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A video epiphany in a car park

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Changes are afoot in the way people shop. The rise of Amazon Dash – well its introduction and inevitable rise – is the one that has hit the headlines (even if, this week at least, it’s perhaps for the wrong reasons), but something else happened in m-retailing this week that could have an equally important impact on how people shop – and it all starts with car parks.

This week UK Airport Car Parks site and app has started to use video not only to show people what its car parks look like, but making that part of the ‘buy button’.

The premise seems simple enough: they have videos of the car parks on the site so you can see what you are dealing with. But what is really clever is that it is fired up by clicking “book by video” on the site. This outlines the car parks covered and you click on it and watch a video of the car park. The clever bit is that you can book from this pop up.

On the face of it this may not seem like rocket science, but I feel that this is the start of something. Video has been woefully underused in retail to date, largely because no one really knows what to do with it. This simple move of using it to enhance the buy button is a stroke of genius.

It is simple but so effective. At the actual point of purchase, the browser can see – and more importantly be personally persuaded – why they should hit that buy button.

For now its being used to book car parks – a prosaic beginning I agree – but soon it will be used for airport lounges, hotels and more. It won’t be long before you start to see this sort of technology coming through in fashion retail and more.

What would be better than to see your shoes in action or be told, by a shop assistant, or the designer, or even the MD how good they are and why you should buy them?

And it is simple to implement today – it doesn’t need any new technology really, just some tweaking of the website and a lot of filming to get the ball rolling. But the returns could be immense.

It is also very suited to the mobile commerce revolution: seeing is easier than reading on a mobile. Millennials and ‘Generation i” are much more into video anyway and so this is going to be driven by both the commercial sense it makes and by the customer.

While Amazon Dash et al seek to disrupt – and disrupt they shall – for everyone else there is going to be enhancements like this that will drive more sales and better user experience. Who’d have thought that such an epiphany would come from a car park?

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