In 2021, many retailers put extra resources into building up their virtual selling platform. Vee24 has been proud to partner with many companies to deploy technology that made the online customer experience seamless and captured growing ecommerce revenue from consumers that are more motivated than ever to shop online. We bring considerable expertise to the table when it comes to making virtual selling easier and more profitable, and we continue building our knowledge base as we work in the trenches of online retail with our clients. We saw that 2021 was an exciting and transformational year for online retail, and our dedicated client success team took away some key learnings in working with our clients. Here are some interesting points to consider for any retailer contemplating how to take virtual selling to the next level:
1. Customer education during product discovery leads to sales, customer satisfaction, and lifetime value
Many shoppers start online when they are researching a purchase as they are looking to secure some basic information on a product or service. Retailers need to provide these shoppers with an experience that answers all their questions and builds confidence in their buying decisions. Many online retailers do a great job with payment processing online but have a hard time making product discovery easy. This presents an opportunity to accelerate the customer buying journey by improving the product discovery experience.
What we’ve found through working with our clients is that retailers need to build a unique brand experience online. Retailers can establish a trusting relationship with online customers by providing personalized, live, expert assistance to highlight every nuance of a product. Establishing this trust will allow the brand’s product experts to guide online shoppers from research right through to sales completion.
Live experts can respond immediately to specific concerns a shopper has, including:
- Which shade works best on my skin?
- Will this customization take a long time to deliver?
- Do I need a product guarantee if I plan to use it in this way?
Shoppers can cycle through dozens of questions when they are trying to make a buying decision, especially for high-value or personal purchases. Online retailers need to be prepared to respond so that the shopper can build enough confidence to spend their hard-earned money.
2. Person-to-person video consultations consistently score higher CSAT
A memorable person-to-person experience that helps customers arrive at a buying decision leads to higher customer satisfaction ratings. In-store retailers provide this experience through knowledgeable sales staff who can show off a product to the customer and answer questions on the fly. The same can be true for online retailers who use person-to-person video consultations. Speaking with a customer via video outperforms live phone sales because agents can show that they are listening, engaging customers with their eyes, facial expressions, and body language. They can use high-definition video to give the customer a detailed look at a product, whether it’s showing the sparkle of a diamond or the quality of the upholstery on a new loveseat. Personalized, immersive video chat engagement is one of the ways retailers can replicate in-store shopping online. This kind of individual service and handholding can result in a 5x greater conversion rate than self-service does. Just see the results from our clients such as DFS.
3. Customers are more ready to purchase during on-demand personalized consultations than you think
One of the most surprising things we learned with our clients over the last year is the importance of spontaneous customers who visit their online shop. We have focused on those customers who come to an online retailer and set up an appointment to meet with a sales agent to explore a possible purchase. That being said, not all shoppers are so methodical. Some consumers will come looking for instant sales support when they are curious about a product.
We initially thought that customers who make appointments for service ahead of time are more qualified leads and are more likely to close a sale and spend more. To our surprise, spontaneous customers have the same or better AOV than customers who make appointments ahead of time. Spontaneous customers are as valuable as appointment customers, and online retailers need to allot equal resources to support these ad hoc shoppers as they do for book-ahead shoppers in order to reap the benefit of these sales.
It is important for retailers to get in front of customers online, capture their attention, and show them that virtual shopping can be as immersive and satisfying as shopping in-store. Creating a virtual experience that is personalized and engaging is doable. If you aren’t creating a personalized experience to engage with your customers, your competitors will!
For more, watch the CommerceNext webinar Reimagining Ecommerce: Solving Considered Purchases Sales Problem