Virtual Clienteling Strategies: Driving Brand Success Through Personalized Engagement
While virtual shopping has been around for a few years, the arrival of the pandemic accelerated the adoption of livestream eCommerce around the world. With Swirl’s seamless integration, easy-to-use features, and superior tech abilities, your brand can reach out to customers wherever they are.
In the last decade or so, the retail industry has witnessed a faster rate of evolution than it has in previous years. While virtual shopping – a personalized and customized version of e-commerce that leverages technology, video, and interactivity to replicate human interaction – is the latest in retail, it has only recently been visible in mainstream retail.
According to this article, the size of the global e-commerce market amounted to US$ 16.6 Trillion in 2022. Going forward, it is anticipated to expand significantly and reach US$ 70.9 Trillion by 2028, demonstrating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.38% during the period from 2022 to 2028. This is largely thanks to the faster adoption of powerful tech on both the customer and the seller side, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before we dive into a discussion about how Swirl’s virtual shopping platform can benefit your brand, let’s unpack the phenomenon that is revolutionizing the retail world.
What Is Virtual Shopping And Virtual Clienteling?
In essence, virtual shopping allows brands to combine the best of online and in-store retail for customers.
Many customers shop online because of the convenience but miss the personal touch and custom service of offline stores. With virtual shopping, brands can offer video streams as well as real-time, genuine interactions in place of the cold anonymity of online shopping.
Virtual clienteling is an extension of virtual shopping, enabling your sales team to deliver personalized one-on-one service through interactive features and video. Unlike traditional in-store retail, where assistance is limited to visiting customers, an online virtual clienteling platform empowers your staff to proactively engage with browsing customers.
Swirl's virtual clienteling platform equips your sales team to address inquiries, instill confidence, showcase the full product range, and guide customers towards suitable options. Moreover, Swirl incorporates a proprietary layer atop video streaming, enabling brands to leverage text, chat, Whatsapp, SMS, and voice messaging for interactive service, building long-term customer relationships.
How Covid-19 Pushed Virtual Shopping Into The Limelight
While online shopping has been on the rise in most countries, physical stores still dominated retail sales with over 90% share. However, the arrival of COVID-19 in 2020 forced store closures worldwide and accelerated the prominence of eCommerce.
With the closure of stores in major cities globally, consumers had no choice but to rely on online shopping, even for essential groceries. While smaller brands quickly adapted to online live commerce, by late 2020, even large luxury brands began embracing online channels to connect with customers in their own homes.
At present, China leads the list of countries for the largest eCommerce market share, with $2.78 trillion of sales being done online. The USA comes in with $340 billion, but developing countries are seeing an astronomical rise. According to the IBM 2020 Retail Index, the pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping by as much as five years.
How Virtual Shopping Can Benefit Your Brand
Virtual shopping is being adapted by all sizes of brands, but it has significant benefits for independently owned brands or SMEs. Some of these are as follows:
- Build stronger customer relationships: Swirl enables brands to offer convenient, safe transactions and live personalized interactions through virtual clienteling options. This fosters deeper connections, improves brand recall, and increases customer loyalty.
- Provide an omnichannel experience: With Swirl, brands can guide shoppers through the entire purchasing journey, offering one-on-one consultations, virtual shopping sessions, and even in-store appointments, providing a VIP treatment that is convenient and engaging.
- Reduce overhead costs: By leveraging virtual shopping, brands can eliminate the need for physical stores, reducing expenses on storage, rent, and logistics. Dark stores can serve as efficient warehouses, offices, and shipping centers for bands with armstrong online presence.
- Ensure an agile, secure revenue stream: Livestream ecommerce allows businesses to operate seamlessly during disruptions, such as pandemics or political unrest, ensuring a steady and reliable source of income. It is especially imperative today for a brand to diversify sources of income.
- Harness data for better insights: Swirl's virtual shopping tool provides valuable customer interaction data, enabling targeted outreach, smarter inventory management, and improved conversion rates from queries to sales.
If you are an independent, early-stage entrepreneur with a DTC brand – especially in the field of fashion, beauty, retail, lifestyle, health and wellness, or F&B, take advantage of the Swirl Partnership Program to get cloud credits and build a video-first shopping experience for your customers.
How Brands Are Using Virtual Shopping
No matter the modus operandi of your brand, being live commerce-enabled can help you reach more customers and generate more sales. In uncertain times, with the constantly looming threat of the next wave of the pandemic, your business can rely on live shopping to keep customers engaged.
There are three ways in which your brand can use virtual shopping:
- One-to-one virtual shopping
- Short Shoppable Videos
- Livestream Shopping
One-To-One Virtual Shopping With Swirl
For many lifestyle brands, personal attention and customized service are contributing factors in the customer’s decision to purchase. At the higher price points of luxury brands, shoppers are used to exclusive services, but virtual shopping offers a way for smaller businesses to add that valuable personal touch to online shopping.
Short Shoppable Videos With Swirl
With the short shoppable video feature, brands can create captivating short videos that seamlessly integrate product showcases and interactive elements. Existing video content can also be used here, thus eliminating the need to create fresh content al over again. Viewers can browse and purchase featured products directly within the video, making the shopping experience convenient and immersive.
Livestreaming With Swirl
Go live and showcase your products, services, behind-the-scenes, and much more to an audience. This will help you interact with your customers live, answer their queries in real-time, and sell your products during the livestream. The easy checkout and short shopping channel is a pro.
Swirl's robust analytics provide valuable insights into viewer behavior, allowing brands to optimize their shoppable video strategy for maximum impact.
With Swirl, you can use the following features to expand your offering and provide custom services through virtual shopping:
- Match high-value customers with product experts for private consultations
- Assist customers on their browsing journey and guide them toward the appropriate solutions
- Create personalized recommendations and lists of products using data to offer a tailored solution to customers
- Access data to find the most popular products, track your staff’s performance for better business decision-making, and easily schedule and manage customer interactions
- Swirl does not require customers to download apps or be extraordinarily tech-savvy. A simple link to the livestream can be shared via social media, push notification, or WhatsApp, and your customer can make a purchase in a few easy clicks.
See How Swirl Can Help Your Brand
Swirl offers a contemporary, easy way to engage in conversations with customers, answer questions and guide customers on their buying journey, and maintain a steady flow of leads even in pandemic situations.
With Swirl, your brand gains access to these convenient features:
- Buy in video: With Swirl, viewers can directly add products to their cart and make purchases during the livestream, enhancing the immersive shopping experience. This in-video purchase feature increases the time your brand spends in front of the customer, building a better rapport and brand recall.
- Easy to integrate: Swirl effortlessly integrates with various eCommerce technologies, offering zero-code integration with Shopify and other platforms, as well as simple embedding and live streaming capabilities.
- Mobile-first abilities: Swirl ensures a smooth and enjoyable livestream shopping experience for customers on any mobile device, leveraging its compatibility with multiple technologies for seamless performance.
Customers enjoy discovering and interacting with the brands they love, and with virtual shopping, this experience is personalized with real-time conversations and interactions. For brand owners, it offers a valuable proposition – being empowered with pure data and the tech solutions they need to build a contemporary offering. Apart from being the catalyst of evolution in the retail landscape, it is clear that virtual shopping is also a win-win solution for customers and brands.