According to Statista, Canadian ownership of smart speakers like the Amazon Alexa Echo and Google Home increased from only 9% in 2018 to 25% in 2020. Combined with the improvements in voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant on our smart phones, voice-activated search is becoming the first choice for information seeking among young adults and tech savvy seniors. Main street businesses face a huge challenge in moving beyond traditional search engine optimization (SEO) to find a way for consumers who are using voice-enabled search to become aware of their local business options.
How can small businesses increase the likelihood their information will appear in voice-activated search results? And how can they effectively reach consumers who want to support local businesses but also prefer to use voice when searching for options?
In a Community Collaboration project led by the Milton Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Milton BIA, Haltech client and technology innovator, Qwhery Inc., leveraged support from Digital Main Street’s Future Proof program to design and build a prototype business directory integration to their core Qwhery Cloud platform.
Marketplace Milton helps consumers find local businesses with an authoritative voice-activated skill for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa platforms. Users can interact with Marketplace Milton by asking for nearest businesses of a certain type (e.g bakery, cafe, insurance agent). Users can have the results emailed to them or sent by text message. They can also view the results on a map, get directions or receive a link to visit the website of the business they found.