Brand Management
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

Article Details
Pub. Date : Mar, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of Brand Management
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJBRM10321
Author Name Karien Oude Wolbers and Nadine Walter
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Marketing
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 26



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.


Intelligent Voice Assistants (IVAs) are on the rise. IVAs can recognize and understand voice-based user requests and can assist consumers in a wide variety of tasks (Chattaraman et al., 2019). Currently, IVAs are mostly used as digital assistants (Buvat et al., 2018). However, Gartner (2016) predicted that IVAs will replace computers, tablets and mobile phones in online shopping. This new type of e-Commerce-called conversational commerce or voice commerce-will rise with the increasing popularity of smart speakers (Awadallah et al., 2015). Customers are predicted to not only buy products and services through physical stores, websites and mobile apps anymore, but also to communicate with businesses through their IVA (Faulds and Raju, 2019). Hence, customers will use their IVA to search for products and brands, make comparison with competitor products and post-product reviews (Buvat et al., 2018; Kinsella and Mutchler, 2018; and Bosch and Fletcher, 2019).


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