By Rory Cutaia, Verb Technology CEO
The world is in the midst of a major digitalization shift. We have been forced to embrace new and emerging technologies with the hopes of being able to stay connected socially as well as at work. Companies, families, and day-to-day operations are relying on FaceTime, Zoom, and other video conferencing applications more than ever before. Each of our normal habits and routines has been shifted into an almost completely virtual version.
Even our shopping habits have changed. When was the last time you felt comfortable and truly safe entering your favourite brick-and-mortar store? Some of us are shopping less and we are no longer yearning for a casual stroll in our local boutique as we know the safest place is at home right now. But on the flip side, some of us are shopping more due to the rise of easy-to-use e-commerce websites and online stores. Every aspect of our lives has changed, and some may agree it is for the better.
Pandemic is shifting our focus to successful retail and sales overall
In the last year, major players such as Amazon and Shopify have strategized exactly how consumers prefer to shop online and what they can do to satisfy us quickly at home. We have grown accustomed to two-day shipping and one-click purchases – leaving no time to consider other online purchasing options.
It seems almost impossible for smaller retailers to keep up and establish true competition. But there is something that these major players are missing: interaction and connection. Now is the time for small businesses to embrace new technological solutions to enhance their e-commerce sales.
When we shop for clothing, accessories, and just about everything, we want to ensure we are getting the best quality available. This is where interaction and connection come into play. In a retail environment, we are able to touch, smell, and test products before we purchase them. This is extremely difficult to accomplish when shopping online. We can read a million reviews and still not find the specific information we are looking for. But incorporating an interactive live-streaming platform to engage with potential and existing customers is a perfect way to establish a lasting, valuable relationship. This is not a new concept and we’ve seen it happen before (think QVC). The rise of live-video interactive sales is here to stay.
Many countries all over the world, such as China, Japan, and South Korea, have already seen tremendous success due to incorporating live-video sales applications into daily routines. It is the United States’ turn to embrace this revolutionary technology.
China’s live-streaming boom
The live-streaming craze has completely taken over how Eastern countries purchase clothes, electronics, beauty products, and just about anything. This concept has evolved far beyond the average infomercial or television program such as QVC Network. Technology creators are developing an immersive experience for shoppers through the use of a webinar-styled live stream.
China is a great example of how incorporating creative technology can increase a retailer’s overall revenue. China’s largest online shopping website, Taobao, has dedicated an entire section to on-demand live streams ready for shoppers’ consumption and at their convenience. The massive retailer has experienced firsthand how much more productive sellers can be if potential buyers can interact with them. The various live streams can be hosted by any verified seller where they can interact and showcase products, services, and more in real-time. Doing this provides customers with the ability to ask questions and get their answers in a timely manner. Additionally, the live videos often have pop-up links to the products being displayed for easy buying.
Viya is a well-known personality in Chinese live streaming and is a top streamer for Taobao. She has built her following through consistent streaming as well as recommending and showcasing products that she truly enjoys. In 2019, Viya broke her own personal (already astonishing) record by driving over $49.7M in sales in a single day, with a single live stream. Due to Taobao’s popularity and product variety, Taobao live stream hosts are quickly turning into social media influencers too as they help promote and sell products on behalf of various businesses.
China is a hub of continuously evolving technology and it is clear that it has not forgotten about the e-commerce market. The US, as well as others, can and should take advantage of this revolutionary consumer experience as we too have experienced a surge in online purchasing and interactive social media platforms.
Why the West (United States) needs to participate in this shift
Americans are no stranger to buying online or from their TVs. We spend tremendous amounts of time on our phones, so why haven’t we taken on live streaming?
As nobody knows the true answer, we can see that it is obviously working for other countries. Now is our time to follow their lead. Americans will see that they can and will find more valuable products and services, and significantly enhance their online shopping experience, when technologies like this are embraced. We will have more personal and more frequent interactions with sellers. Sellers will expand their reach and increase overall sales when presenting to anyone willing to watch.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put a great deal of pressure on major retailers to stay connected with their customers and the future of retail sales lies in the hands of technology that makes these valued connections a reality.
VERB Technology Company, Inc. (Nasdaq: VERB) transforms how businesses attract and engage customers. The Company’s Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, platform is based on its proprietary interactive video technology, and comprises a suite of sales enablement business software products offered on a subscription basis. Its software applications are available in over 60 countries and in more than 48 languages to large enterprise and small business sales teams that need affordable, easy-to-use, and quick-to-get-results sales tools. Available in both mobile and desktop versions, the applications are offered as a fully integrated suite, as well as on a standalone basis, and include verbCRM (Customer Relationship Management application), verbLIVE (Interactive Livestream eCommerce and Video Webinar application), verbTEAMS (a Self On-boarding version of verbCRM with built-in verbLIVE and Salesforce synchronization for small businesses and solo entrepreneurs), and verbLEARN (Learning Management System application). The Company has offices in California and Utah. For more information, please visit: www.verb.tech.
(A Retail Times’ sponsored post)