Goodbye eCommerce, Hello vCommerce

“Go to warp 9, … engage.”

I know, you can’t see me making the hand motion pointing ahead, but just picture it.

The transformation of eCommerce into Voice Commerce (aka vCommerce) has left “SoL speed” behind and gone to “Warp speed”.

(For all of you who are too young to remember the classic Start Trek TV Show, this link will explain the difference. https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/37381/speed-in-star-trek ).

It maybe hard to believe, but recent research shows that 35% of smart speaker users are already using them to make purchases today. Even more surprising, 44% of voice users would love to use it for their banking applications. Up to 33% of users prefer a voice interface over going to a branch office of their bank.

With voice purchases on the rise (over 500% increase by 2021), the term “vCommerce” is surfacing, and it is here to stay. Every month new features are emerging for AI technology, for mobile and  for web, which further improve voice support and natural language understanding.

Now that voice is no longer used just for fun (like playing captain of the Starship Enterprise, ordering the computer to turn on lights) deployment and adoption will accelerate rapidly.

With voice starting to drive purchases and entering the commerce arena, change will come quickly. We already are seeing a shift to go beyond the smart speaker. Recent research is suggesting that 81% of users prefer to use the voice assistant via their mobile device rather than using the smart speaker appliance.

With voice assistance entering web portals and mobile apps, the importance of the speaker device will quickly diminish. The lack of a screen and the need to go back to a web portal or mobile app for final confirmation of the purchase will reduce the role of such devices quickly.

What we will be left with are likely voice driven tablets and smart phones fueling the fast growing engine of “vCommerce”. Interesting enough, I don’t think that “vCommerce” will stay limited to cyber space either. I can see us having “voice tablets” in every store to assist with our purchase. Before long, stores will feel like the decks of a starship. Just like the crew of the Start Trek Next Generation, we will soon be touching a panel along the wall or on a shelf, asking for assistance.

The time is here to go to warp and get ready for the voice transition. That world of vCommerce will be upon us faster than we think and there is no avoiding it.

For all of us, who are responsible for the success of commerce, I would say it is time to make that dramatic hand gesture and proclaim, “…make it so.”

If that Star Trek reference was lost on you, I would recommend watching an episode with Captain Picard and enjoy seeing voice interfaces in action.

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