Even as more and more countries are reopening brick-and-mortar retail, store technology service provider Go Instore sees strong interest in its platform that enables virtual visits to retail stores since pandemic restrictions imposed temporary store closures across Europe. The London-based IT company recorded 2.4 million unique visitors to its offering in the first four weeks of physical shopping reopening as customers continue to shop online. Clearly, the option of a virtual visit to the store, combined with live consultancy from staff, remains an attractive part of the customer journey. Matt Lawson of U.K. DTC bicycle brand Ribble Cycles says 15-20 percent of all their transactions have used Go Instore at some point. Go Instore adds that brands using its platform have achieved an average conversion rate of 19 percent. Andre Hordagoda, co-CEO and co-founder of Go Instore, says: “Our post-lockdown results reaffirm that shoppers are getting the same value from their online experiences as they would in stores. Live video solutions are leading them to increase their spend via online channels. It’s important to remember that stores and their staff are still being used, just digitally. Footfall should now be measured not just by physical visitors to the store but also by those ‘entering’ via video. The future of retail is not about online vs. offline; it’s about combining the two to create a true omnichannel strategy.”

In addition to the U.K., Sweden has always been quick to adopt new technologies: The children’s outdoor clothing brand Isbjörn of Sweden is now also embracing the trend, partnering with Swedish streaming technology specialist Streamify to develop a pilot for live video shopping in Europe. “We want to present the clothes in their natural environment outdoors and being worn by active kids who love different outdoor activities, which gives a completely different dimension to being inspired and understanding the function of our garments. We believe that live video shopping will create greater engagement with our end consumer,” says Maria Frykman, founder and CEO of Isbjörn. She still sees room for improvement, but is optimistic about offering customers more inspiration and information with new video technology.

Live video shopping has become big with the pandemic, especially in China. By 2021, live video is already a core feature of China’s biggest e-commerce apps such as Taobao Live, JD.com and Pinduoduo, according to the Financial Times. With numerous new technology providers from Asia, but also from Europe, live video shopping will perhaps soon be established as the new “TV shopping,” with the difference that the good old TV has become obsolete as a platform and the smartphone and social media have taken over.

Photo: © www.ribblecycles.co.uk