The way we buy goods and services has changed forever with the introduction of innovative technologies and social media platforms, designed to take customers from their initial curiosity right through to purchase.
With the impact of the pandemic still being felt, it’s unlikely there will see a shift back to ‘old school’ shopping any time soon if Shopify’s recent ‘This is a store’ survey is anything to go by. Shopify found 83 percent of Australian shoppers say it’s crucial a brand has an online presence. Only seven percent saying it only matters if that presence is better than the in-store experience.
To mitigate pandemic disruption, many businesses moved quickly to create hybrid retail experiences. This involved ramping up e-commerce and digital investments in innovative technologies. This incudes video to better support customers’ virtual retail experiences and maintain employee connections.
Retailers should look for ‘technology that disappears’
As retail is a highly visual industry, it’s no surprise that modern video technology is moving up the priority list as demand for seamless and intuitive solutions continues to grow.
Simen Teigre, CEO and co-founder of video technology company Neat, believes the best video experiences should be seamless. It should naturally blend in with the meeting environment, effectively making the technology ‘disappear’.
“The most exciting thing about Neat technology is that we try very hard to make it disappear – that’s our goal. We don’t want people to think about technology, we want them to focus on each other, their interaction and collaboration,” says Teigre.
Modern video technology must go beyond the basics of visuals and sound. It should tap into new technologies like artificial intelligence, data and analytics. This will help to understand the spaces its devices are located in and empower collaboration.
Video technology solutions in action
Incu, a major high-end Australian fashion retailer originally sought out Neat to help them create a stronger sense of community among their dispersed workforce during lockdowns.
With 13 locations, 190 workers, and a worldwide range of suppliers, the Incu team had also been struggling with ‘old school video’ related issues. It includes echoing laptops and limited microphone range which made it challenging for the team to get work done effectively. It also led them to Neat.
As Doug Low, Incu CEO, says, “It’s very challenging to buy clothing remotely because a blue shirt looks like every single other blue shirt over a screen. You can’t tell what it fits like. You can’t tell what the materials are like. It’s a very tactile experience. But it’s made a lot better if the sound and picture work seamlessly.
Low continues, “Our Incu meeting style is inclusive and all about getting to the ideas. We love to discuss and let conversation flow rather than have a strict agenda which can be off-putting for new team members. We do this because something great will come up organically that we hadn’t originally thought about. It’s important for us that everyone in the meeting can be heard, and Neat works really well for us.”
Low adds that Neat video devices also helped when working with US fashion brand Rag and Bone, and its architects, on the design of a new Australian Rag and Bone store. Using video made it that much easier to review architectural designs, renders and floor plans. He comments, “With multiple people in these teams, using Neat made the meetings a lot easier.”
So, what does the future hold for video technology in retail?
A recent Shopify Study found online businesses are growing daily with an estimated 12–24 million e-commerce sites globally. This means more brands fighting for customers and wallets. As a result, retailers are looking for ways to build long term connections with customers, offer seamless and meaningful online shopping experiences, and develop their brand beyond their location of origin.
Incu’s Douglas Low looks to the future, predicting more video technology will be geared towards more customer-centric retail experiences.