Are you planning to set up virtual appointments retail website? Virtual appointments are a viable solution for engaging customers who would normally visit a retail store, but can’t because of social distancing guidelines. For more detail on the business case and why this is an important thing to be doing, visit our explainer on why virtual appointments are necessary.
This article talks through how you go about setting up virtual appointments on your website. On the surface of it all – it seems simple to be setting up virtual appointments, but with all things, there are nuances involved.
Technical considerations for a virtual appointments
There are 3 key technical components to a virtual appointment:
- Setting the appointment
- Fulfilling the appointment remotely
- Tracking the effectiveness of virtual appointments
Let’s consider these one by one.
1. Appointment software for virtual appointments
The scheduling element of a virtual appointment on your retail website is executed using simple appointment software. There are a myriad of options out there, so you are spoiled for choice, but there are some key components to consider when choosing appointment tools:
- Flexibility – Once you have laid plans, you are likely to want to do things like ask questions to qualify the appointment, you are going to want to be able brand the experience and change he look and feel. Flexibility of your appointment software is therefore key
- Simplicity – sometimes a flexible system isn’t that simple, but a simple system is designed perfectly around your use case. If you can find a simple solution that meets your use case, somethimes this is the way to go. The key theme here is balance
- Calendar syncing – will the appointments sync with the calendars like outlook, google calendar et al? Making sure that the appointment system talks to your calendar system is going to be very helpful, especially when
- Embed-ability – can the software embed into your website – so you can have a clear, seamless experience
- Clienteling tools – its one thing making an appointment, but can you recognise existing customers, purchase or browsing history?
- Ability to integrate – perhaps the most important factor is the ability of the scheduling system to talk to other systems. This enhances the flexibility of the system and ensures your other tech investments do not go to waste. Often a good integration enhances the customer experience
2. Fulfilling the appointment remotely via video shopping
Once the appointment has been made, you need to consider how the appointment can be fulfilled. There are three ways to fulfil a remote appointment: chat, voice and video. Video is by far the richest experience and has the greatest opportunity for improvement in conversion, average order value and customer satisfaction.
We have written an extensive article about what to consider when choosing a video commerce provider, which is well worth a read.
The Confer With platform itself integrates well with scheduling systems and appointment software. It creates a seamless branding environment and importantly, it integrates with e-commerce platforms. This has the benefit for closing the customer experience loop.
When engaging with a customer on a scheduled video call, Confer With can empower your team to:
- Immerse a customer in a product experience by allowing your team to share images, videos, specifications of products in your core inventory
- Continue that immersion experience by recommending upswell and Cross sell options, directly from your recommendation engine
- Collaborate with customers over a shared virtual basket
Pure video only services lack these features which means you will be leaving customer satisfaction, conversion and average order value growth in the table.
3. Tracking the effectiveness of your virtual appointment on your website
In the mad rush to get everything up and running, it’s common to miss the tracking of it all. Inevitably, once you launch your virtual consultation services, someone in a management is going to ask: how is it performing? You will be wanting to report on a number of KPIs:
- Number of appointments made
- Number of successfully connected calls
- Length of calls
- Products demonstrated
- Products added to basket
- Products purchased
Once you have these core basic metrics, there are a number of calculated metrics you can derive from the above. The most important metric for the business will be revenue generated and the most important metrics needed to improve revenue generated will be conversion rates and micro conversion rates.
For us, reporting is so important, as inevitably the first attempts at virtual appointments on your retail website will always require improvement. Effective measurement shows you where that improvement needs to come from.
Talk to Confer With to integrate into your appointment system
If you are considering setting up virtual appointments on your retail website – Confer With Integrates well into virtual appointment systems and gives a great customer experience that converts sales when the customer connects with their personal shopper