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Why The Party People is investing in voice

The Party People is beginning work on integrating voice-enabled shopping into its business, with a voice-enabled search function on its website, as well as compatibility with a number of smart speakers, on the way.

Chief executive Dean Salakas, who was recently ranked 28th in our Top 50 People in E-Commerce report, told IRN while the initial implementation would be basic, it is a space worth getting into early and would allow the business to get an early understanding of how customers use voice, and how it can better cater to that audience.

“This is one of those scenarios where dipping my toe in is easy,” Salakas said.

“I might as well get some data and learn something, and see whether this needs to become a focus or not [moving forward].

“If [voice] is the future, as some people are saying, as it starts to gain momentum I want to be one of the retailers who is already riding that momentum and can build on that.”

Voice will be used initially to bolster the search function on the website, but it may lead to the implementation of voice-enabled chatbots for customers to talk to in a more natural way moving forward.

In order to facilitate the addition of voice into The Party People, Salakas has partnered with Vecho, which is assisting in the technology’s implementation.

While the voice shopping market in Australia is admittedly small, it is growing quickly, with 15 per cent of Australian households having a smart speaker at home as of November 2018, according to Edison Research, and most modern smartphones having voice-enabled assistance built into its operating system.

Vecho founder Khurram Bashir told IRN that adopting a voice search strategy isn’t just about remaining relevant, it’s about creating a unique and optimised customer experience that fosters brand loyalty.

“Voice instantly adds speed and efficiency to your e-commerce apps and websites, enabling users to describe the products they are looking for using natural language,” Bashir said.

“Your users can quickly add products to their cart or shopping list, and navigate to check-out all using their voice.”

Initially, customers will be able to ask their voice assistant to direct them to the closest party store, Salakas said, but it could evolve to enable ordering of goods – “I’m having a Frozen party, so can you order me a Frozen party pack.”

Salakas, however, is sure that as voice grows in popularity, the use cases will grow exponentially.

“Being honest, I’ve got no idea where this is going to go, [but] it just makes sense for people to use voice,” Salakas said.

“I just know the way people are using it right now is not the way it will be used in the future… it will evolve.”

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