The power of voice as a command interface to your online shopping desires is undeniably convenient. The combination of over 4.5 billion devices integrated with voice assistant technology expected for 2020, and equally massive voice queries gives credence to the market fit behind voice search.
But as the disparity between sales conversion rates for online e-commerce stores (2%) and retail stores (20-40%) persists, and despite voice based sales totaled $2 billion in 2018, voice technology has yet to disrupt retail e-commerce.
Aside from Google search results, Amazon is the only e-commerce platform compatible on major voice assistant device operating systems. Retailers and brands that don’t sell on Amazon, or those lacking the budget for a development project become non-existent to search through voice channels.
Democratizing that ability, Voicefront, a newly established startup has developed a conversational AI solution capable of enabling voice shopping functionality for brands’ or retailers’ direct-to-consumer (D2C) websites, compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. With one-click seamless integration, retailers and brands can equip their websites with Voicefront’s voice assistant solution and index their catalog for voice search queries. With their voice assistant, the shopping experience in its entirety is executed via voice, from product discovery to checkout and payment.
Voicefront was founded in 2019 by serial entrepreneurs Yoav Oz and Shauli Mizrachy after their dissatisfying experience of trying to search through a brand’s retail product catalogue using Alexa. “Brands and retailers without an Amazon profile are essentially non-existent to consumers’ searches through voice channels,” explained Oz, adding more pressure to the economics of e-commerce websites.
Voicefront’s SaaS solution is code-free and self-maintaining, needing only one setup. It also provides the ability to customize the brand’s voice assistant spoken dialogue and seamlessly align it with the brand’s identity.
Their proprietary technology utilizes natural language understanding to understand the query’s context, and natural language generation to construct a follow-up query, or a suitable response with explanations for the basis of the recommendation. The recommendation is the product of their AI processing algorithm which analyzes and understands the customer’s preference to identify the most suitable product to display for the query, according to a score measurement.
For example, with a voice search such as “I want to buy strong coffee beans, like I did last time,” Voicefront’s technology finds the most suitable product for their needs, and provides a corresponding score to its relevance. It may respond, “Can I recommend the Brazilian blend, it’s rated 8.8 on the intensity level reviews,” attempting to serve a product the consumer was seeking, as well as explain the nature of the recommendation.
In order to uniquely personalize the consumer’s shopping experience interface with the particular brand or retailer, their solution allows brand managers to customize a large amount of the copy of the voice assistant, according to the demographics of the consumer. Customizable factors include 16 different voices, ranging in gender, accents and age, and product recommendations listed factors in consumers’ shopping history.
“In the past, companies struggled with voice to text, whereas today, it’s already solved,” explained Mizrachy. “Now the task is how to create the best dialogue, where we concentrate our [AI] efforts to create the same dialogue that resembles a person in brick and mortar.”
Voicefront’s promise includes faster sales processes, greater retention, and most importantly, opens previously closed channels to consumer shopping via voice. “With Voicefront’s solution, we believe brands can increase their online sales (sales cart in value and sales per session) by 1-5% better than regular websites,” said Oz, eventually with the hopes to reach conversion equivalent to in-store levels.
Voicefront’s solution also offers analytics into its website voice store’s queries, providing greater insights into their customer base profile. “The data that the brand is getting is huge,” explained Mizrachy. “The brand will know the consumer’s shopping style, their engagements and ultimately what the consumer wants to buy.”
The startup is currently in a partnership with Shopify (for backend and fulfillment), for integration with the Shopify API. “We chose to start with the e-commerce platforms, like Shopify and Magento, where a lot of brands, like Budweiser or Kim Kardashian, are building their e-commerce platform.” said Oz. “We’re also working with e-commerce development agencies as a reseller of Voicefront’s solution.”
Voicefront has raised private funding from several venture capital investors, stacking more capital and focus towards conversational AI technology, building the future of digital interactions.
Although according to Oz, the startup’s main KPI: increasing sales over online channels. “We want to find the best experience for the end-user and the brand.”