The revolution over the last twenty years has been the advent of online shopping and how broadly it has been adopted around the world. Online shopping accounted for 31.2% of all retail in June 2020 (1), and as we settle into a different way of life, that number is likely to increase. Those that had not got into the online habit before the pandemic crisis, will certainly have done so by now.
One of the biggest concerns from the retailers perspective of selling online has been how to protect their brand. Many luxury brands have been very reluctant to move online and are still only now waking up to the opportunities that it provides. LVMH only went live with their shopping portal in 2017, having previously embarked on a fragmented approach across marketplaces and single brand sites. Marketplaces or multi store websites have been an inviting place for luxury brands, with 78% of purchases coming from them (2), but at what cost? When brands appear on multi store sites, their presence diminishes and the brand identity can be at best hidden and at worst compromised.
Other issues facing luxury websites are affiliate websites and third-party review sites. If luxury brand A sells its products on marketplace site B and that site has an affiliate relationship with website C, then the control of the products on that affiliate website is even further out of a brand manager’s hands. The site can use outdated imagery or provide mis-leading information on a product and this will take time and effort to correct.
Trustpilot and Google Reviews have become part of our shopping experience these days as well. Without face to face interaction, many online shoppers use review websites to act as a ‘convincer’ in order to know they are shopping safely and getting a good deal. Unfortunately, there is little a retailer can do in terms of bad reviews, without paying for the privilege of being able to respond to them.
So how does a luxury, or indeed, any other type of brand regain control of their brand online, whilst embracing this new technology? One solution has definitely arrived in the form of live video shopping. Youtube is currently the second biggest search engine in the world (3), so we already know that users love to watch video online. During Covid-19, the UK and the world learned to embrace face to face meetings on a computer or mobile as well, using the likes of Zoom or Microsoft Teams to interact. Now, take that world to shopping.
Live video shopping services, such as Confer With, allow users to browse your website and click to video call a sales assistant. That assistant can be based in the shop or at an office, anywhere where they can have the product handy. The user can then ask questions about the item, alleviating any fears over things they have read online. The product can be presented in the correct environment, for example, a painting can be seen hanging on a wall or a fashion item on an appropriate mannequin. Once the questions are answered, the user can then click the buy button and purchase as if they were making a normal ecommerce purchase through their phone or laptop. Except, it has not been normal, your sales assistant has been able to convey your brand values via the video call and have perhaps upsold or suggested accompanying purchases. This is what the retail experience is all about and will ensure you stand out from your rivals.
If you are interested in protecting your brand online and regaining control of the shopping experience, please contact us today and we will be happy to give you a live demo of this amazing technology.