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Today, even 5-year-olds know how to search on Google or YouTube using the voice feature enabled on smartphones. All they need is an unlocked smartphone connected to the internet. Measured today, maybe the adults will lag in statistics on this. However, the use of voice technology and voice-based search and purchase features in smartphones and other compatible digital devices with this facility are gaining popularity among customers. The ability to use speech to search for a product or service online and make an instant purchase decision makes it a compelling technology for retail and eCommerce. The surge in the use of advanced technologies like IoT and AI makes things further interesting. This blog covers how the ability to communicate with smartphones and virtual assistants by uttering words is making an impact in the world of retail and eCommerce automation.

What is Voice Commerce?

Voice Commerce is a derived word. It represents two elements – voice (the ability to use voice/speech to communicate with compatible devices e.g. smartphones) and commerce (using voice communication to facilitate online shopping/purchase). Sometimes it is also referred to as V-Commerce. It can appear in other forms but the underlying essence remains the same. Voice commerce is the use of voice technology to ease search and purchase activities for customers. It can be merged with other software and hardware capabilities for enhanced relevance.

In voice commerce, customers can use voice/speech commands to search for products and services or make purchases online. It gets away with the need for typing making it convenient for customers to use shopping apps and websites. The feature can come in-built within a shopping app/website or it can be used using virtual assistants such as Google Assistant (Google), Siri (Apple), and Alexa (Amazon). These voice-based virtual assistants with dedicated hardware (speakers w/out screens) take the shopping experience to another level. The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes these assistants smarter and better at predicting the needs and wants of users.

Currently, voice commerce hosts a minuscule share of eCommerce transactions. As per a report, global eCommerce purchases via voice assistants are expected to experience a growth of over 400%.

How Voice Commerce Works?

Anybody who has used a smartphone will have a surface-level awareness of how simple voice-based features work. As a tool for shopping as well, adapting to the use of voice technology does not take much time. To start using voice technology for shopping via smart devices, customers must first enable the voice feature or the voice assistants in those devices including smartphones, speakers, or any other compatible device. After activating the voice feature, customers can use speech commands to search and buy products and services from one or more online shopping platforms. The more advanced a device is, the more complex commands it can execute. Some smart devices may allow customers to do a lot more than search and purchase like making changes in their shopping carts, changing payment methods, setting preferences, modifying delivery addresses, etc.

As a retailer, think how convenient it becomes for a customer to be able to do shopping by simply giving some speech commands to a smartphone or a virtual voice assistant speaker. Let us follow this with an example taking XYZ as a virtual voice assistant enabled on a smart television.

Customer: XYZ, please find me a tracksuit within the price of USD 100

XYZ: Are you ordering for yourself or someone else?

Customer: For myself

XYZ: Is it for your gym or walking?

Customer: Both

XYZ: Do you have any other requirements like delivery date or change in delivery address?

Customer: No

XYZ: Here are some of the best options on your screen

Customer: Go with the third one

XYZ: That will be USD 89.99. Do you want to order it now?

Customer: Yes, please place the order and choose cash-on-delivery as payment method

XYZ: Your order has been placed and the scheduled delivery is in two working days.

XYZ: Remember, I am just a call away. Have a nice day!!

This whole conversation (shopping activity) would ideally take place in less than five minutes. So, these five minutes are what the retailer (from whom the above customer made the purchase) needed to create a conversion. All the retailer had to do was incorporate voice commerce in their online sales platforms. Some important considerations in applying voice commerce are:

  • Website/ shopping platform optimised for voice commerce (also consider other advanced technologies AI and AR/VR)
  • Use of rich content (texts, images, videos) but highly specific for product description and other services
  • Put emphasis on conversational keywords because how people talk is not the same as how or what people type)
  • Association with voice assistant service providers because they are the ones who will take your customers to your online store/product pages
  • Focus on personalisation, use of analytics

Edge of Voice Commerce

Voice commerce is taking retail and eCommerce to another level. Currently, it might not be a widespread technology used by customers and retailers. However, the benefits of using voice commerce are loud and clear. It is only a matter of time that not only voice commerce will become more popular but will come laced with advanced tools and technologies like AI, IoT, AR, and VR.

With voice commerce, consumers can not only shop from almost anywhere, as in conventional eCommerce, but also with much less physical effort i.e. by simply using speech commands to compatible devices. Essentially, voice commerce cuts short the shopping journey of customers to their advantage. Voice commerce also makes shopping easy for many people who may have difficulties in typing. Strange it may sound but eCommerce still has not reached even its average potential in many regions of the world. Conventional eCommerce might altogether get skipped in such regions with voice commerce emerging as its successor.

Reducing the activities involved in completing an online shopping order also benefits retailers. Purchase decisions of customers are hampered when information is not easily available to them or when they have to put in additional efforts for the same. Done right, voice commerce addresses this issue by following a systematic flow and presenting available information in one shot.

Albeit artificial, voice assistants seek to establish a human-like conversation with their users. This has a positive impact on user experience which eventually becomes customer experience. For example, an email telling us products we may be interested in is less appealing than a human-like voice doing the same in a calming and confident manner.

As retail and eCommerce consultants in the contemporary business environment, we believe that the use of AI makes voice commerce a completely different ballgame. As humans, we are not perfect in our online search and shopping activities. We rarely find the right product with one search query. This is where AI has the edge. AI-based voice assistants fill the informational gaps first. For example, we may have returned the product of a particular seller in the past. AI can remind us of that in case we somehow skip this important bit of information.

Challenges in Voice Commerce

No technology ever came with only benefits and it mars voice commerce too. While some of the challenges with voice commerce technology can be managed there are others so deeply embedded that removing them will remove the essence of voice commerce.

The factors associated with the adoption of voice technology stand as the foremost challenge on the part of other customers and businesses. Take the cost of adoption as an example. Popular voice assistants are still on the expensive side for a majority of people. To make the best out of voice commerce, customers also need to buy additional skills of these voice assistants. For an average business, reaching an agreeable price range to include voice-enabled services is not easy. These factors make voice commerce a toy of very few limited brands and customers.

As retail consultants for more than 10 years, we have witnessed that the mass willingness to embrace any new technology always takes time; voice commerce has only entered the chat. Closely associated are the concerns of privacy. The world has already seen umpteen news headlines on breaches or violations of the privacy of consumers by small and big tech companies. This further slows down the willingness of the common people to embrace new tools and technologies.

Integration is another major challenge in voice commerce. For superior performance and customer experience, voice commerce demands the integration of many platforms, devices, and services. These components usually belong to different entities governed by different regulations and business interests. While this is slowly changing it takes time to bring all key partners under one value chain.

Future of Voice Commerce

The use of voice technology and voice-based shopping via smartphones and other smart devices is rapidly gaining traction especially, in the developed and developing markets around the world. This trend is highly likely to continue to spiral because of the benefits associated with voice-based shopping to both customers and businesses.

The growing inclusion of voice assistants in everyday lives creates room for featuring voice commerce. According to a report, the number of voice assistants in existence is anticipated to reach 8 billion by the end of the year 2023. In other words, this represents the number of voice assistants being used in devices. That is a staggering number of voice assistants in use if we consider that the global population is also at the same level.

A critical technology used in voice assistant programs is NLP (Natural Language Processing) via which machines are taught to interpret and comprehend human language. However, the use of NLP is not confined to voice commerce only. Today, research and development activities in the field of NLP stand on full throttle. Improvements in NLP will further enhance the capabilities of voice assistants which will also lead to more advanced forms of voice-based shopping.

The integration of platforms is something that affects every field of work or profession. In the coming years, the world will have better cross-platform integration capabilities with the help of technology. This will prove to be a boon for voice commerce. Imagine refrigerators communicating internally with voice assistants and smartphone applications to remind customers of depleting milk stock. Thanks to IoT; voice commerce will not remain confined to a handful of devices like smartphones or smart speakers or smart TVs. The scope of accessing and using voice commerce will expand to include more and more digital devices.


To be able to use speech commands to find products or services in the online space and make a quick purchase decision makes voice commerce a useful technology for both customers and retail and eCommerce businesses.

In voice commerce, customers can use speech/voice commands to find products and services on the internet or make instant purchases. It drives out the need for typing rendering shopping more convenient for customers. In essence, voice commerce shortens the shopping process of customers to their advantage. It also makes shopping easy for people with difficulties in typing. With human-like conversational abilities powered by NLP, voice assistants can resonate with an emotional appeal which is missing in text-based mediums like chatbots or emails. The more advanced a voice commerce-enabled device or platform is, the more complex shopping-related commands or requirements it can execute.

When applying voice commerce for their businesses, retailers must ensure that certain important considerations like website optimisation for voice commerce and putting emphasis on the use of conversational keywords are duly emphasised.

Some of the factors that will slow down the growth and popularity of voice commerce are the adoption cost of the technology, the natural time required for embracing any new technology, privacy concerns, and cross-platform/device integration.

Voice commerce is reshaping consumer behaviour and their shopping journeys or processes. This, in turn, is reshaping how values are offered and delivered in retail, eCommerce, or omnichannel. The integration of advanced tools and technologies like AI, IoT, AR, and VR with voice commerce will make the latter a much more potent technology.

For business solutions and services on retail automation or to speak to one of our expert omnichannel consultants, please drop us a message and we will reach out to you.


What is Voice Commerce?
In voice commerce, customers can use voice/speech commands to find products and services in online marketplaces/online stores and make purchases by voice commands as well. It eases the search and purchase activities for customers. Voice commerce technology can be merged with other technological capabilities for heightened relevance. It eliminates the need for customers to type and do online shopping simply by using voice commands. The voice-based shopping capabilities may come in-built with a shopping app/website or they can be accessed using virtual assistants such as Alexa (Amazon), Google Assistant (Google), Siri (Apple), or any such software application/hardware device with the same or similar capabilities.
What is the Future of Voice Commerce?
The use of voice-based shopping via smart devices like smartphones and virtual assistants is rapidly gaining popularity, especially in the developed and developing regions of the world. The increasing presence of voice assistants creates room for voice commerce as well. Improvements in NLP will augment the capabilities of smart devices and voice assistants which will further lead to more advanced features in voice-based shopping and offering. In the next 4-5 years, the world will have developed far better cross-platform integration capabilities with the aid of existing and evolving technologies. This will prove to be a big leverage for voice commerce. The scope of accessing and using voice commerce will further expand to include and integrate with more digital devices.
What to Consider in Implementing Voice Commerce for my Business?

Some important considerations in applying voice commerce are:

  • Website/ shopping platform optimised for voice commerce (also consider other advanced technologies AI and AR/VR)
  • Use of rich content (texts, images, videos) but highly specific for product description and other services
  • Put emphasis on conversational keywords because how people talk is not the same as how or what people type)
  • Association with voice assistant service providers because they are the ones who will take your customers to your online store/product pages
  • Focus on personalisation, use of analytics

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Author Bio

 Nikhil Agarwal

Nikhil Agarwal

Chief Growth Officer

Nikhil is a calm and composed individual who has a master’s degree in international business and finance from the United Kingdom. Nikhil Agarwal has worked with 300+ retail e-commerce brands and companies from various sectors, since 2012, to define their growth strategy and achieve operational excellence. Nikhil & his team have remarkable success stories of helping brands achieve 10X growth.

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    The idea of having Ecommerce Consultants on-board from the beginning itself points towards reducing the involvement of the promoters in daily operations. Ecommerce Businesses willing to be a brand reaping profits & sustaining the competition must ensure that most of their processes should be automated. The more the manual intervention, the more would be the errors.

    In Ecommerce business, you get only 1 chance to impress the customer & if you mess up there, you lose the customer for long.

    Process automation in respect to all the activities pertaining to customers from order receiving to order fulfilment is a must for a seamless experience for the customers.

    Task Management is another grey area where most deadlines fail as 90% of the tasks are assigned manually & are forgotten, unheard, misunderstood or mistaken.

    YRC Team of Ecommerce Management Consultants helps to make maximum of the processes system-driven to ensure minimalistic manual intervention.


    No matter how good your product is, the customer would know only if it looks good.

    Photography includes the following steps:

    • Cataloguing your products
    • Cataloguing your images
    • Backup your images (A few cloud storage solutions include Dropbox, Google Drive, Bitcasa, Apple’s Cloud Storage etc.)
    • Choose the right camera & lens (You may also outsource the photography to a third party agency)


    Digital Marketing includes SEO & SMM. SEO i.e. Search Engine Optimization includes activities like back-linking, meta tags, blog-writing etc. to ensure your website ranks on the 1st page on Google Search.

    Next comes SMM i.e. “Social Media Marketing” which as the name suggests including promoting your products on all the social media sites, email marketing, influencer marketing & several other BTL activities.

    These activities are going to be recurring & would decide the traffic on the website, the conversions, whether the right target market is tapped, the likes, the views, the orders, the reviews & much more. YRCs Ecommerce Consultants create a budget for digital marketing right from pre-launch to launch & for each month thereafter.

    Building digital marketing strategies in coordination with the agency, selecting them to signing them off would be the role of YRC.

    This ensures seamless coordination, detailed interactions & desired execution as it is always advisable to work with a single agency than multiple of them.


    Selection of the right software for smooth functioning of back-end operations right from production to webstore display would be suggested and integrated by YRC Team.

    YRC’s Team defines SOPs of Product Movement, maps it with the locations & people. They then create a blueprint of all the features required in the software & help in shortlisting & selection.

    IT Integration involves connecting your offline inventories with real-time online webstore so when a sale occurs, inventories get deducted real time across offline as well as online platforms.

    This helps in accurate inventory management, maintaining the MOQs, re-order levels & achieving the optimum inventory levels.

    Some popular software include unicommerce, viniculum for your front-end website management & Genisys for your entire back-end Purchase, Production, Accounting, Invoicing etc. management.


    • How many cities or countries you wish to sell in?
    • Where should your Warehouse be located?
    • Should you have one warehouse in each country or city?
    • Should you be having your own delivery team in your base city?
    • Would the 3rd party vendors be reliable? What happens when they lose or misplace your product during delivery?
    • How should I manage the logistics if my goods are coming from different countries?
    • How should the goods be stored and barcoded?
    • How much space do I require for warehouse?
    • I am sure several such questions must be haunting you while you think of starting your own fashion ecommerce brand.


    At YRC, our warehousing and logistics experts can help you devise a strategy for all of the above mentioned queries and much more.

    We design the layout of the Warehouse considering the inward, goods processing, software entry, barcoding, outward, goods return, scrap storage, goods stacking & much more.

    Logistics route plan is devised considering the manufacturer to your warehouse and from there to last mile delivery locations.


    This Step involves 03 distinct parts:

    Part 1: Choosing the right Platform:

    From several platforms available in the market right from Shopify to magento, woocommerce, prestoshop, wordpress etc. you must choose the one that fits best for your business

    Part 2: UX Designing:

    “UX” denotes User Experience, which if put in simple language is building the functional requirements of the website.

    UX Designing includes designing the features required in the website, customer journey map, website features, the browsing features, navigation features, ecommerce order management process flow, checkout cart features, catalogue management, ecommerce payment system, cross selling features & much more.

    “As per statistics, 68% of the customers abandon the carts before payment”

    An interesting UX ensures the customer sticks on to the website for a longer time.

    Part 3: UI Designing:

    UI stands for User Interface, which means designing the look and feel of the website. UI includes using the right colours, elements and the entire aesthetics of the website.

    A good User Interface ensures the user completes the task that he has come for. It navigates the user through the journey of the brand in the simplest but most effective way.

    The UX designer maps out the bare bones of the user journey; the UI designer then fills it in with visual and interactive elements.

    If User experience is the bare bone, user interface wraps it up with an attractive cape.

    At YRC, our team if experts can help you develop the entire User Journey to ensure it is engaging!


    This step follows the “Designing” Phase, whether you have an in-house design team, freelance designers or an outsourced design company. It is one of the most exciting phases, as here you see your designs turning into products & your ideas turning into reality.

    In most start-up cases, production is outsourced i.e. brands tie-up with the established manufacturers/ job-workers to get their products manufactured.

    Sampling involves multiple 04 Stages, Fit-Sample, Prototype Sample, Pre-Production Sample & the Production Sample.

    Prototype Sample is the first sample provided to the buyer. It can be in any fabric/ colour. This sample is just to understand whether the product design looks equally great in reality.

    Fit Sample, as the name suggests is prepared to check the fit of the garment i.e. the various sizes, length, width etc.

    Pre-production is made by the actual production line. Here the stitching quality and other aspects related to manufacturing are checked. This is the last stage where rejection can be accepted.

    Production Sample is made before the production which is the replica of what is going to be finally produced.

    Once you are through with all this, you are good to go ahead & get your goods manufactured.


    Product Designing or Sourcing is the heart of the Ecommerce Fashion Brand.

    Product Designing / Sourcing can be done in several ways, as follows:

    • In-house Design Team
    • Freelance Designers
    • Outsourced Design Team
    • Ready Product Sourcing (From Manufacturer or Wholesaler)

    At YRC, we evaluate your business strategy & business model to arrive at the decision, which of the above ways would be best-fit for your business. In certain cases, product sourcing may be a combination of the above.

    These are the people who are going to build your brand! Whether they are the designers or merchandiser, your brand look is going to be in their hands.

    If you are designing each garment from the scratch, the sourcing would play crucial role in developing design identity of your brand.

    Sourcing includes fabric, trims, lining & all the raw material required to build the garment.


    Branding is the “Look of the Brand”, right from logo to tagline, the colours used, the brand story, the brand communications on social media, the packaging & all the other aspects which speak directly or indirectly to the customers. Branding constitutes the look & feel of the brand & hence must be thoughtfully planned to match with the product that we are selling.

    Branding must appeal to our target audience. Example : A golden colour logo depicting finesse, art, richness, premium, however beautiful it may be individually cannot go with a brand selling affordable kids wear products. So, your logo must be in-line with your brand positioning, whether you are an expensive brand or a luxury brand or a value for money brand, it must be depicted from your “Branding”.

    It is an integral part to attract the target audience.


    Organogram is the “HR Blueprint” of the business which is created at the onset, to map out the team required across each function at various stages of the business. At the launch, only key people need to be got on board to ensure the project gets started & at this stage, all of them need to multi-task. Similarly, certain financial as well as operational goals are set for addition of the further team. Example, for the operations team, we hire 1 operations manager during the pre-launch phase & we add 1 more only when the business kicks-off & we reach a volume of selling more than 1000 pcs/ month or a turnover of more than 0.1 million USD.

    SOPs are Standard Operating Procedures, a bible to run the entire organization right from Sales, Purchase, HR, Order receiving to Order fulfilment, Inventory Management, Accounts, Warehouse, Logistics, Supply Chain, Production & all the other relevant functions for the business. Business must be organized from its first day of operations; only then the tasks can be delegated.

    At YRC, we design the organization structure, the processes, and approximate time taken to execute each process, job profile of every member within the organization, their KRAs, KPIs & the Reporting Structure.


    Critical Pathway Analysis (CPA), is a project management technique which cannot be overlooked while launching an ecommerce fashion brand. Brand launch process is cumbersome with multiple inter-dependent & time-bound tasks involved, which need to be tracked to ensure the project remains on track.

    CPA outlines key tasks across the project, their turnaround time (TAT) & the dependencies of tasks upon each other. It identifies the sequence of tasks, their interdependent steps from inception to completion, their criticalities, and their dates of onset, target dates of completion along with the key responsible person for the respective activities. Critical Pathway helps in understanding the unimportant & not urgent tasks which may jeopardize the execution of the project because of an unexpected snag! It also maps out the potential bottlenecks which might be posed because of the dependencies of tasks upon each other & cases where the next task cannot be commenced before the completion of the previous one.

    CPA detects the minimum & the maximum time involvement of a particular individual or team to execute the task, thereby arriving at the overall deadlines associated with the project.

    At Your Retail Coach, we design the Critical Pathway & review it periodically to ensure the project is on track & the progress is measurable.


    Business Strategy includes the vision, mission, goals, business model, business plan & strategy for all the functions within the organization.

    Business Strategy is a well-defined plan that outlines who, what, where, why, how & when for the company; for example, who would be the target market, how to attract the target audience, when to launch new products, where to operate from, how to handle competitors, what would be the USP, what would be long term goal of the organization & several other answers to the 5Ws of Strategy.

    Business Strategy aligns the organization towards a common goal. Business SWOT helps company to identify & overcome their weaknesses & focus to sharpen the strengths. Business strategy forecasts future risks and helps business in building skillsets to overcome the potential threats.

    YRC’s Business Plan focuses on creating a “Blueprint” of the business, thereby deriving the feasibility of the concept & gauge whether the opportunity is lucrative to invest time, energy & effort. Business Plan creates cash flow understanding i.e. building inflow & outflow cash projections from Week zero to week 60 i.e. 05 year projection. Business Plan calculates the capital investment, operating costs, one-time costs, recurring costs & all the other numbers relevant to obtain the breakeven sales, return on investment, return on capital, internal rate of return & several other ratios. Business Plan is also one of the important requirements if you are targeting the “Investor Route”. Fund raising becomes extremely transparent & channelized. With business plan panned out clearly, the business will know until what point must it be stretched & where to stop, which reduces the probability of unplanned investments.


    Starting the concept of Ecommerce Fashion brand with Market Research ensures we get detailed understanding of the industry & this research report also acts as a social confirmation for your concept. Market Research helps in understanding the target locations, their population, potential online buyers for your product, competitors for each category, and top selling products of the competitors, competitors’ price range, offers & their responses & much more. Market Research helps in thorough understanding of your brand position as compared to our competitors. It helps in identifying gaps in the market, in your category along with the scope of the said product in the desired market. This will help in validation of your concept & prevents you from making the same mistakes as your fellow brands, eventually saving your time, energy & efforts. This phase is also a make or a break phase, as the market research study may at-times come up with some eye-popping numbers & statistics which might compel you to re-think on your product or category that you are planning to sell or alter your entire concept itself!! Market Research Reports analyse the competitors’ webstore for their traffic, conversion & sales. This is extremely valuable information to derive our inventory budgets & projections, which takes us to our next phase.