Luxury brands have clearly mastered the art of image, and communication using images. Whether via advertisement, print or digital, or via Instagram, the visual sense of the user is constantly stimulated to immerse him into the brand’s world. But in an era of visual saturation and aggressive tweeting, brands need to find an alternative. What about vocal search?
Vocal offers spontaneity, hands free usage, allows one to multitask, redevelops your listening and concentration skills, stimulates your brain and does not require to be in front of a screen.
Whether it be understood as vocal search in order to improve your SEO or conversion rate on your ecommerce or as defining your voice to better communicate and target a new audience, voice will be a key trend for the luxury industry to work out in the next year.
How can luxury brands use vocal search?
Google reports that 27% of the worldwide population having internet access uses vocal search and Adobe states that nearly 50% of searches are now vocal. By 2022, vocal search with a purchase objective will represent a 40 billion dollar industry, claims Mobile Marketer. Therefore the question isn’t should brands use vocal search, but how can they do it with the same panache they offer via image and video?
Brands must work on their websites to make them friendly to vocal search. Indeed users do not search in the same way when using their voice instead of typing. Instead of sounding like robots by entering a train of keywords, with vocal search, people will tend to formulate questions or longer, richer requests. Keywords will become, with time, a distant memory and luxury brands should ensure their content is adapted as search engines adapt to better understand humans instead of humans adapting to computers.
As per usual, the beauty industry tends to be ahead of digital trends. Guerlain, the luxury perfume Maison, LVMH owned, created a digital webradio Olfaplay dedicated to perfume. Clients can anonymously listen but also share a memory or testimonial in order to nourish the radio about their experience and memories linked to the perfume. Guerlain also partnered with Google in order for clients to do a vocal consultation and help them find their perfume. However, when the idea of encouraging your audience to engage by recording the podcast is clever, the vocal consultation is somewhat limited as one knows that to purchase a perfume one will have to smell and try it on one’s skin. The vocal assistant offers the client to choose between five ambiance in order to make a suggestion, instead, in order to continue with the idea of sharing from the podcast, what would have been relevant would have been to make recommendations of perfumes based on memories and smells the client provides using an artificial intelligence.
L’Oreal admits, they are at the beginning of testing vocal as a means for clients to better discover, try and purchase a product. Clients are looking for more sophisticated, personalised, accessible ways of getting their recommendations. Their shared video tests on influencers during the Cannes Festival are fun, authentic and feel relatable. Val Guarlan, l’Oréal Paris’ make up artiste, who has a particular voice and is known for her expertise gives look recommendations based on the answers of predefined questions, as well as tips on how to redo this look. The vocal assistance mixes audio and visual offering a helping to recreate a full physical recommendation digitally.
Luxury brands, how to define your voice?
Brands, their artistic directors and communication teams work on their visual identity, logos, packaging, visual merchandising, visual identity. So shouldn’t brands seek to define their voice?
Many have started via the extensive use of webinars and podcasts, which have proven to be highly efficient. However Clubhouse and Twitter’s Spaces are opportunities for brands to go talk, listen and exchange on various topics.
Voice is different, it is the oldest medium in the world, it allows people to connect and humans are wired to connect. Unlike videos or photos, it is live, direct, which makes it authentic, relatable and easy to convey emotions, minus the anxiety of appearing on screen. It encourages to have conversations, to get the dialogue and reflection going again on subjects, going deeper instead of projecting a filtered view of yourself or the brand using instagram or TikTok.
Virgil Abloh talks about Clubhouse and how fashion brands can use it. “In the fashion industry there is an uber small design community who gets to dictate what pants you wear next year, therefore we have a huge responsibility to be knowledgeable.” Thus this is a way to “make sure that brands have something to say, providing a new landscape to hear what a brand is about without an image or video. It’s compelling. Brands can use voice to create engagement. It is second nature for fashion to communicate by image, but how do you voice it?”
Concretely, how can luxury brands put vocal search into practice?
“Many luxury customers are used to human personal assistants, so the more human the tech can become, the more likely it is to gain their trust,” he says. Fair and logical first point. So, considering that the elderly still prefer “bricks” to “clicks” and definitely do not like typing, voice could be a way to facilitate their online browsing, shopping or prepare their trip to the store. “Offering information on opening hours and directions to stores” or “perhaps answering more conversational types of questions that guide consumers to discover luxury products and services as well as content that can effectively tell the story behind the product or brand that truly conveys the craft and heritage,” Donnelly adds.
Finally “Any other information tied to the final transaction — such as materials, source, delivery, returns, and history about that specific product or service — is the sort of information that the consumer would expect to have instant access to,” says Donnelly.
Thus one could take it even further, instead of searching through the site for a product, simply vocalizing it would allow you to formulate your idea such as “long dress for wedding blue color sleeveless warm weather”. Once you have found it, products with similar tags could appear so as to propose an entire selection, accessories and shoes included, offering the same service as one would find in store, and allowing the e-shop to upsell.
So there you have it. A simple approach may just be the first step to take when it comes to adding vocal into your e-commerce, before getting into a more complicated communication oriented one-shot experience.
“The visual world is too slick and the kids are over it.” Sonya Abrego, a fashion historian and professor at Parsons and Fordham, told the Business of Fashion a reaction to the “curated, Instagram-perfect vibe.” “The shift to more natural ways of interacting with brands is well underway,” Donelly concludes. Drop your keyboards, and keypads, let’s get back to talking!
Aller plus loin:
Devoucoux du Buysson, Gregoire. Assistants vocaux : test et développement d’une application pour L’Oréal. 2019. ferpection, https://blog.ferpection.com/fr/assistants-vocaux-l-oreal-test-agence-developpement.
“LUXE : CINQ ÉLÉMENTS À INCLURE DANS SA STRATÉGIE DE MARQUE EN 2021.” Luxus +, 5 Janvier 2021, https://luxus-plus.com/luxe-cinq-elements-a-inclure-dans-sa-strategie-de-marque-en-202
Pratt, Kristine. What’s the Difference Between Voice Search and Regular Search? 2019. Boost Blog, https://www.boostability.com/content/whats-the-difference-between-voice-search-and-regular-search#:~:text=A%20big%20difference%20between%20traditional,style%20that%20is%20more%20natural
Rapp, Jessica. “What luxury brands can learn from Starbucks about voice assist.” Jiang Daily, 24 October 2019, https://jingdaily.com/what-luxury-brands-can-learn-from-starbucks-about-voice-assist/.
Vachaudez, Aurélie. La voix, l’avenir du luxe. 2020. Libre Eco, https://www.lalibre.be/economie/decideurs-chroniqueurs/la-voix-l-avenir-du-luxe-5e4e930cf20d5a642285f053.