Preparing for vCommerce: Why voice won’t kill eCommerce

The early days of vCommerce were rough but Dom’s apology tour is over... Launched in 2014 with kinks, the Domino’s Pizza voice controlled ordering assistant has improved significantly and recently generated buzz for its “Dom is Sorry” campaign in which talking apology cards were sent to users who had a poor experience with DOM during its BETA testing. 

But today - with more than a half-million orders placed via voice - Dom has expanded its natural voice capabilities and is now taking phone orders. Voice activated bots will even work together to help you make a purchase, as Dom can now take orders via Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa.

vCommerce is on the verge of exploding... Are Dom and his ilk a threat to your business?

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TradeGecko’s inventory and order management software will help you automate your workflows so you can focus on growing your business.

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The death of eCommerce

With Siri plotting world domination

And visions of fully automated battlefield robots capable of fighting wars in our stead rampant, it’s certainly not outlandish to wonder about the impact vCommerce might have on eCommerce.vCommerce

With $4.8 trillion in global online sales at stake, some are already writing the obituary for eCommerce. Those who are even more enthusiastic about vCommerce argue that up for grabs is all U.S. consumer spending- $57 trillion- so long as the following prediction proves accurate:

By 2020, virtual assistants will participate in a majority of commercial interactions between people and businesses."

- Marty Kihn, Analyst, Gartner

The smart speaker market is expected to reach 225 million units worldwide by 2020 and retail  behemoths- Costco, Kohl's, Target, and Walmart- have already signed on to sell through them. And why not? Roughly half of those surveyed are interested in using voice assistants to order meals, clothing, and electronics.

With Amazon revealing that its own voice assistant was Black Friday 2017’s best seller, is the eCommerce king signaling vCommerce will cannibalize eCommerce?

Different than a drive through?

The counter argument is that voice will actually revolutionize commerce and increase sales for online brands offering a positive voice ordering experience. Consumers may even perceive their vCommerce experience as very human now that Google’s voice assistant intentionally peppers interactions with hesitations and vocal pauses like “uh” so consumers can’t distinguish it from an actual human’s voice.

Is it really all that different than the transition from in-restaurant ordering to drive through ordering?vCommerce and drive through ordering

Developing a conversational commerce strategy doesn’t materially alter your overarching approach to offering a differentiated, compelling customer experience. If you’re growing rapidly, you’re already likely selling through multiple sales channels.

Voice is simply a new channel.

Getting ahead of vCommerce

You’ll certainly need to acquire voice recognition capabilities and integrate with your order management system. But once you’re able to accept voice orders you’re right back where you’ve always been or should be - managing and optimizing orders, inventory, and fulfillment.

These are the fundamental yet vital backend operations that are differentiating the world’s top performing brands.

In fact, brands that ensure they can execute well on the backend free themselves to invest more time and attention on developing vCommerce. Only after you’ve mastered the blocking and tackling of business operations are you positioned to to be an early adopter of vCommerce and create a first-mover advantage.

Here then are three crucial things to perfect so you’re well-positioned to capitalize on vCommerce before competitors:

#1: Multichannel inventory and order management

One way Incausa, a social enterprise using commerce to empower indigenous people, has overcome the challenges of rapid multichannel growth is by adopting a powerful inventory and order management system that offers visibility into customers, suppliers and orders.Incausa inventory and order management

Optimizing inventory and order management is vital for brands that want to scale globally, strategically position stock in multiple warehouse, and fulfill orders the fastest and most profitable way possible.

Enhanced inventory visibility - a real time view of inventory quantity and location - positions brands to optimize operations by synchronizing inventory counts and locations. It means never running out or ordering too much stock. As a central hub from which from you can manage orders and inventory across all your sales channels, the right system allows you to sell around the world - and accept multiple currencies - with confidence.

TradeGecko was paramount for us to take a massive leap. When we realized what it was doing for us it was kind of an epiphany moment. We could actually tend to thousands of stores, and control inventory and their orders. It’s outstanding.”

-Vinicius Vieira de Vieira, CEO, Incausa

#2: Deep platform intelligence

With hundreds of SKUs and a multichannel strategy, Superlove Merino, which offers luxury baby apparel and accessories made from merino wool, relies on its inventory management solution for intelligence reports that allow the brand to forecast demand and better manage inventory.Superlove multichannel strategy

Intelligent inventory management systems analyze sales across channels so brands can better allocate inventory by location and fulfill orders more efficiently. With insight that helps you accurately forecast demand, you can make better inventory procurement and allocation decisions.

Intelligent inventory management systems combine historical sales patterns with the impact of seasonality so you can make data-informed decisions that lift sales while maximizing profitability.

TradeGecko has allowed us to expand internationally - we now have the system and support to expand globally and start international sales.”

- Becky Sayer, Co-Founder, Superlove Merino

#3: Supply chain automation

To offer an improved customer experience, Pali Hawaii Sandals, known for its paradise inspired sandals, uses its inventory management system to automate order confirmation emails. Likewise, once an order ships the customer receives another automated email that includes an itemized shipping record and interactive map so customers can track their orders in real time.pali hawaii sandals supply chain automation

Besides confirmations, using your inventory management system to automate sales order workflows allows your employees to focus on growth instead of repetitive stock reordering tasks. With automation, you’ll never again run out of inventory and lose sales as you’ll receive automated backorder notifications and replenishment reports in real time.

These automated notifications ensure that customers receive the information and notifications they need right when they need it – and it reduces the amount of time I spend on the phone fielding customer inquiries about logistics.”

- Ryan Meehan, President, Pali Hawaii Sandals

vCommerce and you

Regardless of how it’s measured, vCommerce is a multi-trillion dollar opportunity.

But only those with the right systems in place will be positioned to capitalize and use voice to take share from slower moving competitors.

The means by which customers place orders is likely to change in perpetuity.

But managing, optimizing, and fulfilling those orders will always require sophisticated systems that help you keep the promises you make to customers.

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