What does Smart Video offer for the future of retail?

‘Life under lockdown’, as it is often referred to, has shifted our daily interactions into the digital realm. The pandemic has highlighted how adaptable societies can really be; with ongoing shifts in behaviour and digital-infused collaborations set to define the ‘new normal’ of how we communicate. With businesses slowly beginning to re-open, the combination across physical and online will continue to work together to help people return safely to their pre-lockdown lives.

Despite online shopping results enjoying a 12-year high, the fact remains that nothing can replace human contact completely. It is an integral component of many interactions, and the question remains: how can businesses replicate this success while keeping their customers safe and happy?

Recent research has shown that over half of consumers dislike contacting companies over the phone because they cannot speak to a real person straight away – indicating a strong desire for the human element in customer interactions.

Some research has shown the emergence of video usages, starting with simple video calls with your friends and family but as well for work and for some interaction with your preferred brands. All while operating digitally, retailers can enhance their customer experience by using Smart Video interaction, creating a more humanised experience. What do Smart Video interactions mean for the future of retail?

What is ‘Smart Video’ and what does it bring to the customer experience?

Smart Video offers a combination of human and digital contact. It not only offers the ability to speak with a real human but also additional features to support the customer. For example, the embedded functions on the Smart Video interaction may run customers through different purchasing options on-screen or bring up previous correspondence between a customer and a retailer, making interactions seamless.

By being able to embed additional information into the video call, the consumer sees the contextual information, which builds confidence in the interaction. We have seen other entities such as insurers use this form of visualisation to assist with explaining complex, specific, or optional guarantees of your insurance product.

For the retail sector, it could be used as a smart mirror to help you choose the right clothes and advise you about the latest fashion. It can be used as well in a big retail store or in a mall to locate and guide you to find the goods you are looking for. We have done it already for big railway stations to help the customers to find the “boutiques” or the right lane for their train.

Why are Smart Video interactions the customer service of the future?

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a large alteration in how we live our lives, including many of the social interactions we experience. With many areas still under lockdown, businesses and consumers are seeking ways to get back to some form of normality. With shops and offices expected to re-open with much smaller capacity due to social distancing measures, Smart Video offers an important alternative.

It is important to remember that Smart Video interactions are still all about human-to-human interaction – real people and not just limited to AI-enabled bots, whose conversations can be enriched by the capacity to share and manipulate information, for example by touching the screen, and signing documents/offers on the screen. This combination of human and digital interaction brings a level of confidence in the service being provided.

As Smart Video offers human-to-human interaction, using real people, conversations can be enhanced by the capacity to share information, while the human touch is not forgotten either. An example of this is customers can touch the screen to sign documents or click through different options. The combination of offering both human and digital interaction is effortless and inspires confidence and safely satisfies the human-element many people have missed in their customer experiences.

What 5G means for the Smart Video experience?

If you have heard anything about the promise of 5G – then it is most likely to be related to the connectivity speed it offers. As 5G will be 10-times faster than 4G, customers will be able to engage with businesses in real-time, in any mobile situation and with very high quality.

5G also enables a much better quality of communication as you would no longer be waiting for lag times. The offering of embedding tools within the chat – such as tools to evaluate the sentiment – gives communication an extra layer of personalisation allowing for a better customer experience. With consumers already showing that they are willing and able to use digital tools, organisations that are quick to adopt 5G-WiFi enabled video can differentiate their customer service from competitors.

Conclusion

The use cases we are seeing, such as telemedicine, guidance service or insurance – as mentioned above, are providing an excellent quasi-digital-physical experience, allowing consumers to have the personalised ‘human’ experience while also staying safe. The widespread introduction of 5G will bring with it a new class of customer experience, by providing a lag-free, streamlined, and informative form of human interaction that customers desire.

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