The rise of voice-based virtual assistants and smart speakers has helped consumers become comfortable with buying products through a conversational interface. For now, voice commerce produces little revenue. In the future, voice commerce may be a primary sales channel.
Here is a list of tools and resources for voice commerce — to get started and to help with advanced development. There are voice user-interface design tools, development platforms for conversational assistants, analytics tools for voice and chat interfaces, do-it-yourself tutorial resources, and additional reading on a voice interface and the style of natural language.
Tools and Resources
Alexa Skills Gallery. Skills are the voice-driven capabilities that enhance Alexa devices. Browse through thousands of skills — there are hundreds in the shopping category alone. See which merchants are on Alexa, and review skill descriptions for insight and inspiration on user interface features. Price: Free.
Alexa Skills Kit. Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation, and code samples that make it fast and easy to add skills to Alexa. Designers, developers, and brands can build engaging skills and reach customers through Alexa-enabled devices. Skills Kit also has an assortment of tutorials and resources to develop skills, including third-party training courses and tools. Price: Free.
Alexa Design Guide. Alexa Design Guide is a shared repository of sound, voice, visual, and device practices, patterns, and guidelines for building innovative Alexa-enabled experiences. Price: Free.
Alexa Voice Service. Alexa Voice Service allows developers to voice-enable connected products with a microphone and speaker. AVS is comprised of interfaces that correspond to client functionality, such as speech recognition. Once integrated, your product will have access to the built-in capabilities of Alexa (such as music playback, timers and alarms, package tracking, movie listings, and calendar management) and third-party skills developed with Alexa Skills Kit. Price: Free.
Google Shopping Actions. Shopping Actions is what enables retailers to sell across Google.com, Google Express, and the Google Assistant with voice-enabled shopping. Shopping Actions enables a frictionless shopping experience by using a shareable list, universal shopping cart, and instant checkout with saved payment credentials. Merchants can apply to join the program and join its list of stores accessible by voice command. Price: Free.
SiriKit. SiriKit enables iOS apps and watchOS apps to work with Siri, so users can get things done using only their voice. Use content and services in new scenarios, including access from the lock screen and hands-free use. Price: Free.
Bixby Developer Center. This is the development platform for Bixby, Samsung’s conversational assistant. Access these tools to start building for Bixby, and publish your capsules for discovery in the marketplace when it launches in 2019. The center includes design guides, including Writing Dialog, a quick overview to help write engaging and effective dialogue for a conversational interface. Price: Free.
Introduction to Alexa. From Codecademy, this tutorial will teach you how to build and host your own Alexa Skill. Understanding the process for developing a custom Alexa skill, you’ll be prepared to publish your own program and work with other voice-user-interface applications. Price: Free.
Adobe XD. This is Adobe’s tool for creating wireframes and interactive prototypes. Use voice triggers and speech playback to create audio interactions for smart assistants and other experiences beyond the screen. Price: Free for one active prototype. Paid plans start at $9.99 per month.
Adobe’s VUI Kit for Alexa. Design voice first with Adobe’s free user interface kit for Amazon Alexa. Access Alexa presentation language components, templates, colors, and fonts. Design voice prototypes in Adobe XD directly. Price: Free.
Conversable. Conversable is an enterprise-class software-as-a-service platform for designing, building, and distributing artificial-intelligence-enhanced messaging and voice experiences across multiple platforms, including Facebook Messenger, Twitter, web chat, SMS, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. As more interaction data is collected, Conversable works with clients to incorporate additional business rules. Contact for pricing.
Sayspring. Sayspring is a prototyping tool to create voice interfaces for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Sayspring is now part of Adobe. To use Sayspring, request an invite. Select invitations are sent out on a rolling basis. Price: Free.
Satisfi Labs. Satisfi Labs is a conversational AI platform for retailers, sports venues, attractions, and live events. Its Answer Engine powers voice experiences, chatbots, messaging apps, and website forums to respond to all customer questions in real time. Contact for pricing.
Voysis. Voysis is an AI platform to add speed and efficiency to your ecommerce apps and websites with natural language voice search and transaction. Because Voysis leverages your product catalog and search history, voice searches can surface anything you have information on. Voysis overlays your existing UI so that a familiar experience remains when users interact with their voice. Contact for pricing.
Jetson. List products within Jetson’s voice-first marketplace. It integrates with other popular channels, including Alexa, Google Assistant, and Slack. Jetson enables your customers to order voice-first from anywhere — at home, on location, or mobile. Price: Plans start at $99 per month. For an additional fee, Jetson can create a white-labeled skill, action, or bot.
Voicebot. Voicebot’s goal is to gather news, commentary, research, and analysis of voice technology. Voicebot publishes original content, links to relevant third-party items, produces original research, distributes a weekly email newsletter, and hosts a weekly Voicebot Podcast. Price: Free.
Dashbot. Dashbot is an analytics tool for bot environments, including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Improve AI response effectiveness, conversational flow, user engagement, and monetization through analytics. Dashbot offers a free plan for most startups and brands building voice skills and other conversational interfaces. Contact for pricing.
“The Best Interface Is No Interface.” This book by Golden Krishna challenges our use of screen-based interfaces and shows how we can build a technologically advanced world without them. Learn to think beyond screens for more meaningful innovation.
“Designing a VUI — Voice User Interface.” VUIs are here to stay and will be integrated into more products in the coming years. This article covers current developments in voice search and voice user interfaces. It breaks down the anatomy of a voice command, outlines prototyping requirements for VUI conversations, and outlines tools to track your results.
“A Guide to Voice User Interfaces.” This article describes six essentials principles on designing for voice UI — for building blocks and inspiration on voice interface.
“How conversational searches change your search strategy.” From the Think with Google blog, here is a post on the rise of conversational search queries, as well as the natural language and intuitive experience aspects of voice commerce.