R is for Retailers and Real-Time Communication

R is for Retailers and Real-Time Communication

You can generally categorise shoppers into two types. The first type is averse to shopping, who shuns any kind of direct human interaction. He or she (usually a he) wants to make their purchase as quickly as possible, on their own terms, and in the easiest manner.  The preference of this person is to shop online, loving the speed and ease of e-commerce. With a tablet in hand, they can shop anywhere and anytime they choose – without being bothered by a pesky sales assistant and avoiding a sales push.

The second type of shopper is totally the opposite. Usually a she, they love the thrill of making a purchase and actively seek out help and advice, preferring to buy in store than online. For this person, the web is lacking that human touch. Sure, it’s convenient. But it can’t provide the crucial personal interaction that you get from making a purchase directly from a retail or travel store.

However, while some of us still love the high-street – where there is more opportunity to try before you buy – the internet shopping experience is changing, with more social elements supporting greater personal interaction online.   So while yesterday you couldn’t necessarily connect with a shop assistant while purchasing form the web, today you can, all thanks to webRTC!

WebRTC is a new technology that is bringing one-click, real-time, two-way communication to the browser – whether on web or through a mobile app! Without leaving a page, a customer can quickly connect to a contact centre agent exactly when they want, creating a seamless experience – either while they are initially perusing, during product discovery, while making the purchase or for post-purchase support.  

For example, e-retailers can now create a simple one-to-one video conferencing option, as well as voice and chat sessions, or the ability to content share if you are trouble shooting an issue online. In other words, online sales assistants can talk directly to shoppers via the method the shopper chooses, via a Chrome, Opera or Firefox web page or app. 

Because of this, WebRTC is becoming hugely interesting for many businesses. There are endless opportunities to enhance interaction, but its power to change retail is immediate and obvious.  As a customer, if you want to understand more about a product, or check stock availability, with just one click you can be speaking to someone without the pain of ringing a number and being put in a queue. Put simply, webRTC can transfer the personal touch of the high street to the world of e-commerce.

Some innovative brands are already experimenting with types of webRTC. For example, we are seeing brands develop functionality inside apps and as part of their online presence, where you can receive a VIP shopping experience to help you shop online. The web-based 'Toy Genius' store in the US, for example, has developed a feature inside its mobile app that will let shoppers talk to a “Toy Tech” who helps them choose and check out items. When gift shopping, retailers can even advise on gift-wrapping and the writing of a personalised note, then handle all the shipping details.  How easy is that! 

Understandably, luxury good retailers are watching carefully. On the high street, these brands are defined by their customer service: you wouldn’t expect to buy a $2,000 handbag without talking to an expert first.  Now these retailers can transfer this personal dimension and VIP services online via web and mobile. 

Certainly, fans of luxury brands appear ready for these richer interactions. Fashion designers are already dipping their toes in, by using tools that marry video with social and shopping. Diane von Furstenburg, for example, is one of many to use ‘Shoppable Hangouts’ from Google. Shoppers can watch live video interviews, ask questions, see the most recent collection and buy items instantly.  With WebRTC, it would be easy to set up these kinds of collective shopping sessions on any web page.

Another group that can benefit greatly from webRTC comprises those you call consultants. Accountants, estate agents, lawyers and so on have traditionally done business face-to-face from physical locations. While many have built websites, their online destinations tend to be for information only. With the addition of webRTC, they can support video conversations, and thereby move actual business online. 

These ideas all help to drive business. But what about when things go wrong? Well, here’s another area in which WebRTC can excel. 

It’s estimated that up to 70 per cent of consumers abandon their online shopping carts during checkout (according to the Baymard Institute). Surely many of these failed purchases would complete if a question could have answered immediately. 

At present, the options to resolve problems are interruptive and frustrating for online customers. They need to break off from their browsing session to make a call or send an email. And then they have to explain in detail the nature of the issue, and wait for a response. Online chat can be a better option, but it too is time consuming (all that typing) and still impersonal (all those stock pre-loaded phrases…). And these options can be inadequate for the retailer too. They need to be joined up, but often aren’t. So you end up with a customer calling to say: “I’m ringing about the email I wrote last week about the tweet I sent after the online chat.” 

WebRTC can tame all these issues. In one click a customer can open up a video call, and talk to a human face. Better still, they can show the advisor the product or the area of the site they have a question about. 

Of course, for any business, adding WebRTC services does require some support. Systems need to be secure, integrated with other functions and tools, recordable and so on. But there are plenty of firms, like Acision, around to help with this.

So think about webRTC could do for your business and sales!

To find out more about our webRTC technology, please visit forge.acision.com