One thing is clear, technology is evolving. Two-time Sitecore Commerce MVP Rameez Akram and Sitecore developer Kendell Patrice shared an example of how this evolution is happening today with voice and smart display technology at day two of Sitecore Symposium 2019. They demonstrated how this technology evolution is an opportunity for brands to connect with their customers by creating a digital experience that marries voice capabilities, cross-channel customer journeys, and visual interactions.

In their 2019 forecast, Statista predicts that 100 million households worldwide will own a smart display by 2023, Rameez and Kendell shared. While voice-driven commerce in the U.S. is currently a $2 billion market, the team added that this number is projected to reach $40 billion in 2022, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants.

What does this mean for commerce?

As more people use smart displays in their homes, we will see more consumers navigating the buyer’s journey and making purchases via voice. But smart displays require brands to align their content with a voice experience that instantaneously personalizes the visual experience for shoppers. In essence, this is an example of headless commerce in practice.

That’s where Sitecore’s Experience Commerce (XC) and Experience Platform (XP) come in. By drawing on the three key components of delivering personalization at scale — customer data, content, and an omnichannel delivery system — Sitecore XC and XP prepares brands for the voice commerce experience of the future.

Why do we need to care about smart display technology?

Although many of us are no strangers to interacting with smart speakers in our homes, such as the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod, Rameez and Kendell explained that smart displays are the next step for voice technology, adding the component of integrated screens. Smart displays that are currently on the market today include the Amazon Echo Show and Google Home Hub, both released only within the last two years.

“This is the next step to the smart speaker,” said Rameez. Adding later, “These devices will be replacing, possibly, smart phones. They are going to be in your homes all the time. How do you capitalize on that?”

From the standpoint of the consumer experience, smart display devices enable consumers to make commands or queries hands free, using just their voice. These devices include multi-lingual support. But the real differentiator between them smart speakers and smart displays is the touchscreen, which provides instant visual feedback and enables further interaction based on consumers’ current motivations or intent.

Three common use cases

Using an Amazon Echo Show device equipped with Alexa voice technology, Rameez and Kendell walked through a live demo of a smart display CX for three common commerce experiences:

  • Product search and check out. A complete handsfree transaction powered by Sitecore Experience Commerce
  • Personalized upselling. All voice content managed and personalized via Sitecore’s powerful CMS capabilities
  • Cross-channel abandoned cart recapture. By extending Sitecore’s Marketing Automation capabilities, they created the ability to push notifications from Sitecore Experience Commerce to the Alexa Show Device.

The commonality across all three demos? Simplicity.

Product search and check out

Within a matter of seconds, it was shown how quickly a consumer can command or show intent using their voice, verify their purchase using the combination of audio and visual feedback on the Amazon Echo Show, and complete their purchase.

Personalized responses for upselling

The second demo displayed the same level of frictionless purchase completion when a personalized interaction was added to the customer’s shopping experience. Rameez and Kendell then walked through the same steps as they did in the first demo, but they had set up the Amazon Echo Show to ask an additional question to the customer prior to completing checkout. The question was intended to encourage the customer to add more to their cart so they would be eligible for free shipping. The interaction was seamlessly completed by a spoken “yes” or “no” from the customer.

Cross-channel abandon cart

This specific demo showed how a consumer could start their shopping purchase on the website using one device outside of their at-home environment and complete the purchase at a later time using the smart display. The team added a personalized notification for the Alexa Home Show to drive the consumer to complete the purchase. The personalized response reminded the shopper what was in the cart from their previous online shopping experience. It then asked to complete the purchase.

Sitecore is key to CX personalization on smart displays

The overall solution architecture is driven by Sitecore Experience Commerce. APIs in the Sitecore platform where leveraged to implement headless commerce capabilities and create the holistic digital experience with Amazon’s cloud services, other connected devices, all with Sitecore at the center.

Using these technologies, the team created the necessary integrations for driving seamless interaction between the user and the smart display device. They then created Alexa skills to activate based on the consumer’s interactions. As the consumer continues to use voice over time, Sitecore refines the context of each digital experience.

If you’re looking to learn more about what you need to participate in the future of commerce, check out our article, “The commerce platform buyer’s guide.”

Hansen Lieu is the Product Marketing Director for Commerce at Sitecore. With over 10 years of experience helping organizations gain competitive advantage with digital commerce and CRM technologies, Hansen is responsible for positioning, messaging, thought leadership, and go-to-market strategy. Follow him on Twitter @HansenTweets or on LinkedIn.