How chatbots and voice assistants enrich mobile shopping

Mobile shopping is on a steep rise and new AI-enabled shopping agents are here to boost your mobile strategy, conversion rates, and user engagement to help create a seamless transition from physical to online stores.

E-commerce is on a steep rise with 95% of purchases expected to be made online by 2040, and mobile shopping responsible for a 500bn average year-on-year growth since 2017. AI-enabled agents can differentiate your mobile strategy while elevating your conversion rates and the customer journey.

Go where your customers are going

Shopping online has never been more popular: in 2020, online holiday season revenue exceeded $188.2 billion dollars, 32% YoY growth. As the physical retail experience faces more and more obstacles — like unexpected pandemic regulations, costly and unsustainable operations, as well as shrinking traffic — new technologies are shaking up the world of mobile commerce to make it more appealing to customers.

Comfortable contactless shopping, speed, and product variety are all favorable aspects of shopping through an app or mobile website, and apps with chatbot and voice assistant functionality can add an extra human layer to the shopping journey: painting a bright future for m-commerce in the race between retailers to deliver the best user experience for their customers.

But what is the real value-add of such technologies? Can they make shopping apps more competitive and generate more revenue? Or transform the shopping experience into becoming more omnichannel and human-centric? Ultimately, can they replace shop assistants so that customers can make more concise purchase decisions by themselves?

Mobile users think more critically than before

Our research into m-commerce revealed that mobile is predicted to dominate online sales, driving 54% (or $659 billion) in sales by 2021. Confirming this expectation was 2020’s holiday season, when Christmas Day, typically the biggest mobile shopping day, saw 52% of the revenue coming from smartphones – surpassing the halfway point for the first time.

Mobile shoppers spend twice as much money as other customers and their increasingly tech-savvy attitude is revealed by some of the statistics on how they use applications and mobile sites to shop online:

  • 69% of smartphone users say they are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps help them easily find answers to their questions.
  • 61% of mobile consumers say they're more likely to buy from mobile sites and apps that customize information to their location and preferences.
  • 59% of smartphone users feel more favorable towards companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.

Voice search, voice control, and chatbots are easy-to-use technologies that can help deliver, emphasize, and build upon some of these sought-after customer expectations, so let’s take a deeper look at what these technologies entail and what shoppers use them for.

Voice Searches: ‘talk-shop’ without being boring

Voice searches have seen a sharp upturn since the widespread adoption of voice assistants and voice-activated smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Nest— expected to reach 21.4 million in number by 2020. Moreover, 27% of mobile Google searches are already done by voice.

24% of online shoppers use software agents to request services and 20% use them for shopping-related activities, such as: researching products, managing shopping lists, or tracking packages — making voice shopping potentially worth $40+ billion by 2022.

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In 2020, voice search has become a strong part of mobile shopping. According to data from OC&C Strategy Consultants, $5bn will be spent through voice commerce by 2022, which is in line with findings of a Microsoft’s study, suggesting that 54% of users see a chance that digital assistants will help them with retail purchases by 2025 — and this behaviour is most prevalent among mobile users.

Additionally, more than half of consumers in a survey of Narvar said that they use voice commands to research products, 22% of them make a purchase via voice and 17% reorder items with this feature. This makes integrating voice search into e-commerce websites a great way to optimize the shopping experience as well as to gamify the mobile shopping journey for new audiences.

Considering that only 22% of companies have a voice app released and the technology still faces technical challenges, it comes little as a surprise that 90% of brands are already investing and even more of them are expanding their investment in voice technology in the coming years. Moreover, it will be exciting to see what the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) has in store for these applications.

Chatbots: conversation drives sales and scalability

Chatbots and messenger apps make it easier for businesses to interact with their customers, using apps and services customers already use and love. Chatbot are essentially features of a mobile application or website that can ‘engage’ in a conversation with prospective customers by auditory or textual means.

American Express found that nearly 60% of shoppers favour digital self-serve tools, and the use cases of chatbots and similar apps for shopping brands range from: the ability to decrease bounce rates through to informing UX redesigns as well as to leverage machine learning to create more enduring customer experiences.

By personalizing notifications that go right to shoppers’ smart devices, brands can create intimacy between the customer and the retailer. Chatbots can also help business owners find out about customer preferences and scale an online shopping operation, which makes it easier to plan promotional activities and to make a sale.

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Google Trends data reveals that over the past five years, “chatbot” search volume grew 19-fold as shoppers and companies have begun to realize the technology’s value. Today, 56% of customers would rather message than call customer service and 53% of buyers are more likely to buy from companies they can message. By 2020, Business Insider forecasts that 80% of businesses will use chatbots.

Speaking about taking the next step

Having a top-notch mobile experience doesn’t mean that you can afford to ignore future trends. Product teams can leverage mobile’s unique potential to build enduring and lucrative relationships with customers beyond a purchase.

Chatbots and voice assistants can provide an edge to your mobile shopping strategy and applications by elevating the user experience and simplifying the buying process. Some other benefits of these technologies for m-commerce include:

  • Increased conversion rates
  • Accelerated checkout process
  • Automatic prompts and recommendations
  • Minimizing shopping cart abandonment
  • Personalization and localization of content
  • Real-time analytics and feedback
  • Streamlined supply chain and a better reach

If you’re interested to learn more about current and future m-commerce trends, read our similar articles about the use cases of augmented reality in retail or download our report on how to skip code freezes and release with confidence. In case you’re looking to build your chatbot- and voice-assistant-enabled application for mobile on Bitrise, feel free to reach out to us and book a demo.

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