Why do people buy seemingly irrelevant items in voice product search?
One emerging benefit of voice assistants is to facilitate product search experience, allowing users to express orally which products they seek, and taking actions on retrieved results such as adding them to their cart or sending the product details to their mobile phone for further examination. Looking at users’ behavior in product search, supported by a digital voice assistant, we hav observed an interesting phenomenon where users purchase or engage with search results that are objectively judged irrelevant to their queries. In this work, we analyze and characterize this phenomenon. We provide several hypotheses as to the reasons behind it, including users’ personalized preferences, the product’s popularity, the product’s indirect relation with the query, the user’s tolerance level, the query intent, and the product price. We address each hypothesis by conducting thorough data analyses and offer some insights with respect to users’ purchase and engagement behavior with seemingly irrelevant results. We conclude with a discussion on how this analysis can be used to improve voice product search services.