Retailers Get Closer to Online Shoppers with Remote Clienteling
Remote clienteling is finding growing interest from retailers as a way to effectively close the gap between online and offline shopping experiences. By combining video chat, clienteling, home delivery and BOPIS capabilities, remote clienteling provides shoppers with a contactless customer experience, which is particularly important in these unusual times, while retaining the benefits of personal interaction.
Remote clienteling is gaining traction because it offers what a conventional eCommerce transaction cannot: it enables sales associates to connect with shoppers using live video chat to cultivate one-on-one relationships and boost the possibility of repeat business, even when they cannot meet in person. That may be because the shopper does not find it convenient to visit the store or, as in the recent COVID-19 lockdown, because the stores are not open.
French children’s clothing brand Petit Bateau, which has just reopened its French stores after the lockdown, has updated the familiar “Click and Collect” idea with a videoconference-assisted purchasing service, dubbed “Call and Collect,” in which the customer calls a store and the sales assistant walks the customer through the collection at the store via video chat. The payment is made on the smartphone and the customer can pick up the order at the store or have it delivered at home.
UK retail chain John Lewis offers a virtual nursery service in which would-be mother can book a free one-hour video call with one of its team of “nursery advisors” to receive impartial advice and a personalized shopping list that they email to the customer.
Reflecting their emphasis on personal attention, upscale fashion retailers were among the first to explore virtual personal services. Harvey Nichols offers an “Ask an Expert” service that allows its sales associates to live stream from the shop floor, send photos of the latest collections and offer tailored advice to customers on such difficult questions such as what to wear to an interview.
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