Voice technology will transform retail

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“Voice is going to be enormously disruptive and retailers are significantly underestimating how quickly it’s going to come” said  Rob Barnes, Accenture managing director of retail technology consulting. 

Retailers are asking how voice will transform the industry as voice-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home make their way into homes across the nation.

Retail Week’s Transformative Tech series explored how voice technology will change the way consumers search and buy products, and what retailers should do to take advantage.

The voice-enabled assistants on devices like the Echo smart speakers and Google Home have been hailed as the most important technological development since the iPhone and are tipped to drive a similar change in behaviour.

The research predicted that £3.5 billion will be spent via voice commerce in the UK by 2022 and by 2021 there will be more digital assistants installed in devices than people on the planet. 

Max Amordeluso, EU lead evangelist for Alexa at Amazon said: “There’s a whole generation right now, where the youth is developing this idea where it’s normal to speak with your house.” 

And retailers expect this to transform shopping behaviour.

“Around 10% of UK households now have a smart speaker device, and we think voice activation is set to be one of the next big retail shifts when it comes to technology,” says Tesco Labs head of research Paul Wilkinson.