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Imagine a world where nearly 30% of online searches occur outside of a screen. You may not have to wait too long — leading information technology research and advisory company Gartner envisions this fundamental shift may occur as early as 2020.

 

The primary cause of this changing consumer behavior is that voice-activated devices, such as Amazon Echo, the Apple Watch, and Google Home, are continuing to develop robust programs that can reliably answer speech-based prompts.

 

From a consumer perspective, searching without having to use a screen is particularly advantageous when multitasking, walking, socializing, or exercising.

 

How should marketers prepare for this voice-based future? Here are a few thought-starters to consider:

  • Think outside the [search] box: Begin anticipating if voice-based prompts can accomplish what would normally be handled by search-based prompts
  • Think less about apps, and more about chatbots: Gartner anticipates 20% of brands will abandon mobile apps by 2019. In their place, chatbots will likely be used to answer customer questions with interactive voice response snippets of artificial intelligence
  • Algorithms may cool tempers: Algorithms may alter human behaviors towards the positive. If voice-based systems develop vast response banks and understanding of human behaviors, they may be more readily able to communicate effectively in response to questions and accomplish tasks like customer support and online shopping. Doing so may relieve negative customer support issues if the algorithms can properly identify solutions and account for human emotions when providing responses
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