While 2018 was indeed, a heads-down year of learning and developing and evangelizing voice for hospitality and foodservice, I view 2018 as setting the table for a big dinner party coming in 2019.
Voice is here and it’s going to big beginning in 2019. According to Juniper Research estimates, voice assistants used to control smart homes will grow from 25 million today to 275 million in 2023. Ok, there are all kinds of statistics and projections from smart industry insiders, analysts and researchers, but all them them suggest the future is about voice. My personal crystal ball says rapid consumer adoption is 12-18 months away, until voice shopping and voice search is a daily preferred activity over texting and certainly web browsing.
Our plans for 2019 We begin by closing out 2018 with a first of a kind public launch of Orderscape’s consumer restaurant portal that enables food-centric search on a mass scale. Voice search for food sucks and we are doing something about that. Our team, lead by Ted Cohn, is releasing Orderscape v.1 tonight, December 31st. Food search is a start, then food search plus web ordering via links, then finally, adding our commerce engine to enable food search, and commerce direct to the restaurant via the Orderscape platform. This is damn exciting, after a protracted R&D year.
For us, establishing and maintaining key pipe, gateway and menu partnerships enable us to scale rapidly and offer the consumer a superior user experience.
To share our insight and answer a few questions on where I think this is all going, Restaurant C-Suite interviewed me earlier this month. The interview can be viewed by clicking this link.
This Forbe’s article pretty much sums up our view about conversational ordering (and quotes Orderscape). You may not yet see how consumers will use voice assistants and mobile voice search to order food, search for flights, hotels, restaurant or find a table, but you will. Think about how seamless it is to use your smartphone for tasks that a few years ago didn’t seem possible or even necessary. But, smartphones and native apps on Android and iOS devices have changed our lives and disrupted many industries in positive ways. It’s an exciting time because voice-assisted anything is the future of everything…just suspend a little disbelief and let it happen.
We’ve developed several use cases for how consumers order food. Regardless of the medium, voice is different. In a voice construct, we have to get to the point and be very concise about food item selection. After all, we generally decide what we have a hankering for before we know here to go to feed that hunger. In connection with these learnings, here is a diagram of how we view the voice ordering journey, from a consumers’ perspective. The objective is, or course, to create a superior ordering experience so they will prefer to use their voice and a voice assistant gateway, instead of their thumbs. Then, really cool things can occur, like suggestive ordering, and finally, predictive ordering using machine learning, our proprietary food taxonomy and AI.
The Conversational ordering journey begins with desire for a menu category like Indian Cuisine, or a specific food item like Pancakes or Fettuccine Alfredo.
Voice-assisted anything is the future of everything. Of course, we’re biased. But, we are also students and teachers at the same time, being totally committed to voice. So, if voice search + commerce is mission critical for the enterprise and the longtail, brands must, absolutely must voice-ready their content. If you’re a restaurant that means get your menu voice-enabled. If you are a retailer, same thing, get your catalog voice-enabled. Modify your keywords on your website to be more applicable to natural language. Un-brand your product names so they can be more easily discovered generically. From “Bob’s fabulous Fettuccine Alfredo” to “Fettuccine Alfredo”. Even better, add a microphone to your mobile app as training wheels for consumers to a more voice-centric e-commerce landscape and economy. We can do that for you!
Voice is here today, folks. It’s not some future thing that will just suddenly be everywhere. The metrics are astounding, so I encourage you to search “conversational commerce” or “Voice UI” or “voice ordering”, “voice search”, anything “voice ________” and read, learn. Orderscape is voice-enabling millions of menu items, developing a food-centric taxonomy for a voice environment. That’s a first for the restaurant industry. It’s a huge undertaking and it will pay dividends to us and the industry at large as well as provide a superior consumer user experience when ordering food via Google Assistant, or Alexa.
I saw this article and wanted to share it. It’s spot-on about bringing voice to brands with a few tips on where to start. If you are a restaurant brand, call us, we are all-in on voice as a service, for search and commerce.