Instant WebRTC Video Portals Will Let Online Retailers Create Flash Sales and Virtual Pop-Up Stores

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webrtc video and online retailers

For the next 20 minutes, every video caller gets 40% off their online purchase.

That’s a pop-up ad that would get your attention as you idled your way through an online retail site.

If it was accompanied by a whirling red video chat portal that promised to instantly connect you with an online sales assistant you’d just about have to click and try it out.

Maybe you were only window shopping, maybe you were just comparing the price of an item with one you saw somewhere else, maybe you were just wasting time on a lunch break.

Now you’re being shown around a virtual showroom by a remote personal shop assistant who’s going to give you an amazing discount if you can find something you need in the next 20 minutes.

That’s the dynamic, impulsive online experience we’ll get with WebRTC video retail, as its instant, disposable, browser-based technology delivers flash sales, pop-up specialty stores, and direct links from social media to personal shoppers.

Instant Video Customer Service

WebRTC lets both sides of the online retail equation act on impulse. It provides video chat connections direct from the same web browsers that power our internet searches, and it requires no downloads, no account sign-ups, and no personal information.

In the hands of a forward-thinking ecommerce retailer, it could add a whole new level of energy and real-time urgency and interaction to the online shopping experience. Video portals like the one described above can be added to existing websites in just minutes, with a few lines of Javascript, and taken down again just as quickly.

So anyone daydreaming their way through a fashion boutique, bathroom outfitter, online bookstore, or even second-hand car listing could be drawn into real-time conversation with sales staff they might never have otherwise encountered, with the lure of a discount.

And there are several different ways to dangle that digital lure.

WebRTC Online Retail

There are already dozens of online retailers and services offering live video chat to their customers. Nordstrom and Walmart, Amazon and Bank of America, Lexus and Audi, just to name a tiny portion–all these offer some form of online personal interaction with their customers.

The majority, however, are passive services that rely on customers initiating contact, and work within an established relationship–dealing with complaints, advice on purchased products, or additional information building on a customer’s own research.

A WebRTC connection lets the company get more proactive, and reach out to customers directly.

The flashing red instant chat portals are a way to attract casual shoppers, but the same proactive message could be offered to regular customers as they login, or could be sent to them via existing email and social media connections.

As WebRTC video can be launched from a single, embedded link, customers could be connected with a live video call by clicking a simple “call us now” button in the text of a promotion. This kind of instant connection can also be used to promote return customers by capitalizing on the seasonal, cyclical nature of the shopping experience.

Virtual Pop-Up Stores for Spring

Pop-up stores have been a mainstay of the brick-and-mortar shopping world for years. They’re the small specialty spaces that open up for just months at a time to capitalize on holidays such as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween.

With the online retailers clearly winning the war for the shopping dollar–it’s estimated that half of America’s 1,100 regional malls will close over the next decade as a direct result of revenue lost online–it’s only natural that such ventures will take their wares to the internet.

For the independent specialists, there’s the opportunity to buy space on existing online shopfronts–Amazon already provides such a service–while still providing face-to-face customer service. All they need to do is rent a floating portal that promises the best Halloween costumes or personalized Christmas decorations.

For the established players, there’s the chance to add an instant WebRTC link dedicated to whatever’s currently in vogue. It would make traditional homepages far more dynamic, with rotating speciality services, discounts, and even expert advice available fresh every few days.

Instant video calling portals can add a live, unpredictable element to any retail website, and give customers a reason to keep checking in and finding out what’s on offer today.

Image Source: Flickr CC User Random Retail

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