Matt Bahr

Audio on Product Detail Pages

by Matt Bahr

I caught up with my good friend, Phineas Ellis, last week and much of the conversation was centered around audio. Phineas is in the early stages of starting a full service branding, podcasting, & media company. He recently launched a podcast of his own called "Done Differently" -- listen and subscribe here.

We're both extremely bullish on audio as a media format. Although I'd argue that audio isn't going to take over ecommerce any time soon, I think we'll see some interesting use cases that help drive conversions and increased brand engagement. Which leads me to...

Why hasn't audio made inroads onto ecommerce websites, the same way that video has? Video has been proven to increase conversion rates, can audio not do the same?

I was never too bullish on Alexa and Google Home-like experiences taking over ecommerce, mainly due to the fact that audio lacks a tangible UI. Unless you're purchasing an item you've ordered before, you most likely want to see what you're buying prior to committing. If audio-driven ecommerce was supplemented with a visual medium, I could see adoption going way up.

What happens if we look at the inverse... start with an interface and then incorporated audio?

Let's take Outdoor Voices, for example. Ty Haney has built a cult following by not just selling apparel, but by pushing a lifestyle centered around #DoingThings. Ty often tells the story of why they created certain products on the OV Instagram, a great behind the scenes look into material and design decisions. Unfortunately, their product detail pages (PDP) are limited–the story quite literally lives on Instagram.

Bringing Audio onto PDPs

To more vividly tell a product story, let's bring audio directly onto PDPs. In OV's case, take professionally recorded audio from Ty and her product team and incorporate it into the user purchase journey, directly on OV's website. Short 15-30 seconds snippets around product decisions, materials, brand ethos, etc. Let's not forget their target audience most likely already has their Airpods in.

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By adding audio onto the ecommerce site's UI, we start with the tangible interface and thereafter supplement with audio, increasing the emotional connection the user has with their shopping experience and more importantly the brand. Producing high-quality video is expensive, audio on the other hand just requires a quality microphone and $200 piece of software.