Hey Siri, Can You Ring Me Up?

Mobile voice assistants can help with a lot more than checking the weather

Need help finding a specific item in-store? Just ask Siri for the aisle number.

That's just one of the ways 1,203 US internet users said they would use their voice assistant via their mobile device while shopping in-store, according to a May 2018 survey by Voicebot, a media property focusing on the voice-enabled web.

Nearly 21% of respondents said they would ask their voice assistant for in-store help, while 17.6% would use their voice assistant to self-checkout. And that was a common theme. Out of the five responses given, three indicated that many would turn to their voice assistant rather than a sales associate while shopping in-store.

It's important to note, however, that Voicebot's survey is just one of many on voice assistants and conversational commerce. While the promise of the technology is there, not all shoppers are on board just yet

In a May 2018 RichRelevance survey, a majority (63.3%) of US internet users said they don't trust any of the voice assistants currently on the market to get voice-assisted shopping right, with the most faith put in Google Assistant (13.2%) and Amazon's Alexa (12.1%).  

Still, there's opportunity. We estimate the number of US smartphone voice assistant users will reach 76.5 million this year, making up 23.2% of the population. By 2020, that figure will grow to 89.3 million. That's good news for marketers; a recent a survey conducted by NetElixir earlier this year found that the majority of voice assistant usage takes place on mobile phones.

"Voice control is shaping up to be a game changer," eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock wrote in her most recent report, "What's Next for Voice Control? Digital Assistants, Smart Speakers and the IoT." Despite their relative novelty, digital voice assistants, smart speakers and other connected, voice-first devices are already having a dramatic impact on consumer behavior. They are helping people search for information, conduct business, consume content and shop in more natural and frictionless ways. (eMarketer PRO subscribers can access the full report here.)