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GUEST COMMENT Video Commerce: A Future of Retail worth pursuing?

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It’s an exciting time for retail. Sure it’s taken a beating in the last 18 months, but it also represents an opportunity for positive change. Video Commerce is one such area where there is rapid change. Video commerce is humanising the online shopping experience and empowering retail teams with innovative selling tools. It achieves this by replicating in-store experiences and opens a digital dialogue between the remote customer and a retailer. Store associates can use video technology to immerse their customers in the virtual experience. They show shoppable products, virtual checkouts and alternatives, as you would in a store. It’s an incredibly exciting time for both the retailer and customer where they are well equipped to sell and purchase in confidence.

What is video commerce?

To put it simply, video commerce is using video as a sales channel for online shopping. The generic format of video commerce is a retailer or customer will initiate a call via Zoom, Google Meet or similar software. Calls can start in real-time via a widget placed on the website. Otherwise, retailers can choose to have greater control over the customer journey. This is achieved by integrating appointment booking software.

Two subsets of video commerce are about volume of audience: one to many and one to one. Each has its pros and cons and appeals to different sectors. 

One to many 

The infotainment of video commerce. Think your QVC and Ideal World. Low ticket items combined with high traffic volumes creates a highly successful tactic for the clothing and beauty sectors, but also creating demand for the high ticket items. The attention is on an influencer hosting, so expect charismatic characters who know how to play to the camera. Shoppers can communicate with the host in the chat section and show their love and appreciation. One to many bonds to the growing trend in social commerce. Customers can engage, like and share pushing the popularity of the stream higher. It’s already being achieved on Amazon Live but has served as a great platform for small business owners too.

One to one

One-to-many has limited scope in understanding the needs of customers. One to one is where brands step back from infotainment and focus on delivering a VIP service to the customer. Inside the call, experts can identify needs and present suggestions. Building on data and insights, each call that’s made becomes more personalised. This works incredibly well for high ticket items including luxury, consumer electronics and furniture. 

What types of needs are identified in video calls?

  • The category needs: initial interest in a product category but needs assistance in exploring options
  • Product needs: shoppers have the specific product in mind, but need clarifying 
  • Product attribute needs: customers have specific questions around one or two parts of the product – like sizing (ie does it fit).

Video commerce helps align business goals, powers conversions and improves average order value. But it achieves something greater. The holistic approach to shopping empowers customers to make decisions and trust the brand.

Connecting ecommerce with video

In its infancy, video selling flourished with Zoom and other video software. But as the dust settles, innovative tech has started to ramp up the experience. Early stage video commerce served as the catalyst for a connected video commerce experience. 

Technology upgrade to immersive retail:

Connected video commerce attaches to an eeommerce store using headless commerce. This is where the video call connects directly with an ecommerce engine. It makes every product inside the video shoppable, in addition to the retail expert having access to the entire ecommerce inventory. The call becomes a natural conversation as it would happen in-store. The expert can demonstrate and display products which is then superimposed on the customer’s device. 

Tracking of activity for insight

By connecting into the ecommerce engine unlocks new potential too. Brands can track activity for future insight. For example, how many shoppable products were shown to the customer? Did the customer add items to the check out? To identify these key attributes which lead or do not lead to conversion indeed will help support retailers to adapt. As it is a relatively new concept, tracking is paramount to efficiently identify what works and what doesn’t.

How it empowers an entirely new workforce and the customer

Phygital experiences 

Coined by our friends at McKinsey, the concept of Phygital offers a blended retail experience that takes the best aspects from either channel. Consumer behaviour has permanently changed, placing priority on convenience, speed and immersion; all sweet spots easily attained from ecommerce. Combine that with the VIP service that is easily attained in-store and phygital will sustain retailers for the upcoming years. This approach to selling equips in-store teams to form close bonds with customers online and offline. The demand for it is subtle now, but within the next 10 years, retailers will need to have a strong placement in digital technology.


For high ticket customers with complex needs, the customer journey must be nurtured. Connected video commerce can enable retailers to manage the entire journey both online and offline. Each time, a returning customer can be connected to an elected expert. Back when high-street retail reigned, customers would visit in-store and would know the Sales Associates on a first-name basis. Knowing when they would need a replacement, or the next upgrade, they would deliver. Video commerce achieves the same heights, backed by valuable insights and data.


Data-driven marketing has supported targeted campaigns and personalised customer experiences. The titans at this are of course Amazon. Every profile’s homepage is different, each with relevant suggestions and cross-sell alternatives to push sales. However, can another opportunity be created with video commerce? Opening digital dialogue can empower the expert to curate an experience unique to the customer. It’s here where in-store interactions can be replicated. Guiding customers through a catalogue of products and recommendations can lead to a seamless experience. 

Tracking Sales

Quick to market solutions like Zoom were a viable solution. The downfall is they offer limited data and bespoke reporting. Connected video commerce can empower brands with deep insight into how individual experts are performing. Its integration with storefronts can support in identifying new opportunities and understanding segmented audiences. 

How you can take advantage of Video commerce

Video commerce not only mimics in-store experiences but is powered with data-driven actions. Taking a holistic approach to selling will make your customer feel valued and cared for. Introducing shoppable video to your ecommerce channel empowers your team of experts who you have invested in to build valuable customer relationships and insight for the wider business. Using the toolsets that connected video commerce brings allows your retail experts to deliver an experience so immersive that it will lead to high customer satisfaction, sales you would not have made online and drives repeat custom. Taking a proactive stance in a customer’s online shopping experience can ensure retailers stay human as they adapt to the ever-changing demands in retail.


Serge Milbank, chief executive officer at Confer With

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