Consumer behavior is always changing, but in the connected world the pace of change is accelerating. It’s a world where digital technology has seen convenience, instant gratification and personalized experiences become the norm.
Voice is one tech-led advancement that is quickly becoming accepted at scale, offering consumers a new way to shop online. Voice technology has the potential to become a “purchasing machine” and could see the home emerge as the new commercial battleground — a gateway to consumer engagement.
Don’t ignore the digital assistant in the room
Consumers are becoming increasingly familiar and reliant new technologies, developing new habit-forming behaviors along the way. Where once they took a conscious decision to pick up a device and type in a telephone number or phrase, digital assistants provide consumers with new levels of convenience.
Unlike internet and mobile technology where new skills — such as how to search — had to be learned, voice commerce may prove easier for shoppers to adopt because it brings together two things that people are already familiar with: digital shopping and communication through the spoken word.
In the consumer goods industry, we are seeing multiple occasions in which successful small companies have been able to steal market share by creating and maintaining true consumer relevance. We are also seeing an emerging trend toward brand democratization, where technology is eliminating historical barriers to entry and enabling smaller companies to engage directly with consumers.
As brand marketers grapple with the rapid advancement of voice replacing fingertips and a consumer landscape where “touch points” have transformed into “listening points,” successful companies will be those who combine new technologies with creative ingenuity to create new innovations that engage consumers through integrated channels and deliver a seamless experience throughout.
Making your voice heard
Voice offers brands an opportunity to reinvent their marketplace relationships and how they participate in the overall consumer ecosystem in a way that they aren’t today. As the accuracy of voice search or voice recognition becomes more precise, we can expect to see consumers and ecommerce retailers reap the benefits as its popularity continues to rise.
Used properly, voice technology will give consumer goods companies the opportunity to be relevant and front-of-mind at key purchasing moments. For instance, Whirlpool equipped select appliances with voice command capabilities — providing people with the opportunity to adjust cooking modes, start a wash cycle and set temperatures and times — creating ongoing opportunities to directly engage with consumers as they undertake everyday tasks in their homes.
There will be different paths to success in the voice category. Depending on the business objectives they want to serve, consumer goods companies will need to tailor their voice proposition accordingly. The winners will be those who embrace change and ensure relevance by being even more responsive, adopting agile ways of working and a company-wide shift in mindset grounded heavily on data and insights, a term we define as “living marketing.”
While retailers have a broad knowledge of shoppers, consumer goods organizations can compete on depth of knowledge and understanding around specific consumer demands. And in this scenario, knowledge and understanding is power. Eucerin is an example of a brand that is using deep consumer insights and voice technology to highlight its skin expertise. By answering a few simple questions, consumers will be directed to the dermatologist-recommended products best suited for their individual needs.
As disruptive technologies come of age, we will likely see an acceleration of CPGs building ecosystems of suppliers, peers, distributors, start-ups and customers to help deliver a seamless experience of remarkable quality for consumers. It seems the demand for a hybrid model that can sit across a powerful digital and physical presence will increasing be the norm.
Find your voice and commit to moving to modern CPG
Voice may be the “latest thing” but it won’t be the last. Finding a way to be welcomed into the homes of consumers will be the ultimate test for consumer goods companies in the future. This makes having a “moving to modern CPG” program, one that is focused on ensuring relevance and appeal to the new generation of consumers, an essential play.