It is no secret that COVID-19 has disrupted the retail sector and has pushed every business to reinvent its online strategy. Customer buying habits have shifted, and are more curious about trying new brands and products whilst receiving a hyper-personalised experience. However, current technology restricts a fully immersive experience for online customers and lacks the all-important human touch.
What will be covered
- The current climate.
- Bringing consumers into the buying journey.
- Utilising online to offline strategies.
- Providing a solution to social distancing.
- Engaging with customers in meaningful ways.
- Creating jobs.
The current climate
It is fair to say we are all itching to return to a state of normality that includes visiting a store that is not your local supermarket or garden nursery. However, the long-term effects of the pandemic are evident now. McKinsey highlighted in their global survey that consumers will shop less frequently in physical stores for items other than groceries. Furthermore, a recent UK survey showed that two in five people will continue to purchase goods online than in-store when shops reopen.
The changes in shopping behaviour are keeping the retail industry on its toes but, by adapting to the current situation, video commerce can elevate barriers and humanise the online shopping experience.
Bringing consumers into the buying journey
Bringing consumers into the buying journey without a physical presence is hard. Research by Retail Drive found shoppers much preferred the ability to see, touch, feel, and try out items than shopping online; combining that with the subsequent psychological boost physical shoppers feel creates a very steep mountain for eCommerce retailers to climb.
Video commerce uses revolutionary technology to make video shoppable. It closely replicates the social experiences that people once experienced in-store. It enables retail teams to demonstrate their entire portfolio using audio, video, and imagery to convey storytelling and build trust, which are key components to bringing customers into the buying journey.
Utilising online to offline strategies
Retailers that fail to adapt to the changing landscape will most likely fall behind. Any retail business must reinvent its online strategies to ensure they are available at every sales channel. O2O (online to offline) strategies are gaining traction across several industries, especially in China. It enables retailers to capture data online and encourage offline spend while tailoring the purchasing journey to their needs.
Video commerce can create buzz around the brand, and encourage shoppers to attend a mixture of online and offline events. It allows businesses to get creative with video and the flexibility to scale such events to a large audience.
Providing a solution to social distancing
At the time of writing, social distancing rules remain in place and will gradually ease until 21 June 2021, which is subject to change depending on data. Nevertheless, there will be large consumer groups who will seek to prioritise health over pleasure and avoid large crowds.
By embracing digital change with video commerce, you can offer a safe alternative to your audience and welcome an inclusive environment. Video commerce can overcome physical restrictions such as mobility, location, and cost, and instead deliver accessible technology to everyone’s smartphones, PC or tablet.
Following the dramatic changes COVID-19 brought upon the marketing and consumer landscape, Janet Balis wrote for the Harvard Business Review on the 10 Truths About Marketing After The Pandemic. Specifically, one old truth is “customers hope you have what they want”. However, as the title says, that is old news.
Now customers expect you to have exactly what they want. Customers expect any experiences to be frictionless, anticipatory, relevant, and connected. Using data allows a business to create more relevant experiences, including those on eCommerce.
Video commerce replicates the in-store experiences where real relationships can be developed. Needs are properly understood, and expectations are reached. Confer With uses a virtual shared basket, creating transparency and immersion, which usually is not possible on generic eCommerce sites. Live video shopping is the ideal omnichannel marketing solution with one very important result – it treats your consumers like people, not numbers.
Engaging with customers in meaningful ways
One reoccurring pain point from executives is how a business can engage with consumers online in meaningful ways. Ecommerce is becoming increasingly competitive, and more customers are relying on such tools to make high consideration purchases.
Expectations of receiving a high-standard service have transferred to online retail with customers expecting a tailored webpage, frictionless sales journey, and excellent customer service. Therefore, wrapping your eCommerce store with video commerce allows you to address these key points by placing your expert at the forefront of their browsing journey.
Finally – it creates jobs. One word we are all fed up with reading is “uncertainty”. But it is true and strikes a sombre tone across the retail industry, which is witnessing a number of permanent store closures.
However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. By introducing an entirely new omnichannel solution in delivering exceptional customer service online requires an empowered team of people. If retailers were to utilise video commerce within their strategy, it can create jobs and financial security. Many online retailers generate millions of traffic each month meaning there is potential for a great deal of people power to answer the growing demand in online shopping.