With the growing popularity of voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, the way we shop is changing. More and more people will begin to rely on these devices to inquire about and purchase products. And with 50% of all searches predicted to be voice searches by 2020, it’s time to start thinking about what this means for online retailers.

Here’s what you need to know to get your products ready for voice search.

Optimizing for Voice Search

Searching with voice is different than traditional search. By nature, voice search is far more conversational than text search. Additionally, keyword use is also different. Think about how we speak as opposed to how we type. If I were speaking to someone, I would ask “What are the best sneakers for marathon running?” But if I was searching on my computer, I would likely type in “best sneakers for marathon running.” Keep these long tail keywords in mind when writing out product information. Think about how a potential customer would actually speak.


People ordering products through voice are likely in the middle of doing something. Maybe they’re in the kitchen and realized they ran out of dish soap or maybe they’re in the living room and noticed they need a new light bulb. Regardless, these are likely to be repeat purchases.


Retailers, like Ulta, are already using Google Home to remind users when it’s time to stock up again. In Ulta’s case, users have the option to link their Google account to their Ultamate Rewards status. Google uses this information to show shoppers items they may have previously searched along with related items. They can even recognize purchasing patterns and show items during the time that the shopper is most likely to purchase them. For example, if a shopper regularly purchases hand lotion once a month, Google will show the lotion when the shopper is most likely to purchase the lotion next.

It’s predicted that local retailers may get preference when it comes to voice search on Google-- meaning that they would be more likely to appear at the top of search queries. Hence, if you have a brick-and-mortar storefront, you’ll want to make sure you have it optimized for local. This means registering your business with Google My Business and landing some reviews to boost search ranking.

Sell on Google Assistant

Now let’s talk  voice specifics. Google Assistant is Google's widely available voice assistant. Available through devices such as your phone, car, Google Home smart speaker, and more, Google assistant is capable of a lot—including purchasing. As of now, Shopping Actions lets users shop from a variety of retailers via the Google Express app, google.com/express, or with voice through Google Assistant. The program provides users with a universal shopping cart and instant checkout (among other features) to promote an overall better customer experience. This integrated shopping experience makes Google more competitive with Amazon.

google home smart speaker voice ordering

When a shopper tells Google to order an item without giving a specific retailer, they suggest a retailer to order from and all the shopper has to do is confirm. You want to be the retailer that is suggested. And in order to be in the running, Shopping Actions is a must.

In order to to be eligible for the Shopping Actions program, you’ll need to fill out Google’s interest form and await approval.

For steps on how to start selling on Google Express, click here.

Increase customer loyalty

Features such as 1-click-reordering and personalized recommendations help you build customer loyalty to land those repeat purchases. Google lets users link their account to third party retailer accounts so Google can better recognize purchase patterns and show the products that the user is likely to reorder.

There are currently some restrictions as to what you can and can’t buy on Google Home—but as the popularity of voice shopping grows, we wouldn’t be surprised if this changes soon.

Items that are unavailable to buy include: Fresh produce, perishables, most clothing and accessory items, furniture, anything less than $3.99 and anything more than $100, as well as these restricted products and services.


Final Thoughts

The voice assistant trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. As more people purchase voice assistants, the popularity of voice search and shopping will inevitably grow. Get ahead of the trend by becoming a part of Google’s Shopping Actions program and optimizing your product data for voice.