The recently published ‘A Strong Retail Sector Benefits Us All’ piece is great food for thought and highlights the need for the retail industry to provide superior customer experience by engaging with technology savvy customers through a wide variety of communication channels. Video is one of these channels. Like it or not, it is everywhere these days. In fact, in a few years’ time you’ll more likely be watching this article, not reading it. YouTube receives over 1 billion unique visitors every month and the amount of video uploaded every hour is mind-boggling.

Video, however, is not just a medium to entertain us in our personal lives – it has fast become an essential business tool for marketers and will form part of any effective communications strategy. It’s also becoming a great tool for customer service, with a growing number of companies seeing its potential as an effective way to add personality to their websites. Retail is just one sector where live video assistance is being used as a standard part of a company’s customer communications strategy.

People are increasingly shopping online and retailers are faced with the challenge of providing their customers with a consistent multi-channel shopping experience across stores and website. One challenge is to find a way to offer the personal experience you come across in-store, but from a company’s website, and video is a perfect way to bring personality to this previously faceless channel.

Live video assistance is a growing area. If you haven’t seen it yet on a website, it’s only a matter of time before you do – some retailers are using it to help customers making purchasing decisions on furniture and fashion retailers are using video assistance to co-browse their product ranges and answer queries from the website.

Live video assistance brings a whole new level of customer service to the online channel, where the shopper is invited to talk to an assistant via live video. The shopper can see the assistant, ask questions co-browse the website, seek help with form filling and ask for support throughout the checkout process.

Live video assistance also gives advisers the capability to share screens with customers when they need help browsing the website or completing the checkout process. And to address any concerns about privacy and safety, the shopper is reassured that the adviser has no access to the customer’s desktop or computer and hence the customer’s personal data.

It’s a major step forward from the customer service we receive via the more traditional yet faceless text chat. Here, the adviser may be dealing with multiple customers at one time which can be frustratingly slow and less of a personal experience than being able to see the adviser.

A Superior Customer Experience

In some cases, online video assistance can exceed the in-store experience. For example, a customer looking for advice on what type of furniture to buy could use their webcam to give the adviser a virtual tour of a room. The adviser could then offer advice based on the room layout and existing décor – a level of engagement only possible with video functionality.

But live video assistance isn’t only a nice-to-have new feature for a website. There are some sound business benefits to providing customer service in this way. Fewer shopping baskets are abandoned; customer service scores increase significantly; average order value increases and there’s a 4-fold increase in conversion rates.


The rapid increase of retailers employing live video assistance shows that real-time video assistance is a game-changer and has already moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’ technology for every retailer who is serious about their customers’ online experience.