RichRelevance Study Shows Americans Are Skeptical of Voice-Assisted Shopping

70% of US consumers have never used voice assistants to shop — those who do turn to Google, not Amazon

San Francisco, CA – June 4, 2018 – RichRelevance, the global leader in Experience Personalization, today released the results of its second annual survey on how U.S. consumers search for and find products online. The survey shows that commerce search remains very important to consumers when shopping online, but retailers still struggle to provide an exceptional search experience across devices and touchpoints. And, while shoppers are interested in innovations such as personalized and image search, voice-assisted shopping is still far from mainstream.

“Search is an essential part of the commerce experience,” said Mike Ni, CMO of RichRelevance. “Sessions using search account for 45% of ecommerce revenue, yet our study indicates that many companies still under-deliver when it comes to relevance and accuracy, particularly on mobile. While conversational commerce has risen to the top of retail buzz, voice search still in its infancy for shopping.  With many retailers looking to go beyond last-generation keyword based search, brands and retailers would be best served by focusing on personalization and image search while positioning themselves to win with any developments in voice-based search.”

The study of more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers found that search remains a top priority. Nearly nine in 10 Americans (86%) report that the search box is extremely important or important when shopping on a retailer’s web or mobile site. A full 80% of respondents always or often use site search while shopping, and most respondents  (72%) are likely to leave a retail site that doesn’t provide good search results, let alone start elsewhere the next time they need something. Additional highlights include:

Google Has Early Edge Over Amazon, But Many Have Doubts

The majority of Americans have not yet used voice search or voice assistants to shop, and well over half don’t trust the current providers to get it right.

  • 7 in 10 Americans (70%) have not yet used voice assistant to find product information or purchase products.
  • 6 out of 10 (63%) don’t think any of the current leaders (Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft) will be the ones to eventually get it right.
  • Among consumers who use voice search to shop, Google Assistant leads Amazon Alexa (14% vs. 9%)
  • Survey respondents are more equally split between Google (13%) and Amazon (12%) when asked who will eventually get it right.

Amazon Faces Uphill Battle with Younger Shoppers

When it comes to voice-assisted shopping, Amazon is less likely to be used by younger shoppers (ages 18 – 29).   

  • Not surprisingly, young shoppers are more likely to have used voice search than other generations (43% vs. 30% overall).
  • This demographic reports using Apple Siri (20%) and Google Assistant (17%) to shop. Amazon is a distant third at 11%.
  • Young shoppers think Google and Apple have the best chance of eventually getting voice shopping right (18% and 15% respectively) compared to 13% who bet on Amazon.

Room for Omnichannel Improvement

With low adoption of voice search for shopping, retailers can see large gains by providing more relevant, personalized search experience across all devices.

  • Nearly one third of U.S. shoppers (32%) are generally unsatisfied with the search results they receive on a mobile device.
  • 3 in 10 say they get worse search results when shopping on their mobile device than laptop or desktop.
  • Consumers cite ‘irrelevant product results’ (28%) as the #1 frustration with site search – followed by ‘cannot find the product I’m searching for’ (24%) and ‘search function doesn’t recognize the words I use’ (18%).
  • More than 1 in 4 (28%) would like to see search results personalized to them based on their previous shopping behavior. And over half (52%) would like a retailer to show similar or complementary products when they snap a picture of an item they like .

The survey of 1,033 U.S. shoppers was conducted online in May 2018.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

RichRelevance is the global leader in experience personalization, driving digital growth and brand loyalty for more than 200 of the world’s largest B2C and B2B brands and retailers. The company leverages advanced AI technologies to bridge the experience gap between marketing and commerce to help digital marketing leaders stage memorable experiences that speak to individuals – at scale, in real time, and across the customer lifecycle. Headquartered in San Francisco, RichRelevance serves clients in 42 countries from 9 offices around the globe.

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