Bing and eConsultancy conducted research into the growth and perception of digital assistants and found that:
- Amongst the Millennial and Generation Z set, voice is the preferred user interface, with 70% of people under the age of 35 choosing voice regularly
- We found that nearly 80% of consumers believe that voice control will soon become part of daily life
- 66% believe digital assistants save them time
- 67% of consumers are prepared to provide personal data if it means their digital assistants can automatically re-order items that they frequently purchase
Consumers are driving digital disruption, possibly faster than your competitors. Time is the new currency, and consumers are embracing voice, digital assistants, and intelligent automation to streamline their busy lives and maximize productivity.
The time-saving convenience of personalized service, omnipresent engagement, and frictionless shopping is the new norm. Offloading repetitive and low-value tasks and using services and technologies that simplify is a key motivator for consumers—and increasingly, more than product cost and quality.
Which means brands must evolve beyond their products to differentiate themselves. To thrive in the future, brands must adopt the disruptive technology that consumers want to use.
Consumer habits are driving change
Voice technology has come a long way in the last few years, and consumers are becoming increasingly open to it. Amongst the Millennial and Generation Z set, voice is the preferred user interface, with 70% of people under the age of 35 choosing voice regularly.
In fact, in a recent survey, we found that nearly 80% of consumers[ii] believe that voice control will soon become part of daily life. Once people start using it, they like it and they make it a habit. As smart homes get smarter and digital assistants evolve, more and more people will be using voice to control their lights and thermostats.
The convenience of voice is making digital assistants like Cortana and Alexa popular, offering an easy, hands-free way to use search and technology to track down recipes, access the latest headlines, and add items to a shopping list. We found that 47% of consumers say that they are interested in digital assistants because they make it easier to accomplish daily tasks; 66% believe digital assistants[iv] save them time, which is vitally important.
Digital personal shoppers
Imagine a world where your digital assistant plans your next weekend getaway and automatically orders pantry essentials. Already, internet-connected devices at home can order products without human intervention. Soon, digital assistants fueled by artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms will do the shopping on behalf of consumers.
Digital assistants are fast becoming ubiquitous in everyday life, performing tasks that include ordering flowers or pizza delivery. We found that 85% of people under 55 years old would find it useful for digital assistants to repurchase items automatically, even compromising on brand and price to save time. Furthermore, 67% of consumers are prepared to provide personal data if it means their digital assistants can automatically re-order items that they frequently purchase, like toilet paper and pantry items.
The time-saving convenience of automatic and assisted buying is nothing new and has only gained in popularity. People already use online services and subscriptions to automatically order products and meal kits, groceries, and clothing. These time savers make life easier for busy parents and professionals who want to spend time on more important things.
Brands that evolve to make purchases seamless and automatic, will reap enormous advantages such as brand loyalty. Brands that don’t evolve risk getting shut out from the purchase cycle.
Making interactions more personal
Personalization is one of the biggest opportunities for brands today. It’s also expected by consumers. Think about brands such as Netflix, that provide movie recommendations based on reviews and history. Or clothing retailers like Macy’s and Zappos that surface deals based on browsing and purchase history. Consumers want to be known. They want recommendations that match their personal preferences and deals and sales that are uniquely relevant to them.
And as digital assistants evolve, they will provide more personalized services and content to consumers. Seventy two percent of consumers[vii] feel that it would be incredibly useful for digital assistants to narrow down their choices based on their preferences and context.
Consumers are ready to invite digital assistants to become part of their decision journey to help them find the best deals on everything from shoes to shovels. As digital assistants learn about each consumer, trust extends to new categories of purchasing, including bigger ticket items.
It also means that consumers will be relying on digital assistants to serve as gatekeepers, to only serve up content and recommendations that are the most relevant. This applies to ads and marketing, which means that brands must become adept at marketing to digital assistants.
Consumers will continue to drive digital disruption. Brands that want to thrive in the future must evolve beyond products to empower their customers. The race is on to reimagine customer engagement and value by tapping the power of voice, digital assistants, chatbots, and intelligent automation.
Source: Econsultancy and Bing, Future of marketing: era of digital assistants