What are the drawbacks of using a one-way video provider?

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Inspiration to write this article came from my recent experience shopping online for office equipment. As I work Monday to Friday and tend to spend my weekends enjoying hobbies (which isn’t shopping, unfortunately)  video calls is the more convenient option.  

To compare my options I approached a retailer and used their one-way video service.  

Following the call, I reflected on my interaction and decided to share with you thoughts on the drawbacks of a one-way provider, from a customer perspective. 

1. More like a phone call rather than a video call 

When you market a product as live video shopping, you would expect to see some human faces. It was not the case in my interaction. I took the call from my laptop and for much of the call, I was staring at a blank screen. 

There were no visuals on the products and no item specifications to support what the sales associate was talking about.

What Confer With does different 

  • Confer With is a two-way video platform meaning both the expert and customer can see each other. However, customers have the option to disable their camera if they do not want to be seen. 
  • With all our clients, the experts will have their cameras enabled. 

I searched the products myself 

Typically with one-way video solutions, there is little to no software integration with an eCommerce engine. For the expert, they will not have access to product inventory inside the call, for customers, they cannot view products on the screen. 

What does that mean? For every product that was recommended, I had to search on the website myself. Luckily, I was on my laptop, however, if I was using a mobile device, the experience would have been more disruptive. 

What Confer With does different 

  • Confer With’s search feature allows experts to search for any product using the name or skew number.  
  • This means the customer does not have to search for the product themselves, instead, experts can share any product in question without disrupting the call. 

No product marketing assets 

The drawback of not integrating with an eCommerce engine is the lack of product assets you have to support the call. During my call, there was no opportunity to share images, product specifications or videos to support what was being sold to me.  

And unless I searched for it myself, I would continue to stare at a blank screen, which from a visual merchandising perspective, is not ideal. 

What Confer With does different  

Connecting to the eCommerce engine allows experts to share product images, video demos and product specifications with shoppers.  

Due to our values of bridging the gap by using video, experts will always be able to showcase relevant items on camera to immerse the customer further. 

No add to basket feature (hard to keep track of) 

Three items were suggested to me and the process looked a little like this: I was given the product number, I opened a new tab and searched for it. Then another product was recommended to me so using that same tab I searched for another.  

This sluggish approach meant I lost track of what I was previously looking at, making it is hard to compare alternatives.  

Looking back, I could have added it into the basket myself, but during the call, I was not prompted and if I was on a mobile device would be an extra barrier for me to overcome. 

Meanwhile, today’s online shoppers are expecting frictionless shopping experiences.

What Confer With does different 

The virtual shared basket feature is patent-pending, meaning no other live video provider utilises this piece of technology. It allows both the expert and customer to add items to a basket, inside the call.  

With a clear call to action, it is simple to complete from the customer side. Otherwise, the expert can offer to add items to the basket (as they would in-store). 

Final thoughts 

Live video shopping enhances the online shopping experience where retailers infinitely are closer to the customers they are engaging with. Yet, reflecting on my recent experience with a one-way video provider, I was left underwhelmed. 

Customers are reaching out to live experts to gain as much knowledge as possible to make informed decisions, but in my case when I ended the call, I was not in a position to do so. 

Additional Resources:

Hughes Case Study – How we doubled the conversion of their previous one-way video provider 

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