Silence Is Silver, but Speech Is Golden: Intelligent Voice Assistants (IVAs) and Their Impact on a Brand’s Customer Decision Journey with a Special Focus on Trust and Convenience – A Qualitative Consumer Analysis in the Netherlands
The IUP Journal of Brand Management, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, March 2021, pp. 7-31
Posted: 7 Sep 2021
Date Written: March 23, 2021
Intelligent Voice Assistants (IVAs) have become a new phenomenon in Marketing. The paper analyzes how IVAs can be used in different stages of a brand’s consumer decision journey. Since trust and convenience are seen as major drivers for usage adoption, their impact on IVAs is investigated. For this purpose, primary in-depth interviews with eight IVA users in the Netherlands were conducted in July/August 2019. The results show that IVAs have a significant impact on all stages of a brand’s consumer decision journey. In the pre-purchase stage, consumers refuse to be exposed to advertisements over IVAs, but find recommendations helpful. For gathering information about products and services, the phone or laptop is still preferred to the IVA because voice-proof SEO is still seen as inferior. When it comes to purchase, consumers can imagine buying simple, lower-price, daily-use items over an IVA, such as groceries, personal care products, food delivery and transportation. Customers do not trust their IVA yet with more expensive or complex products (e.g., electronics) because they see a higher risk if the IVA does not interpret the order correctly. Also, products that require visualization (clothes, hotel) are less considered for conversational commerce. Regarding payment, consumers hardly have any trust issues with providing an IVA personal information or payment details. In the post-purchase step, informational services (such as information on delivery times, the return process or warranty) and providing reviews are identified as key functionalities of IVAs. The most potential for conversational commerce currently lies in the repurchase of products or services customers have already bought. At this point, the customer saves time and effort through a simplified decision journey.
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