JT Hughes Group is testing a new voice search function on its website after reviewing current consumer habits.
JT Hughes has recognised the increase in voice search on the Google search engine – which has grown to a 20% share of all searches – as well as the prevalence of intelligent personal assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
It is anticipated the function will optimise the user experience for prospects looking for vehicles, facilitating quicker and simpler search.
While the voice search function will initially be trialled for their used vehicle inventory only, JT Hughes is already considering rolling out voice search to other online functions.
The voice function feature will be available to use from this month.
After navigating to JT Hughes' websites, visitors will be given the option to activate the mic on their PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone. From there, it will take just a few voice commands – e.g. “red Honda Civic” – for prospects to be taken directly to the results which best match their request.
Car buyers will be able to choose between voice search and traditional ‘type and click’ navigation.
The new voice search strategy is the result of discussions between JT Hughes and its long standing digital marketing agency, and represents a marketing policy which refuses to be risk averse in its outlook.
Initially, voice search will only be available to users who browse the internet using Google Chrome, on their computer or Android device, which is the most popular browser among JT Hughes’s website visitors.
JT Hughes Group’s sales director Paul Tench said: “We are determined to embrace innovation at JT Hughes. While we are a relatively small dealer, we have ring fenced a percentage of our marketing budget which allows us to test and invest in new functionality. In partnership with our digital marketing agency, we are constantly looking at ways to optimise the user experience on our website.
“With a filter-based text search, it can take between five and ten clicks to reach desired results; we're confident that voice search will shorten and simplify the search process for our prospects, providing a valuable shortcut within the navigation process of looking for a used vehicle.
“Our move to voice search pre-empts what we see as the natural evolution of web searching habits. As it is a new technology, naturally there are some limitations, but we will be collating user feedback with a view to making enhancements further down the road.
“If the trial is successful, rather than optimising for the model name keywords, we will need to focus on more complex natural language queries. Just as people have learned to use multiple keywords to get more specific results from online searches, they tend to ask more detailed questions with voice."