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Voice search looms as a winner for ecommerce


New software that provides an enhanced voice experience for online shoppers is gaining traction with American retailers.

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Australian company YourAnswer launched its software in February and has already customised its technology with several client websites including American plus size women’s clothing company and lifestyle brand Ashley Stewart.

Headquartered in Adelaide, South Australia, YourAnswer is a fully owned subsidiary of YourAmigo, which has built a solid business in the search engine sector over the past two decades.

Last month YourAnswer’s voice shopping experience system won ‘Most Exciting Tech Award’ at the annual Worldwide Business Research presentations in California.

The patented technology combines natural language processing with machine learning, image recognition and a suite of algorithms to produce the website specific experience that can be tailored to reflect a company’s brand personality.

In just three months the voice shopping technology has achieved quantum jumps in mobile website performance, with users staying on participating websites more than two times longer, viewing 50 per cent more pages, and converting 190 per cent higher compared to other visitors on the site.

CEO Rahmon Coupe said the early results of YourAnswer had been astonishing.


He said there was now a “huge pipeline” of companies looking to adopt the technology on their ecommerce websites.

“We’re getting people spending more when they’re on a website and we’re getting the people who use the YourAnswer system on a website converting at a far higher rate than those who didn’t go into the experience,” Coupe said.

“You just ask for what you want, as if you are talking to a sales assistant and the technology we’ve developed understands what all those things mean

“To be able to understand what someone is saying almost as well as a human can is an incredible task so we’ve started with apparel and we’re branching out from there.

“We’ve been doing things associated with apparel like jewellery and we’re now going even beyond that into things like health supplements and we’ll be working across all areas within time.”

Coupe said the initial vision for YourAnswer came when he was sitting in a Boston restaurant in 2016.

He said the idea involved three key functions: a website that allowed visitors to use voice to get what they were looking for in a seamless way, an artificial intelligence system that actually understood what they said rather than just returning word search results, and a dynamic display that showed requested items in a more user friendly way on mobile devices.

“One of the difficulties with ecommerce has been that it is not like shopping in a real store,” Coupe said.

“You lose that personality, you lose the ability to talk to an intelligent sales assistant and you can’t see many products quickly like you would with a display rack in a store because you’ve got this tiny screen on a mobile device.

“We think we’ve gone some way to solving each one of those issues.”

A typical request on a women’s clothing site would be something like “show me size 10 red dresses”. This would potentially return dozens of results. However the request can be refined with a second and third command such as show me the ones under $50 and only the ones with sleeves.

YourAnswer makes its money by taking a small percentage of sales.

“We are now offering websites the opportunity to express their brand in ways they haven’t been able to do before through voice,” Coupe said.

“We’ve cracked the problem of understanding what is meant when somebody asks something or types it in.

“We’re very excited because we do believe that this has the potential to have a massive impact on how the internet is used.”

YourAmigo began in Adelaide in 1999 when it commercialised internet search technology developed in South Australia at Flinders University.

The company has pioneered a number of technologies over the years, pivoted several times and survived tough times such as the bursting of the dot com bubble in 2000, 9/11 and the GFC.

Coupe said although YourAmigo had enjoyed considerable success, YourAnswer had the potential to overtake it in terms of the annual revenue it created.

He said the United States had always been the company’s biggest market with early customers including Sony, Dell, Reebok, The Home Shopping Network and General Motors.

“We’re targeting a far broader market and because we wanted to brand YourAnswer very strongly that’s why we launched another company to push this.

“Historically we’ve sold into websites in 32 different countries with YourAmigo including in foreign languages. YourAnswer isn’t quite ready for foreign languages just yet – it’s enough of a challenge in English – but I wouldn’t rule it out one day.

“The US market is such a big and good market so that’s where we are going to put a lot of effort in the short term but obviously we’ll look outside of that as opportunity arises and as we get really established in the US with YourAnswer.”

This is a Creative Commons story from The Lead South Australia, a news service providing stories about innovation in South Australia. Please feel free to use the story in any form of media. The story sources are linked in with the copy and all contacts are willing to talk further about the story. Copied to Clipboard

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