Safe retail – virtual clienteling

Red Ant, 20th May 2020

As retailers start to firm up their strategies for reopening safely, our ‘Safe retail’ series takes a practical look at the features and functions which will enable them to open their doors with confidence, to both customers and store associates.

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The inventive ways in which people have managed to stay in touch while physically distanced have proved that, while we may have the technology to bring us entertainment, shopping and life’s other necessities without leaving the house, we will always crave human contact, even if it’s virtual for now. 

As stores reopen, retailers are preparing for a different kind of relationship with their customers – repurposing and evolving their tech so that, whether it is delivered by appointment in store or via virtual consultation, the customer experience is no less personal. The demand is there - new research shows that, despite knowing that restrictions are likely to remain in place for some time, shoppers still want to talk to store associates when buying a number of products:

  • 81% for health products
  • 78% for specialist products
  • 76% for jewellery
  • 75% for furniture 

Making sure customers and store associates are safe is naturally front of mind – while some will be happy to come to stores with social distancing and other safety measures in place, others will prefer to get advice and make purchases remotely, in the comfort of their own homes.

Those managing customer experience in some sectors which rely on personal service have been more keenly aware of this – beauty brands including Clarins, Huda and Bobbi Brown have set up a range of digital services from virtual masterclasses to skincare advice and individual tutorials. And US-based sofa retailer Burrow has embraced virtual appointments with its ‘Burrow House at Home’ service.

Making the virtual personal

Provided you have the right platform, it’s possible to rapidly adapt your clienteling services to offer customers this new kind of experience. You’ll be in a position to ensure the safety of your customers and store associates without having to compromise on quality, through:

  • Virtual clienteling and appointments with remote payments so store associates can also work from home
  • Integrated video consultations with messaging and communications to allow store associates to connect with customers from home, so they can still enjoy a full range of services tailored to their profile
  • Real-time virtual product consultations and basket creation for a socially distanced yet personalised shopping experience, giving store associates and customers peace of mind in-store
  • Remote payment via SMS link to allow safe payment both in-store and at home

It’s a vital step in the implementation of your safe retail measures – one which will ensure you can continue to offer the best possible customer experiences with built-in assurances for store associates and customers.

If you’d like to find out more about how to set up virtual clienteling and consultations and our other safe retail features, contact us .