Best Practices to Create a Delightful Voice Commerce Experience for Your Customers

Andrea Muttoni May 17, 2019
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Voice is the next frontier for developers and merchants to reach new customers, extend their brand presence, and generate revenue. Today, developers and businesses can leverage Alexa to reach customers across over 100 million Alexa-enabled devices, engage with customers, and sell products and services using in-skill purchasing (ISP) and Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills.

If you are offering goods or services through your website or your mobile app, you might think about using the same approach for Alexa. But building and designing for voice technology is different than for screen-based devices. While selling your product or service might be your ultimate goal, you first have to build a valuable and convenient voice experience for your customers.

If you’re ready to learn how you can leverage voice to build your business, follow these best practices for creating a delightful voice commerce experience for your customers.

Think Voice-First

As you are designing your voice experience, think about how voice can help customers solve a problem or simplify a task. Which components of the customer journey through your current digital channels are cumbersome or tedious, and how can voice make the experience better? For example, how many clicks or taps does it take to check an order status on desktop or mobile, respectively? How can you use Alexa to make that task more convenient—faster, easier, and more natural—for customers? Here are some other related questions to consider:

  • How can you enhance your current offerings via voice? What is the value proposition of the voice-first purchasing flow? Example: Make your FAQs accessible via voice and help customers get their questions answered in the most natural way.
  • What are top reasons that customers reach out to your customer support? Example: If one of the most frequent questions for your support team is “When will my order arrive?” consider supporting this utterance in your skill.
  • Are there habitual tasks you can simplify, like renewal subscriptions? Example: Habitual tasks more often than not come with habitual products. Make it easy for customers to reorder them via voice. Use your order history to identify the right products automatically and simplify the checkout experience.
  • What about special deals for Alexa on a daily, weekly or monthly basis? Example: A “Deal of the Day” is a nice way to put the most interesting products into focus and curate the selection for your customers.

Consider Supporting Multimodal Experiences

With the Alexa Presentation Language (APL), you can build multimodal voice experiences that are compatible with Alexa-enabled devices with screens. Customers embrace voice because it’s simple, natural, and conversational. When you build a multimodal experience, you combine voice, touch, text, images, graphics, audio, and video in a single user interface. The result is voice-first experience complemented by visuals. You can provide customers with complementary information that’s easily glanceable from across the room. You can build immersive experiences that customers can sit back and watch, or lean into to get things done. And, you can optimize skills to deliver the best experience on whatever device a customer is using. Example: If you are selling apparel, a multimodal experience will help customers see the product before they buy it.

Keep It Simple

Simplicity and convenience are critical for expriences on Alexa. Don’t try to do everything with your skill, instead create a seamless customer interaction. Your voice user interface should be simple and easy to interact with - so should be the items you are selling via voice. Example: Product searches can result in a high number of results. Instead of reading a long list of results to the customer, only provide a smaller selection (e. g. 3 to 5) of the results at once. This makes it easier for the customer to follow. A multimodal experience can complement the voice experience by providing a visual list for the search results. Read more about building voice-first experiences for Alexa-enabled devices with screens below.

Limit Your Selection

While your first intention might be to offer as wide a selection as possible within your skill, constrain and curate what you offer at first. For example, only offer customers their most frequent purchases or your businesses most popular products. This will help reduce the paradox of choice for customers. You can widen your selection over time and learn from customer feedback and by leveraging skill usage analytics. Example: Offer one to two products at first and refer to the skill usage analytics dashboard to see how customers are interacting with your upsell. Use this data to determine which products to add and where in the customer journey is the optimal time to upsell them.

Think Multichannel

When designing your voice experience, the customer experience don't needs to start and end with voice. Enable your customers to start checkout on your website or mobile app and complete the purchase via Alexa, or vice versa. To help you in making this vision come true, we have created Amazon Pay Buyer ID for you, to identify your customers across channels and personalize the experience for them. With help of the Amazon Pay Automatic Payments API, customers can pre-authorize payments for future purchases. This enables you to charge a customer's Amazon account on a regular basis for subscriptions and usage-based billing without requiring the customer to start a new voice checkout any time. Example: Use the knowledge you gained about your customers over time. Any time customers interact with you via a new channel – just delight them with a pleasant personalized experience. For example, let’s say you have a candy subscription service that sends a care package to subscribers every month. By leveraging  the Automatic Payments API in combination with Amazon Pay Buyer ID, you can create an Alexa skill to allow customers to manage their care packages (e.g. change the size, order an extra two for a month) and bill accordingly.