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WFA launches the Voice Coalition to promote voice commerce

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is launching the Voice Coalition, a new group designed to help brands understand more about the impact voice will have on the way consumers select brands.

Founded in partnership with Fast-Up Partners (FUP), the group has been created following detailed research into the way consumers use voice-enabled assistants to guide their purchase decisions.

It will aim to improve knowledge and understanding for brand marketers across all voice platforms, helping them benefit from this exciting new communications channel.

The coalition already brings together a number of WFA members, including Mastercard, and is open to any clients interested in exploring the potential of voice commerce.

“Research just conducted by WFA with The Economist Group shows voice to be a relatively low priority today to many marketers. But when quizzed on upcoming priorities, 55 per cent of WFA members say voice will be big – and on par with influencer marketing. Given voice commerce goes well beyond marketing, it’s going to be of major strategic importance to companies going forward,” said Raja Rajamannar, CMCO of Mastercard and WFA President.

The launch coincides with new research conducted for the WFA by independent research group BVA into current consumer behaviours among owners of Alexa devices in the UK and US. Based on 1,500 respondents in the US and UK and augmented by focus groups in New York, the study represents the most accurate look at interactions between Alexa and brands to date.

It found that 35 per cent of those surveyed used voice to check prices, 30 per cent use it to add items to their shopping list and 18 per cent use it to add items to a cart/basket. Fifteen percent have used it to make a purchase.

The study highlights the impact voice assistants have on the wider purchase journey with 81 per cent of those who had added an item to the cart ending up buying it later. The impact is even more dramatic among those who have an Alexa with a screen.

Sixty-seven percent plan to use voice commerce at some point for adding items to cart and 60 per cent are willing to use it to purchase directly. More than two thirds (68 per cent, rising to 81 per cent among 16-34s) are willing to let Alexa recommend brands and 77 per cent are happy for Alexa to recommend an appropriate Amazon brand.

The categories most affected by voice are electronics/technology (40 per cent), food and groceries (47 per cent) and petfood/petcare (31 per cent).

The study also highlighted that many have yet to use their Alexa for voice commerce with 36 per cent saying they haven’t had a need to do so yet and 32 per cent saying they just haven’t got round to it.

“Given its hugely untapped potential, this is an ideal time to be exploring the opportunities presented by voice. The coalition aims to help its members in trying to navigate this exciting new channel.” said Stephan Loerke, CEO of WFA.

“Voice offers a huge opportunity and this initiative will help brand owners develop a greater understanding of voice through bespoke research, support and knowledge sharing” said Frederic Colas, CEO Fast-Up Partners.