Voice is a commodity, are you ready?

Voice is a commodity, are you ready?


In 2018, voice is a commodity. Soon, it won’t be optional for a store to offer sales and service by voice.

To get an understanding of how technology moves from a luxury to a commodity, let’s look at the evolution of Bluetooth in cars. Lexus was the first company to offer it standard on the LX 470, which was $64,475. However, in 2018, it’s on the mid-trim Kia Rio, which is one of the cheapest cars available, at $16,100. That’s pretty amazing.

The same thing is true of voice interfaces in cars, which were first introduced in about 2010. And today, you can get Siri integration in the same Kia Rio for $16,100. Upgrading to the top-level trim gets you Kia’s own voice interface, which is not as good as Siri.

Voice is a commodity. We’re seeing similar trends with personal voice assistants. Siri was introduced in 2011, Alexa in 2014, and Google Assistant in 2016. Everyone  that has a smartphone has either Siri or Google Assistant (80% of the US population), and as of February 2018, 20% of US homes had a smart speaker. And people love these speakers, ownership doubled in 6 months. These trends will continue.

voice is a commodity
The spread of smart speakers, and the vast improvements in voice assistants have lead to people forming new habits, including shopping by voice. Today, people are using voice interfaces instead of apps or web sites, and even sometimes instead of going to a physical store. Voice commerce is projected to account for $40B in US consumer spending by 2022. How can companies like Magpie Kids, Kracky Snax, or even REI, compete and stay relevant in this new economy?

Well, because they’re on Shopify, they can take advantage of ShopClerk.

Voice is a commodity, are you ready?

Amazon is your frenemy

Amazon is your frenemy

As an independent shop owner, Amazon is your frenemy; you love AND hate them. You’ve got a Shopify shop, and you may also sell on Amazon where you can reach millions of people, but you’re competing against  Amazon and others and you can’t control your brand. Amazon has an unfair advantage; they can use their scale to take super thin margins to get market share. Not to mention their increasing number of private lines, like the introduction of Amazon dog food in early 2018. A recent Buzzfeed News article goes into some detail about these troubles.

“Sellers are in this ‘frenemy’ position where they’re very dependent on these companies but also competing with them,” Lina Khan, a legal policy director with the nonprofit think tank Open Markets Institute, told BuzzFeed News.

However, it’s not just the web you have to worry about. People are increasingly getting comfortable with purchasing things using voice assistants, such as Alexa or Google Assistant. Amazon currently gets roughly 90% of all voice purchasing today, according to OC&C Strategy. While Alexa is mainly in the Echo speakers that Amazon creates, many other companies are putting Alexa into their products. Google has formed relationships with large companies like Walmart, Target, and Home Depot. But what about you?

More about voice

Smart speakers, like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are pretty interesting. They make voice assistants more accessible. While most of us have had Siri or Google Assistant in our phones for years, there’s something more magical about using them with a smart speaker. People are forming new habits and starting to use Alexa to shop, purchasing from Amazon.

Let your customers talk to you

You need a way to stay competitive, if not against Amazon, than against others on the web. Help turn Amazon from a frenemy back into a friend. ShopClerk will help you do that. Our Shopify app hooks your store into Alexa with no configuration beyond clicking a few buttons and typing your “myShopify” URL. You install ShopClerk, we take care of the rest.

Our first feature, package tracking, is in the Shopify app store, and free to both you and your customers. We’re hard at work creating more ways to help you and your customers.

Give your customers what they want, get ShopClerk and let them talk to you.