Shopping via Voice Assistants Encourages Increased Spending; Retail Worst Affected by Cloud Failure Incidents

RetailTechNews rounds up some of the biggest stories in the European retail technology space. In this week’s edition: Shopping via voice assistants entices customers to spend 500% more; Retail could be worst affected by cloud failure incidents; and Good times for UK SME online retailers.

Shopping via Voice Assistants Entices Customers to Spend 500% More

Alexa and Google Home are the shop assistants of the future. According to a report by Capgemini, which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the US, UK, France, and Germany, voice assistants will become a dominant mode of consumer interaction over the next three years. The expected result: those who shop via voice assistant may spend 500% more than they currently do.

The study finds that almost a quarter of respondents (24%) prefer using a voice assistant to interact with a company rather than a website – a figure that is set to rise to 40% by 2021. 

Shopping via voice assistant may still be at a modest 3% of their total consumer expenditure, but the figure is expected to increase to 18% in the next three years, at the expense of brick-and-mortar stores (45%) and websites (37%). 

“Voice assistants will completely revolutionise how brands and consumers interact with each other”, says Mark Taylor, chief experience officer, digital customer experience practice, Capgemini. “What makes voice assistants so exciting is that they are woven into the fabric of our lives, offering a simplicity and richness of interaction that consumers have never experienced before. Brands that are able to capitalise on the huge consumer appetite around voice assistants will not only build closer relationships with their customers, but create significant growth opportunities for themselves.”

Retail Could be Among Worst Affected in Case of Cloud Failure Incidents

Cloud computing services are behind almost all online-based services these days, with only a small number of providers dominating the market. This reliance on a select number of companies creates the potential for systemic risk for service users, warns Lloyd’s in their Emerging Risk Report 2018.

According to the report, scenarios that involve an extreme cyber incident taking even just one top cloud provider offline in the US for three to six days, could lead to  economic losses of USD$15bn (£10bn).

The brunt of such losses would be taken by smaller businesses, outside the Fortune 1000, carrying a 63% share of economic losses. Fortune 1000 companies carry 37% of economic losses.

The wholesale and retail trade sectors could be affected in such a case with losses of up to USD$3.6bn (£2.5bn).

For the purpose of the report, Lloyd’s analysed the losses for 12.4 million US organisations.

Good Times for UK SME Online Retailers

According to a study commissioned by Royal Mail, the majority of UK SME online retailers believe that their sales will increase in 2018. Almost three-quarters (74%) of UK SME online retailers said they expect to see rising sales numbers in 2018, while 70% of UK SME online retailers already experienced an uplift in sales in 2017, compared to 2016. Those surveyed said they hoped to achieve their new targets by increasing their social media presence (43%), running more promotional offers (39%), and introducing new products/services (29%).

“Although obvious challenges exist, retailers are grasping the available opportunities for growth and have a clear view of the actions they need to take to win new customers at home and abroad”, says Nick Landon, managing director, Royal Mail Parcels.

However, online retailers also expect higher costs this year, with spend on advertising expected as the third-highest cost in 2018. The biggest costs expected are purchasing (34%) and logistics/delivery (32%).

The study concludes that UK SME online retailers are predominantly planning to target Europe (50%), USA (34%), and Canada (28%) in 2018 due to demand, good e-commerce structure and the ease of shipping and delivery.