70% have not tried voice-assisted shopping

Amazon has moved to assuage security concerns over its Amazon Echo smart speaker (Image seewhatmitchsee / iStockPhoto)
Most U.S. shoppers are not ready to use voice-assisted shopping. (seewhatmitchsee/iStockPhoto)

A recent RichRelevance survey shows that search capabilities are an important element for online shopping, yet retailers are struggling to make this a positive experience across all devices. Especially in the realm of voice-assisted shopping, consumers are skeptical of using this method for beginning the shopping journey.

Yet search is such an integral part of the shopping experience, as sessions using search account for almost half, 45%, of all e-commerce revenue. And as Mike Ni, CMO of RichRelevance says, "commerce has risen to the top of retail buzz," but voice search is still in its infancy. 

And search is a top priority for 86% of all U.S. shoppers and 80% of respondents always or often use site search while shopping. Another 72% are likely to leave a retail site that doesn't provide good search results. 

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For those shopper experimenting with voice assistants, which entity is getting the most users? Google leads Amazon 14% to 9%. Still, almost 70% of U.S. shoppers have not yet used a voice assistant to find a product or to get product information, and another 63% don't think that any of the current leaders—Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft—will be the ones to eventually get it perfected.

The survey suggested that retailers can see large gains in voice-assisted search by adding more relevant search across all devices. Almost one-third of U.S. shoppers are unsatisfied with the search results they receive via mobile and three in 10 respondents say they get worse search results on mobile than laptop or desktop. 

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So what's going wrong with VA? The No. 1 frustration is with irrelevant product results, followed by being unable find the product and the search function not recognizing the words used. What consumers do want, 28%, is personalized results based on previous behaviors, and 52% would like a retailers to show similar products when a photo of an item is provided.