In Insights, Technology

Live Video Is Creating In-Store Experiences For E-Commerce

During the pandemic, most of us quickly got used to video calls replacing in-person meetings. Video calling has been around for some time – Zoom is over a decade old now and Skype will be twenty next year – but it was the inability to work directly with colleagues in offices that caused video to explode in popularity.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom were the two big winners from the enforced periods of work-from-home. These tools allowed teams to keep on working together in addition to facilitating many lockdown happy hours and other remote social events

To many people, a traditional audio-only phone call now feels a bit quaint. It’s getting common to see some people walking down the street on a call and holding their phone out in front so they can see the person they are speaking to. Perhaps this will change as more and more phones are stolen on the street, but I suspect we are seeing a real change in consumer behavior. It will also adapt as we move from phones to wearables.

I’ve often wondered how this adoption of video calls for meetings might be applied to the customer experience. When Amazon launched their Fire phone a few years back, it included a ‘help’ button that launched an immediate video chat with someone from Amazon. The Fire phone was a big failure, but I think the idea of immediate support with a video call was ahead of its time.

Another place where video could really make a difference to customer interactions is e-commerce sales. You know the traditional online store where you select your item, place them all in a basket or cart, and then go through a checkout process at the end. What if the checkout process involved a live video conversation with a representative of that store?

I have already seen some tools out there that allow companies to build video into their customer experience. Oktium is a great example. It’s live, personal, and allows online shoppers to directly interact in real-time with a brand representative.

It might not work for customers that are in a hurry and just want to click and go, but every e-commerce company knows that approximately 75% of the items placed into a shopping cart are never actually purchased – they are abandoned as the customer migrates to another app or website.

Imagine being able to pop up right there in the cart with a live video chat – especially if the agents are really smart and know the brand inside out. They can immediately say, hey you know what else will go well with that? Or, why do you need that item when there is something much better for the same price? If you could reduce cart abandonment by half, through starting these conversations, then that would be an enormous boost to sales.

This would work even better for big ticket items. Companies like Tiffany are selling expensive items online, but just imagine the difference between spending several thousand dollars on a ring you saw on a website compared to having a live video conversation with a Tiffany representative who can show you the ring live on video – the opportunities are huge. It allows e-commerce companies to effectively deliver a real in-store experience and the agents don’t need to be located in a store or at the distribution center – the various tasks can all be separated from each other.

I think that tools like Oktium are about to transform the e-commerce customer experience – check out some more information on their ideas here.

Please get in touch with me directly on LinkedIn here if you want to discuss these ideas further. Interested in learning more about electric vehicle customer experience solutions? Please contact ICON’s Mark Matthews.

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