What Is a Virtual Appointment and How Do I Set One Up?

by Confer With

Confer With discuss video shopping, and how to set up a virtual appointment in the retail sector.

Virtual appointments are digital versions of appointments that would otherwise occur in real life. An example might be an appointment with a doctor where you would normally go to the GP’s surgery and sit with the doctor so they discuss your symptoms, but now you may do this process via a camera on your phone or via a computer.

Alternatively, it could be for a more pleasurable experience, such as online shopping. Rather than discussing your needs face to face with a shop assistant, it will be an online consultation with a view to finding the right item for you. We will look at the advantages of this in a moment.

Firstly, where did virtual appointments come from? They were already on a popular trajectory, with the likes of the Babylon App having over four million users in May 2020. However, the pandemic that spread through the world accelerated the take up of people using digital applications instead of real life experiences. From education to therapy, the world had to adapt to a new way of conducting business and providing services. Creating virtual appointments was a big part of this process.

Video shopping in retail

Within online shopping, video appointments have taken on a life of their own. Users can browse a website, find a product they like, hit a button and be connected instantly with a sales assistant, or they can make an appointment to chat with one at a later time.

Taking the sales process online has various advantages, which include:

  • Shoppers can see the product in all its glory rather than a static image.
  • Any customer service issues can be dealt with there and then rather than risking a drop-off at some point during the sales funnel.
  • Sales people can effortlessly upsell to other products or recommend accessories that can be added to the user’s checkout.

How do I set up a virtual appointment?

There are two key components: appointment setting software and the video commence platform itself. 

Appointment setting

Appointment setting software ensures customers can book a time with a virtual shopping assistant. There are many tools available and your choice will be determined by flexibility, simplicity, calendar syncing, the ability to embed the solution into your website, and the ability to integrate into a video commerce platform.

Integrating with a video commerce platform

In some cases, applications such as Zoom and FaceTime will suffice where a simple conversation between two people is required. However, for eCommerce websites who wish to take their service a little further, services such as Confer With provide much needed additional functionality. 

  • You will want to track whether the video call resulted in a transaction, and how much.
  • You will want to make sure the products that are suggested inside the video appointment are shoppable.

Confer With allows the host to add or remove items from checkout or to show different web pages for example, functions that are just not possible on the likes of Zoom or Skype. 

If you are interested in setting it all up, then find out more about setting up virtual appointments.

Business planning

With the technical side of setting up appointments, there are a number of operational elements associated with making it a success. Virtual appointments are an opportunity to improve conversion and average order value, but it does take some work to get it right. For example:

  • Team: Who takes the virtual appointments?
  • People: What training is required of the teams undertaking virtual appointments?
  • Process: Improving the performance of those teams.
  • Dealing with scale.

Focusing on the operational factors of video commerce gives you an opportunity to create an additional route to market for people who need some direct reassurance of their purchases, but cannot come in store for a direct consultation.