RETAILERS CAN NOW ADAPT NEW TECHNOLOGY TOO
Retailers need to adapt new technologies too, like LIVE VIDEO CHAT from a company I found - VIDEO ENGAGER - Online shoppers can live video chat with salespeople in your store, they can show products to the consumer, take them on a showroom tour, help them purchase and so much more.. .
Some background on Live Chat.
We are all familiar with video calls over the Internet using tools like Skype, Facetime, or Hangouts. Those tools are great for video calls with your friends and associates, but they can’t help you talk live to the customers in your store, from their home, who are looking merchandise on your web site right now.
That’s where tools like VideoEngager come in.
With VideoEngager installed on your web site, a customer who is browsing merchandise on your site can instantly launch a live video call with your in-store sales staff! The sales staff receives the video call on their Smartphone's or on tablets if you prefer.
The staff can answer all of the customer’s questions, build a face-to-face relationship, use their Smartphone camera to show the customer actual merchandise in the store, and also screen share with the customer to show them other options and even a store/showroom tour. The consumer can do all this right from their browser session without having to register, log-in, or install an app.
That’s where tools like VideoEngager come in.
With VideoEngager installed on your web site, a customer who is browsing merchandise on your site can instantly launch a live video call with your in-store sales staff! The sales staff receives the video call on their Smartphone's or on tablets if you prefer. The staff can answer all of the customer’s questions, build a face-to-face relationship, use their Smartphone camera to show the customer actual merchandise in the store, and also screen share with the customer to show them other options and even a store/showroom tour. The consumer can do all this right
from their browser session without having to register, log-in, or install an app.
What I really like about VideoEngager's Video Chat is that it also helps you monopolize the consumer’s time and attention. A consumer browsing your site is usually planning to visit your site and three competitors. When you engage that consumer in an immediate video visit, he or she ends up spending all their time talking to your staff and looking at your furniture, which uses up the time they had allocated for browsing
And for all of you manufacturer brands, think "market" and how your sales reps can do a
showroom walk through with customers that couldn't make it to market?
Here's what their customer www.hootjudkins.com says about VideoEngager
VideoEngager “allows consumers browsing a merchant’s website to instantly launch a live video call to sale representative on the floor,” said Mike Robison, chief commercial officer for the company.
The salesperson, in turn, can start building that face-to-face relationship and use the camera on a smartphone or tablet to show merchandise.
The technology also enables the retailer to flip calls to a computer screen, where it can continue the call while screen sharing, should the salesperson need to go through custom or finance options, for instance “That consumer is at home in her slippers. (She) was not planning to visit your store today,” Robinson said. “She was going to cruise your website and five competitors.
“But when she got to your website, you reached out through the Internet and pulled her into your store for a video visit. It’s exactly like somebody just walked into the store, except you’re doing it over video call with someone browsing your site.”
The video chat is a simple-to-install widget on a retailer’s website, Robinson said. Stores can deploy it as a button that shows up somewhere in the retailer’s banner at the top of the homepage with “Video chat now,” or any other message the company wants to convey. The button also can show up on every product page, perhaps with a “See this live now” message.
And just like with other Web chat technology, VideoEngager enables the retailer to indicate whether or not the store is open for chat. When it’s not, it can gather customer information, if the visitor is willing, as well as schedule a chat for another time.
The company first introduced the tool to the furniture industry with a visit to the Las Vegas Market in January and found customers immediately “because everybody gets it,” Robinson said.
“If my sales reps can spend less time sitting around waiting for somebody to come in and more time face to face with the consumer, hallelujah,” he said.
“And if I can claw some market share back from pure online retailers because people are on my websites and I give them something better, that’s great too.”
The cost to a retailer for an initial package is $100 per month. That includes unlimited video calls and what Robinson called “one seat,” or one sales representative set up to take the calls. Additional reps can be added for $50 a head, and the company will offer discounts for stores looking to set up more than just a handful of salespeople, Robinson said.
During next month’s High Point Market, VideoEngager plans to be showing in Ashley’s showroom (IHFC H-900) and possibly the Home Furnishings Assn.’s Retailer Resource Center.
At Hoot Judkins, known for its offering of “real wood” and eco-friendly furnishings, Watson thought the new video chat would lead to a lot of calls from young consumers, and he was a little concerned, “because young people don’t always spend a lot on furniture,” he said.
Instead, most of the calls have been from consumers in their 30s to 50s, he said. The store is averaging about 3-4 video calls a day without advertising beyond the website banner button.
“It’s not a whole lot different than a telephone call. However, it’s our ability to show them something from the website (in the store) that’s so much better,” Watson said, adding that even consumers on the calls are commenting about how cool the technology is.
Owned by Watson and his sister Victoria Marchant, Hoot Judkins is e-commerce enabled, but Watson said his focus has always been on driving traffic to the store, and “without a doubt,” the video chat is driving sales and traffic, he said.
“A couple of customers did call and then proceed to buy online, but more people come into the stores after having had a call,” he said.
Robinson said four retailers have deployed VideoEngager since January and about eight more are in the pipeline and will launch soon.
Hoot Judkins has been using VideoEngager on a free trial basis, but Watson said it wouldn’t be a high cost investment for the store, anyway, noting “it’s all cloud-based, and I didn’t have to go out and buy a lot of equipment.”
“It’s beneficial to any retailer,” he said. “The ability to add a new form of engagement that is much more personal than a telephone call is really what it boils down to.”
TECHNOLOGY IS NOT A FAD...ADAPT TO IT OUR QUICKLY BECOME IRRELEVANT !!!
About Bill Napier
Bill Napier is Managing Partner of Napier Marketing Group. He has been the chief marketing officer of several small, medium and large companies throughout his career, most notably Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. Many in the home furnishings industry call him an industry serial disruptor. "His thought provoking blog will challenge conventional wisdom, look under the industry’s hood and seek to uncover the critical clues to improving its performance". Bill is also a featured writer and speaker in the retail industry. His vast understanding of the issues retailers and brands face to compete in the digital arena, coupled with his humorous interpretation of his knowledge of trends, facts and solutions for helping companies compete, makes for an engaging and informative session for every brand or retailer that attends his sessions. His passion is to help retail brands & brick mortar retailers grow their business by creating, guiding and deploying successful marketing B2B/B2C solutions integrating traditional marketing with the web/social media. You can see his passion for this at his FREE marketing information website;