Mastercard is hearing increasing chatter about ‘conversational commerce’, an emerging shopping experience in which users make purchases by talking with AI bots.
The company’s new report on the matter, “Is anybody there? Giving Conversational Commerce a voice”, draws on a few recent findings from Mastercard’s own research and that of CapGemini, Walker Sands, and OC&C. It notes that in Europe, 21 percent of consumers have shopped using conversational commerce, while in the US, a whopping 66 percent report having used conversational commerce, with the latter particularly interested in using such technology for banking and to order groceries, meals, and electronics. Nineteen percent of consumers report having made a purchase through a home assistant device such as the Amazon Echo, and 33 percent expect to do so in the next year. And looking ahead, Mastercard cites an OC&C forecast predicting that $40 billion will be spent via voice commerce in the US by 2022.
Still, the latter forecast reflects only six percent of total online spending, suggesting that conversational commerce is still going to be a niche payment avenue over the next few years. But voice interaction is already poised to become the key user interface across smartphones, smart home products, and other connected devices; and with voice biometrics and other authentication solutions emerging and evolving to keep transactions secure, it’s only fair to expect that conversational commerce will be a more and more prominent avenue for online shopping in the coming years. For players in the payments industry, that means it’s time to start listening.