Argos sparks UK voice-controlled shopping revolution
Argos recently became the first retailer in the UK to offer a voice search shopping service via the Google Assistant platform. According to e-commerce specialist, Tryzens, this launch signifies a pivotal moment for the retail sector.
Andy Burton, CEO at Tryzens, comments: “Argos is the first of what we anticipate will be a long line of retailers investing in voice-controlled shopping. This new channel is arguably somewhat overdue for attention. With smart speaker sales reaching 3.94 million in the UK last year, there is a clear opportunity for retailers to reach consumers through a growing channel that promises to offer a new level of simplicity and convenience. Advancements in simplified payments enable consumers to research, reserve and purchase in a matter of seconds, transforming the way customers shop.”
The challenge will be to convert consumers from using their preferred shopping channel to using voice shopping. However, the novelty value has captured imagination and the issue is more about the lack of opportunity for consumers to use this medium at this time.
“As more retailers explore this channel, the purchasing process will be streamlined, accuracy enhanced and friction in the purchase process reduced as a new benchmark in customer convenience is attained,” says Burton. “Voice could provide an important tool in the kit-bag of retailers, however, to be effective in search results, rather than just the checkout process, the burden of ensuring a product can be appropriately identified by spoken words that uniquely identify it will carry a new overhead for the e-commerce teams to curate and refine.”
Whilst there is a lot of excitement around Argos’ initiative, retailers need to ensure that their support systems and back-end operations are fit for the voice shopping revolution. “That means being able to respond to enquiries in near real-time, engage with consumers in the right tone of voice, and, ensure orders are fulfilled effectively requiring a single view of customer, stock and inventory to be truly agile, Burton concludes.