As innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) rapidly transform how consumers interact with brands, voice technology is becoming a staple of the modern shopping experience. Voice technology allows brands to service consumers with increased efficiency and engagement. However, with so many brands adopting voice-first strategies, retailers that want to distinguish themselves need to take extra personalization measures by creating a custom branded text-to-speech voice to execute online and in-store tasks.
With analysts predicting that by 2025, 95 percent of customer interactions will be powered by AI, retailers need to think critically about what their brand sounds like when it interacts with consumers so that they can ensure they're making the right impression on target audiences. From differentiating a brand from its digital competitors — which are only a click away — to optimizing brick-and-mortar operations, a custom-branded voice is key for creating an impactful shopping experience that will attract and retain consumers.
Here’s how retail brands can leverage custom voice across all points of the consumer journey to create an exclusive, interactive shopping experience:
- Welcoming: To personalize the in-store experience from the moment a consumer steps inside, a custom voice can offer a spoken welcome and assure that every visitor is properly greeted, thus setting a positive tone for their experience.
- Browsing: Whereas online shopping platforms can perform quick searches, finding specific products in-store can sometimes be confusing, and sales associates aren’t always present to help. However, an in-store display or even a robotic shop assistant can direct consumers by presenting a floor plan or initiating a light path to the target item.
- Shopping Updates: For consumers with home voice assistants, a branded voice can process call-outs, including quick adds to their shopping baskets or wish lists, instructions regarding delivery or reorders, and inquiries into delivery status in a way that sets the retailer apart from the plethora of other brands available to interact with on a smart speaker.
- Product Instructions: Once a consumer has unpackaged their product, a custom voice can guide him or her through set-up via a smart speaker, telephone or television, thereby solidifying the product as unique to the brand.
- Checkout: At checkout, a custom voice affirms a brand’s persona one more time by making sure the consumer is satisfied with their shopping experience and recommending additional products based on those in their cart.
While generic voice technologies can perform all these interactions, a custom branded voice does so while also making a lasting mark on consumers. Because consumers trust brands they recognize, having a custom voice communicate with shoppers drives loyalty and fosters brand affinity.
To optimize their investment in branded voice, retailers need to work with advanced voice partners whose technology is predicated on Deep Neural Network (DNN) technologies to ensure the voice is able to deliver the highest quality experience. Additionally, because brands servicing expansive markets need their voice to resonate with a variety of demographics, dynamic text-to-speech capabilities are also integral to creating a strong custom voice. Therefore, brands can recreate their custom voice in different languages and pitch variations.
As voice technology becomes commonplace in business operations, online and offline shopping experiences are gradually merging, and retailers need continuity across these realms to affirm their distinct sense of brand at every step in the consumer journey. With a custom branded voice, companies can achieve this while helping consumers shop in a way that feels easy, personable and natural, thereby increasing the odds of a transaction and eventual repeat business.
Niclas Bergstrom is chief technology officer at ReadSpeaker, a global voice specialist providing dozens of languages and lifelike voices.
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