Now that video in eCommerce is possible at scale, what are the strategic possibilities in the pursuit of greater conversion and revenue? This article discusses some early lessons we can take from live stream video shopping – and the implications for eCommerce and Retail Strategy.
Turning our attention to Video shopping strategy, what is the purpose of Video Shopping? Where does it fit into eCommerce and retail strategies? There are several answers to this and they are centred on outcomes. It could be any of customer engagement, customer satisfaction, average order value, conversion rates, lifetime value. Confer With was designed to try and solve the problem of conversion. If we assume a website conversion rate hovers somewhere between 1% and 5%, the goal of Confer With is to try and impact that conversion aggressively. We want the rate to be firmly in the double digits, ideally north of 25%. Above an inbound call centre, getting closer to a retail (face to face) conversion rate. It has taken retail techniques and tried to apply them to online, with a good solid base in tech.
There are several byproducts of a great conversion rate of course… when you convert well, you have the luxury of attempting to impact average order value by suggesting more products to buy. This increases lifetime value. The human interaction has a huge impact on the customer experience – people actually get what they want, fast. Customers are satisfied, which is of course a big precursor to conversion in the first place.
Confer With embeds itself in the process of setting up live video streams between a shopper and a retail expert, whereby 4 things happen:
- Matching – the shopper with the right expertise to meet their needs
- Engaging – establish a human connection (over video call), where needs can be understood and responded to instantly
- Immersion – integrate into an ecommerce platform, where the essential elements of a product can be demonstrated (trying to replicate touch and feel)
- Convert – making it easy to purchase, within the video call.
Having built a platform that does all of this, watching it in use, and in particular viewing the customer experience: there is an opportunity now to take a step back, breathe and think about what all this might mean.
Lesson 1: Websites are self service
Websites convert so badly because they are self service tools. It’s the equivalent of a self service restaurant. You’ll get fed, the food might be good – but it’s not a great experience when compared to a full service restaurant. You have to decide for yourself what the best tasting dish is, you might get it wrong and eat badly. You have to hope the food has been labelled well, so things like food allergies are covered off.
Everything is (or should be) at your fingertips, like a website, but you might miss something. Higher value dishes simply don’t get sold, so it makes no financial sense to keep the quality of product too pricey. The merchandising strategy therefore has the potential to undersell your product.
Lesson 2: One to one video shopping is much closer to full service
Continuing the analogy, the opportunity for a one to one conversation with a waiter about the menu, where they suggest great dishes, considering your food preferences, allergies – is a much better experience. A great, well trained waiter will also suggest great starters, sides and deserts to suit your preferences. Then there is the wine list….. All of these are additions or cross sells. This of course happens in retail and video shopping too. A great retail expert will sell you a core product and suggest all sorts of additions.
This full service experience inevitably leads to a higher conversion rate – primarily because the retail sales expert (and our analogous full service waiter) can listen to your needs, read your reactions and give you what you want. The shopper doesn’t have to go searching for it – there is a human being attending to those needs.
Lesson 3: One to many livestream video shopping is a unique & highly engaging advertising channel
The area of video shopping strategy that is getting the most traction is on one to many video shopping. If a website is self service, and a one to one video shopping is full service: how does one to many video shopping fit into it all?
One to many has several unique selling points to it:
- One to many video shopping has scale: you could have 2 to 2 million customers on a livestream – making things much more efficient
- One to many retains the ability to have a richly engaging experience
- It lacks the human interaction – as there is limited feedback channels
- Limited one to one communication can be counteracted by funnelling shoppers with specific needs to specific”needs” rooms, or off to a one to one conversation
- The Confer With immersion tools can be used to great effect in one to many interactions
With the above points in mind, one to many livestream video – has the ability to talk to shoppers at scale, reducing the reliance on retailers to staff up for every single customer engagement. When you need to get more intimate – particularly for high value or high consideration transactions, you can push to one to one.
Conclusions about video shopping strategy directions
Integrating live video into an eCommerce experience, leveraging retail assets is genuinely transformative. It takes the customer experience from being a self service interaction to being highly engaging experience for shoppers that has the potential to engage at scale, and respond to needs on a one to one basis. With great immersion tools, you can integrate into the eCommerce experience – creating a bridge between retail and eCommerce. Perhaps this is the future of retail. Time and experimentation will tell.
Video shopping strategy is certainly in its early stages, but it is clear that it will grow – because it moves the dial on key performance indicators. There are several different directions it can take. Will it become a service tool? will it be a high value engagement tool? Will it continue to evolve advertising? We think there is one possibility that has potential that has far reaching consequences: it has the possibility to spell the end of the a website as a self service tool, pushing it closer to an interactive retail experience. Shoppers have the possibility to state needs and have those needs responded to instantly. We believe that is a good possibility in the evolution of eCommerce and one that brings in the best parts of retail in a truly omnichannel experience.