The Rise of Voice-First Fintech

Everyday people conduct voice searches on their mobile phones, or page through customer service calls using voice options. Voice-first fintech continues to rise in popularity, with companies discovering new ways to use it to improve the customer experience. According to Google, 20% of all internet searches are made by voice, and that’s expected to increase to 50% by 2020 as more people install smart speakers in their homes. Want to know why? Keep reading.

What Is Voice-First Fintech?

The best demonstration of voice-first fintech is through the use of smart speakers from companies like Amazon and Google. For example, you can use Amazon Alexa to make voice purchases with phrases like, “Alexa, add paper towels to my cart.” The AI will review your order history and either add a previously purchased item to your cart, or recommend top products in the category. You may also ask the AI if there are deals available, and complete your transaction using a four-digit voice shopping code to prevent accidental orders.

How Does Voice-First Fintech Improve Commerce?

Market forces shape the products and services that companies provide, and payment technology is no different. Buyers and sellers share the common goal of a frictionless shopping experience, and voice-first fintech is a great solution. Without voice technology, a user must log into an ecommerce website, scroll through countless products, add them to the shopping cart and eventually check out. By contrast, voice commerce is much like sending your personal assistant to the store to pick up some items, based on a brief description of your needs. Without lifting a finger, you can ask your smart speaker for product recommendations and complete your transaction.

In addition to smart speakers, you may install apps on your smartphone to utilize voice technology in your everyday life. Ask Marvee is a voice-first solution for older adults. It acts as a companion that caters to people with low vision and limited mobility, with functions including daily “I’m okay” beacons sent out to friends and family. Ask My Buddy is a similar service that extends the capabilities of Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Although it is not a fintech solution, it acclimates people to use voice technology as a lifestyle solution, and its integration with existing IoT devices makes voice-first fintech more natural for less technical consumers.

As a merchant, you’ll need to consider security solutions when enabling voice commerce. 3D Secure 2.0 is one such measure. It improves on 3DS 1.0.2, with better mobile integration and protection from Man-in-the-Middle, or MITM attacks. It also prevents legitimate purchases from being mistaken as phishing scams during authentication. In resolving these and other issues, the new technology reduces fraud, without the high rates of cart abandonment associated with the old software. Using this and other security measures like PCI-DSS compliance, you can assure your customers that their data and finances are secure, thereby encouraging them to explore voice commerce.

What Does the Future of Voice-First Fintech Look Like?

Voice-first fintech will continue to evolve based on user preferences, and improved AI software. Platforms developers will also make data-driven decisions to replace old technology with new ideas by using voice analytics. They can use this data to set expectations, identify bugs and help users to learn about a platform’s capabilities, such as shortcuts for ordering their favorite products using voice commands.

Voice analytics can also be used to measure changes in a user’s language, tone and pitch, to estimate brand sentiment, and to identify areas of friction during the checkout process. For example, if a user’s voice indicates anger when adding and removing items from the shopping cart, the AI may adapt to make the experience less stressful the next time around by recommending different products.

To tie all of these elements together, voice commerce can use “pathing” to treat multiple commands as a single conversation, where each previous step provides context for the next. A user might start the conversation by asking for recommendations for places to eat. Then, without repeating the previous command, they can ask the device to narrow the radius to a maximum distance, and a particular cuisine. The system remembers each of these parameters and combines them with each query, until the user takes the final step to book a reservation.

As consumers adapt to use voice-first fintech more often, developers will find ways to improve security technology and fraud prevention in ways that do not lead to cart abandonment. This is already apparent with upgrades to 3DS, and similar improvements can be expected for other security and authentication measures.

Conclusion

Voice-first fintech will continue to rise in popularity among mainstream users. It was a natural transition for users to adapt from a desktop environment, using a keyboard and mouse, to a mobile environment, using gestures on a touch-screen to conduct commerce. It’s not a far leap to switch to a voice-enabled user-interface when making purchases. Voice technology is the future of digital commerce, and tools like voice analytics and security software will produce rewarding results for consumers and merchants alike.

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