Whether you’re using Siri to send a text message while driving, asking Alexa to play music while you’re cooking dinner or getting the weather forecast from Google Home, voice assistants can provide unparalleled convenience and efficiency.

For one, they’re faster — we can speak faster than we can type. Two, they’re frictionless — even the most user-friendly website requires loading, clicks and actions, but a voice assistant is just an utterance away.

Consumers seem to agree. According to a 2019 Adobe Report, of the consumers who do adopt voice assistant technology, 94% of them find voice technology easy to use and think it saves time and improves their quality of life.

An Acceleration of Expectations

Suddenly, consumer behaviors are changing radically as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many experts believe that the already growing trend of voice-assisted shopping could experience dramatic increases in a time where consumers are avoiding person-to-person interaction and maintaining social distancing.

A strong proponent of this idea, retail consultant Jan Kniffen stated he believes that many of the ways retailers have adapted to the disruption from the COVID-19, such as wider availability of curbside pickup and more delivery, will remain in place after the threat has subsided due to resulting shifts in consumer behavior. Voice assistants, he argues, could be the solution.

In fact, A Capgemini survey featured in AdAge found that 59 percent of global consumers — including 70 percent in the U.S. — would rather use voice interfaces in public places to avoid touching.

Businesses across a multitude of industries had already unveiled voice-assisted shopping for physical goods even before COVID-19. In 2018, Virgin Trains became the first travel company to sell tickets via Amazon Alexa to great success. Their novel Alexa Skill brought the average time to book a ticket down from seven minutes to two minutes. Elsewhere, voice-assisted shopping is being utilized at grocery stores, gas stations, liquor stores and many more retail locations.

How Can Voice Assistants Help Homebuilders?

While all industries are seeing drastic effects from the pandemic, the safety and security of ‘home’ have never been more important to current generations than right now. The month of May saw interest in new homes climb to new highs and many potential buyers have been even more motivated to move due to the current situation. While the health of the homebuilding industry seems strong in comparison, that doesn’t mean consumer behaviors in the industry aren’t changing — they are.

Today, our vision to provide an exceptional home shopping experience is converging with the reality of doing business in the COVID-19 era. Our self-guided tour solution provides a way for builders to continue selling homes to consumers who want to avoid person-to-person contact. Moreover, with UTour Voice, home shoppers can use Amazon Alexa or Google Home to ask questions about the home or community, launch Smart Home features or use live video to connect with a salesperson.

Are you curious exactly what we can answer for your home shopper? UTour Voice comes equipped with a host of customizable answers to their most important questions. We can provide answers about your business, about your homebuying experience and financing, about the community, homeowner’s association and of course, about the home itself — its features, floor plan, finishes and much more.

With UTour Voice, you don’t need a salesperson in the home to communicate what you stand for, the quality of your homes or the areas where you build. And when a shopper is ready to connect with your sales team, UTour Voice can connect them for a video call.

We look forward to a future where we can, once again, come together and enjoy the excitement of a community grand opening or receive the personal treatment that only an informed and charismatic salesperson can offer. However, we know that many of the changes taking place today will have lasting impacts on consumer behavior. In pursuit of an exceptional home shopping experience, we believe that voice-assisted shopping can be your champion, providing the instant information and frictionless experience consumers are looking for today and into the future.