-silent whisper (or perhaps with thoughts) — people will continue to let their fingers do the talking.
“So many things are happening right on Google; clicks to call, driving directions, etc., and even more so than a website,” Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “For a business to do well there, things like photos, reviews (everywhere) and other visuals are becoming ever more important.”
Forty-two percent of U.S. consumers already say they’ve used voice assistants in the last three months, and industry forecasters are predicting that 20% of all user interactions with smartphones will take place through these assistants within the next three years. Here are six ways that local businesses can start preparing.
Similar to the shift from desktop to mobile, local marketers need to consider how the shift to voice-activated devices will impact their strategy. The smart home hub offers a new device on which consumers will interact with local businesses.
This AI-centric battle is being waged by heavier contenders than any before it, including Apple (Siri), Amazon (Alexa), and Google (Assistant). They’re each basing battle plans on their current positioning and biggest assets, and the winner will sway the next era of local commerce.
As voice search becomes more prevalent, Apple will “retain an advantage over Amazon in ‘on-the-go’ searches, since our phones are always with us,” David Mihm tells Mike Blumenthal. “Unfortunately for Apple, people overwhelmingly conduct voice searches at home. “
People are searching differently. They’re using emoji, voice commands, and social media to find what they want on demand through a variety of channels and devices. As a result, businesses need to be more nimble and imaginative in the way they convert online searches into offline sales.
Clearly Amazon is positioning itself in the sales funnel aggressively, Mike Blumenthal tells David Mihm. “And unlike Google their presale efforts lead directly to sales that they control. ”
For brand marketers, voice-based personal assistants represent a major opportunity in a largely-untapped space. Consumers are forming intimate relationships with these new technologies, providing major brands with the opportunity to interact with and learn about consumers in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
At least for now, Alexa and Google are thinking of AI-powered local search in the traditional sense of providing the user with a range of relevant options — even when organic search is trending toward the single best answer.