How Voice Will Reshape Luxury Consumer Behavior
Voice is the new interface into the world. From Amazon Echos to Apple Homepods and the Essential Home, there’s no question as to whether voice is applicable to the luxury world: it is. We know that we will be increasingly interacting with content via voice.
Luxury sectors have long been grappling with the dissonance between exclusivity and accessibility, with the digital revolution forcing brands to reassess their position thanks to the leveling effect of social media. With the adoption of voice command inevitable for luxury, the focus for brands should shift from avoidance, to creativity – how should we be thinking about utilizing this new channel to encourage consumers to undertake the behaviors that we, as brands, want?
Luxury Has a Voice
We know that voice is set to be huge. Yet, when voice is part of an ecosystem where we get easier access to the things we want to know, we must not think about it in isolation. We must be part of this ecosystem of new customer behaviors, and carve out a set of behaviors appropriate for luxury. There’s an opportunity to train people as to what they can ask of luxury.
Taking a step back, in essence, voice is about accessing information you want using your voice. Currently, people are primarily using voice to either search or activate. It is used to ‘find’ and to ‘do’; very functional. Voice is really powerful for simple actions e.g. tell me the headline news story, set a timer, play a song. For the things that are part of our routine, voice is a wonderful innovation. It makes it easy to access things, and it gives you back very tangible and useful advice.
Luxury is the most emotive sector. It’s not just about access to information or adopting the newest fad. It’s about anything to do with discretion. That’s where there is an opportunity. We need to help people find an unparalleled experience, and move away from actions such as “Siri, do this for me”.
Voice & the Luxury Consumer Experience
As we see voice emerge as a valuable behavior, we have to ask ourselves, what are people asking Alexa? Where do we see new behaviors emerging? How can we add value to the experiences of these customers? What does the luxury sector train customers to do, say, in order to add more value to those customers?
Voice is going to be the next generation of search. We are going to have to construct search strategies so that people are not only getting what they are looking for – visually and aurally, but more importantly for luxury, that people get what they aren’t looking for. You often don’t know what you are searching for until you see it. Editorial has always operated in this way, and even now, it’s status is under threat.
The Voice of the Future
In terms of the future, voice will only get bigger and simpler. For luxury, the biggest untapped opportunity is in a command that allows you to experience a signature good with multiple senses. There is not a voice command for ‘inspire’ at the moment; for things that are inspiring and interesting in real time. This is where luxury brands can play.
Current news feeds, search, and messaging don’t satisfy the desire to be inspired that affluent audiences crave. Likewise, we don’t just want another content idea for Instagram or for Twitter, we want one for how we just naturally think. How we speak. How we act. How we live. If we can create new behaviors for voice that adds to people’s experience, then we will be onto something quite exciting.
For now, brands must focus on identifying what behaviors they want their consumers to have with voice, so that when the technology develops, luxury will be poised to inspire audiences in a way that is currently unimaginable.