About 40% of respondents either have used or are likely to use live video to speak to a retail sales advisor about a product, according to a press release from TokBox, a company whose platform allows operators of websites and apps to enable real-time video communications.
The "Live Video in the Spotlight Survey," for which TokBox surveyed 1,000 users between May and July 2017, also found that mobile devices have now overtaken laptops and desktops as the most-used devices for live video communications.
In addition, about 53% of those surveyed either have used or are likely to use live video to speak with customer service representatives from major brands. Also, about 28% of people video chat on social apps such as Houseparty and Facebook Live.
This survey looked at usage of live video communications for different purposes across a variety of industries. The retail-specific breakout from the survey is not as impressive as the 60% who have used or are likely to use live video to chat with a doctor about a non-emergency condition, or the 70% who either have used or are likely to use live video to collaborate remotely on a professional work project.
However, it’s very promising, even if those surveyed were already live video users, and therefore more likely to use a real-time video app than someone who has yet to try one out. Birchbox was onto this notion last year, when it talked with Retail Dive about realizing value from from live and recorded video streaming to engage with customers. Lowe's also has used Facebook Live in its promotions strategy.
More broadly, however, live video chat has not been as hotly discussed as the text-based chatbots that have become increasingly popular. However, it’s pretty clear from developments like Amazon’s Echo Show, which could allow video chatting with stylists, and LVMH’s new e-commerce site, which already is enabled with that feature, that the chatbot trend is headed in this direction.
Live video communication moving from laptops to mobile devices also should play well with retailers as they look for more ways to engage with customers on their mobile smartphones whether those customers are in their stores, in a competitor’s store or elsewhere.
Imagine giving a customer the ability to use your mobile app to talk to one of your sales associates while standing in a competitor’s store — maybe the customer wants to compare product details or prices. It could be used in a variety of ways, but giving that shopper the ability to have a quick face-to-face conversation with someone on your team could be a game changer in a much more powerful way than even text chat.