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How video chat enhances the omnichannel shopping experience

Video chat has opened up doors for retailers who are looking to reach their loyal customers digitally, provide customers with more options to connect to their stores, and offer exceptional omnichannel customer support anytime and from anywhere. Video chat is exponentially growing in popularity with many uses in both the work and social environments. 57% of Americans are currently using video chat platforms for work or for social reasons, and 38% had never used a video chat platform prior to the beginning of coronavirus-related lockdown. 

Video chat service is not a new phenomena, given the introduction of Skype in 2003 and Facetime in 2010. However, with recent events, the need for more useful digital innovations to seamlessly blend the in-store and online shopping experience is on a sharp rise. Retailers are now using advanced live chat technology to mirror the human touch points previously provided in-store and to create virtual interactions that offer personalized advice on everything from clothing, gift ideas, home repairs and more.

Retailers across the industry are immersing themselves into video chat capabilities to meet customer expectations and give exceptional customer experience from anywhere. Video chat offers a seamless online shopping experience with store interactions; elevated customer experiences; a rise in brand loyalty; and an increase in revenue.

Here are some examples of how retailers can use video chat to reach their customers in a world where omnichannel shopping has never been more important in retaining customer relationships.

Beauty consultations

Live video chat allows beauty brands to connect with customers and provide expert advice on skin care, makeup tips and colours or product recommendations. Many brands have been using video chat to offer one-to-one beauty advice from the brand’s makeup artists to keep customers and store associates alike safe while practicing physical distancing. Canadian brand MAC Cosmetics offers customers a chance to interact with makeup artists to provide personalized advice and tailor it to the customer’s specific needs over live video during store hours . While American brand Bobbi Brown offers their Artistry Like Never Before program, delivering one-to-one tutorials and consultations with their leading artists. They also offer group video sessions up to 3 people for such events like birthday parties and bridal showers.

Personal styling and shopping

Brands are using video chat to provide faster and more branded and tailored customer support from home. Customers are engaging with store associates through more usable and highly personal digital services and experiences. Italian luxury brand, Gucci, introduced Gucci Live in Europe, to allow customers to chat with the brands associates in real time from Gucci 9, a remote high tech clienteling store in Florence, Italy. Gucci offers customers a similar in-store experience through video chat as retail associates can showcase their products and provide advice in a branded virtual store setting.  John Lewis, a UK high-end department store, offers virtual styling advice to help customers find missing pieces in their wardrobe. They also help parents-to-be find the right nursery products and help customers find the perfect gift.

Home décor and repair advice

Home décor and home construction brands are turning to video chat to connect with customers from their homes or onsite at a job, to deliver tailored digital experiences. Frette, an Italian luxury linens and home furnishings company, recently launched their Virtual Styling Studio, a new service providing clients the opportunity to work with a team of specialists who can assist with any home decor inquiries over their preferred method of communication, including video chat. The specialists work one-to-one to provide complimentary assistance and offer personalized and professional interior home advice.

While Lowe’s, an American retail company specializing in home improvement, launched Lowe’s for Pros Jobsight, an augmented video chat service for professionals to livestream with consumers and offer direct guides into home repairs and help troubleshoot while social distancing is mandatory.

Jewelry customization and consultation

Brand consultants are helping customers choose and learn more about their products through video chat. Stores are offering virtual consultants to discuss specific styles, diamond shapes, and gemstone qualities – even to help out with choosing the right engagement ring. Canadian Direct-to-Consumer fine jewelry brand, Mejuri, uses services Facetime or Google Meets to video chat with customers to showcase products on their own or modelling it themselves. This gives customers a chance to see what the piece would look like in-person. Austrian luxury brand Swarovski recently offered live video chat in their Australian stores to instantly connect customers with their sales associates through their brand’s website to help with customer inquiries and offer suggestions. 

Providing high-touch personalized customer service across all retail channels gives customers a sense of unity, access, and a more human experience with their brands. People naturally gravitate towards real-time face-to-face interactions and having a digital human conversation with their favourite brand, places added confidence in their buying decisions, helping retailers boost conversion rates, while reducing cart abandonment and return rates. Live video chat offers customers direct interaction with retail associates, while avoiding talking to a chat bot or waiting on hold over the phone. Customers also receive meaningful one-to-one interactions with a human element that they are used to receiving when visiting the physical store.

Before using video chat, retailers should review and explore their customers’ ever-shifting needs. To make the video chat experience rewarding, retailers should look at their customer’s journey to see if video chat is the best fit; choose the right mobile app for your needs ensuring its intuitive and user-friendly for both your store associates and your customers; train your store associates to use the app and share best practices to communicate digitally; and let your customers know that they have the option to video chat with their favourite store.

Investing in live video chat provides customers the opportunity, convenience and options to interact with brands at a quick speed and at their own time. It blends the online and in-store experience while offering more professional advice, exceptional customer service, and more convenience to the everyday shopper.

Speak to a Tulip representative today to learn how video chat can work for your brand.