Salwa Al-Tahan

Salwa Al-Tahan

17th March 2022

According to customers who participated in a survey,

"84% of customers say measures put in place to make shopping a more contactless experience have made shopping more enjoyable."

In my last blog we looked at how shoppers are eagerly looking for more exciting and engaging shopping experiences. We also know that Voice AI is the best way to transform a digital kiosk into a completely contactless shopping assistant. And it seems by the above quote that customers want more than just contactless payment options, but are searching for a fully frictionless/contactless experience. 

In this blog I want to discuss the how and why voice assistants are such a positive and strong gain for both businesses and shoppers alike. 

And what it is that gives shoppers that added enjoyment factor.

The infographic below looks at some of the pain points of shoppers, & helps us understand and answer the above questions. 

As the infographic suggests customers are often frustrated with lengthy queues. They find the process of asking for help to locate items, or making a decision to purchase difficult and irritating if they have to wait in line or search for a member of staff to answer their questions. 

With voice-enabled kiosks, retailers can ensure their customers are getting a better shopping experience due to a greatly improved service. 

Customers can get their questions answered accurately & with the correct product information at anytime. No longer having to find a member of staff, stand in long lines, or wait whilst the correct person is located to get the answers to perhaps simple questions. 

Also those who prefer to browse digitally but in a physical retail environment, those with hygiene concerns or even for people with certain levels of social anxiety who prefer to avoid much or any human interaction voice assistants are a perfect solution.

And for retail shops it’s like having extra, already trained employees with a wealth of product knowledge, who can fulfil orders without breaks or sickness and increase sales! 

How do Voice Assistants work?

Sodaclick’s proprietary Voice AI solution uses very powerful ASR- Automatic Speech Recognition and NLU- Natural Language Understanding with multi-lingual features in over 85 languages and variants. Making the use of it very friendly and comfortable with such a near human like speech synthesis.

As mentioned above customers using a voice assistant can now navigate with voice command prompts and speech playback commands as opposed to scrolling tediously or selecting through the many items of the digital catalogue. 

Here are some examples of queries customers can ask a voice-enabled self-service kiosk:

“Can I have these shoes in size 5?”

“Where can I find bags?”

“Show me the product details on this hairdryer?” 

“Do you have this dress in any other colour?”

As we can see more product information can be offered to include additional colours, sizes and stock availability.

There are options to add or remove from the basket, go back or view other departments and finally check out. 

 

The integration of Sodaclick’s conversational AI SDK for way finding can be used to give directions in store to the product if a customer wanted to feel and see the product first. Additionally these digital assistants can inform customers of stock availability or expected waiting times and give personalised recommendations of co-ordinating outfits to compliment the shopper’s basket all in an engaging, polite, friendly and inviting manner- without the pressure of pushy or uniformed sales assistants. 

Transactions can be processed at a rate that is at least three times faster in comparison to touch, which is great for customers who don’t like to wait around and a positive for businesses increasing rate of sales processed.  After completing the transaction with a contactless payment, shoppers are told where to collect their items all without any human interaction.

Such a pleasant and natural interaction is indeed what makes Voice assistants ‘enjoyable.’ The whole transaction and experience feels very natural and much like speaking to a sales assistant- in fact it’s so natural that customers have been noted to say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’! these benefits are what makes happy customers, and happy customers are returning customers!

Why are Voice Assistants more enjoyable?

Research by Houndify.com as adapted below shows the top reasons that voice AI is making shopping more enjoyable resulting in 95% of customers becoming return users of voice assistants.

Increased Engagement
92%
Increased Accessibility
78%
Better Customer Experience
75%
Hands Free Experience
72%
Faster Search via Voice
72%

Benefits:

  • Friendly & polite – will give customers a near human like interaction. 
  • Inclusive of impairments – voice assistants are ideal for those with hand impairments or for those with social anxiety issues as they can now navigate easily without the need to touch or interact with humans.
  • Speed and efficiency – this translates to a reduction in queue time and more sales.
  • Ease pressure during staff shortages – creating a better flow of traffic and customer satisfaction.
  • Easy to change the display and catalogue – this can be done quickly without additional costs, through Sodaclick’s practical digital platform.
  • Improved representation of products – digital screens allow for quality images & provide more detailed information about the item specifics. Eg.colours, sizes, fabric content, washing instructions.
  • Increased revenue – 
  • Conversational AI prompts – customers can visualise available products & are prompted with additional purchase items that perhaps they hadn’t considered before. All in their own time without pressure. 
  • Unattended sales opportunities -voice assistants provide unattended sales opportunities around the clock.
  • Data –Anonymous observational demographic data can be collected if businesses choose. This will help analyse certain metrics & demography adding value.
  • Loyalty schemes – preferences can be saved on the cloud with a login or QR code scan increasing brand loyalty.

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