Voice-enabled payments

Early adopters are already making voice purchases while developers are integrating it with blockchain technology for an improved user experience. Find out more.

While still a nascent opportunity, voice recognition technology has influenced multiple sectors, including search and commerce. Though it is still proving its influence on consumer behavior, the statistics thus far hold strong: voice commerce is expected to exceed $30 billion by 2024.

Smart retailers are tapping into this opportunity early. According to a report, US consumers have used voice search for things like:

  • Ordering a physical item
  • Reordering a physical item they had previously purchased
  • Ordering a digital item (t.v. shows, movies, etc.)
  • Paying a bill

While E-commerce conversion rates are less than 5% for most industries, many Alexa users are likely to accept a recommended product. Voice commerce is already becoming the norm in smart homes. In response to this high rate of engagement, the manufacturers of Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Siri are racing to capture market share. Merchants are already competing for Amazon’s Choice status, to have their products recommended for voice orders, and Google Home has deals with companies like Walmart and Home Depot.

As this technology evolves, it will integrate with blockchain technology and other systems to make purchases frictionless while maintaining the security of personal data and payment information. The first part of this process, however, is to educate people on this new commerce platform.

What Are Voice Payments?

Voice authentication replaces other methods of accessing accounts or making purchases. Passwords continue to be used, and other methods include fingerprints and facial recognition. Voiceprint authentication has been used by bank call centers and other organizations for account access by phone for several years, yet it is still relatively new for actual commerce.

Voice authentication has several benefits over fingerprints and other methods. A vocal passphrase is changeable in the same way that a password may be reset, unlike fingerprints that are rendered useless once compromised. Not only is voice authentication more secure, but it provides a frictionless experience. This immersive IoT experience effectively eliminates cumbersome user interfaces, making voice payments a practical choice for the future.

Manufacturers are already expanding their voice payment technology. Amazon is experimenting with targeted Alexa searches based on a user’s order history, while other product recommendations are based on whether the product has an Amazon’s Choice badge and optimized listings and whether the top item is what’s recommended. As voice commerce becomes the norm, merchants are discovering new ways to use and optimize it.

Future developments may also include voice orders for in-store pickup or linking wallets tied to gift cards and other payment methods to a voice-enabled account. Of note, e-wallets are also used to store digital assets based on blockchain technology.

How Does Blockchain Technology Make Frictionless Commerce Better?

Although voice commerce may be used as a secure payment method, fraud and chargebacks can be problematic. Blockchain technology may be used to address these issues. For example, a user may set the rules for the automated ordering of supplies by IoT devices. Items like printer cartridges might be auto-purchased on a regular basis when a low ink volume is detected. However, a person’s use of other products like food is less predictable. For instance, a person may not want to replace an expensive item immediately, or they may need to replace the milk that’s about to spoil. When the system makes a purchasing mistake, it’s difficult to assign responsibility for the cost.

Blockchain technology can solve this problem through the use of smart contracts. The user can define a set of rules to determine when to replenish items with full transparency, avoiding conflict with the other parties involved in the transaction. In addition, voice authentication may be used to confirm these purchases before they’re finalized as an additional layer of protection.

Going Vocal

Voice commerce is already gaining traction, and we can expect this market to increase as more homes become smart-speaker enabled. Blockchain technology may accelerate adoption by providing benefits to the voice payments experience. Frictionless commerce is tried and true, and voice is the most logical path forward.

Talk to our payment experts today to know how you can leverage voice payments technology!

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