How Can Video-Enablement Make Shopping Smarter?

Online shopping peaked enormously in the last decade with shopping giants like eBay, Amazon, Flipkart trying to make shopping more convenient for the customers. However, the greatest drawback with shopping online is the lack of personalized attention. A customer’s buying decision is often influenced by multiple factors. There are numerous questions that need to be answered before he/she is convinced to buy a product. Video-enabled shopping provides the customer with a more personalized and smarter shopping experience.

“Video has a higher impact on buyers, it is said 73% of the customers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video explaining the product or service. Nearly 96% of the consumers found videos helpful for making their purchase decisions.”(Tubularinsights.com)

Shopping online brings the customers across unending stuff. However, to know the details about the commodity and its utilization, there is only the written document to refer to. These details are mostly generic and their accuracy isn’t guaranteed. Integration of a live video help can make shopping a better and more satisfactory experience both for the buyer and the seller.

Let’s see how the inclusion of video technology can make shopping smarter

Personalized shopping experience

Customers want personal attention. Getting connected with an executive who can resolve their queries in real-time, greatly influences their buying decision. This is particularly important for fashion and consumable commodities. People are highly conscious about the things they buy. They have a lot of questions regarding their quality and usability. A face-to-face video communication with an expert can assist in buying right and thus have the most satisfactory shopping experience. To sum it up, a face-to-face video collaboration can make sales happen.

Post-sale training and assistance

This is important for commodities that need proper installation before usage. Reading through the obscure installation manual with technical jargon or searching on Google doesn’t always help. This restrains the customers either from using the product or enduring an extra expense in getting a professional to install the same. Connecting with the technical expert through video conferencing can provide the required the post-sale training on installation and usage of the product without any added expense.

Competitive Edge

Though video shopping isn’t a new term anymore but it isn’t very common either. Not all online shopping portals or physical showrooms are seen using video in their regular work process. Thus, incorporating video into the retail environment can lend a business a clear competitive advantage.

Efficient virtual help desk

The ROI of a business is greatly dependent on an efficient help-desk. Retails and E-commerce portals can enormously benefit from a video-enabled customer help desk. The customers will be more than happy to collaborate with a virtual help desk executive in real time rather than being greeted by a robotic voice or entering endless options over the telephone which might not have answers to the specific problem that he/she is facing.

Is video conferencing only effective for online shopping?

No, video conferencing solutions can also benefit brick and mortar shops. The video enabled digital signage can be of exceptionally helpful for showrooms. A digital signage isn’t only meant for adverting. It can be the virtual site-map of the store for new customers, guiding them to various sections and the product availability.

Stores having multiple entities need to recruit multiple customer care executives for each of their branches. The video enabled customer help desk ignores the requisition for redundant hiring in the same job role. The customers can remotely connect to the help desk and get all the required help they need. The video-enablement expedites the internal communication including stock alerts, delayed consignments etc.; resulting in improved sales figures.

What Makes a Good Intranet Portal?

The concept of intranet portals began coming up in mind 1990’s and paced up very quickly. During the initial few years of launch, they were mainly oriented for an organization’s internal data sharing only. But today, they are much more than what they were esteemed to be till few years back. Today’s portals provide a huge degree of interaction and capabilities like knowledge sharing, managing workflows, enhanced collaboration between work groups and above all social interaction with other employees of the company. They thus act much more than just being a gateway for accessing enterprise data.

Considering the increased requirements of every business, intranet portals need to act more than ever. Here are the few features which an ideal portal must possess:

Amalgamation

Amalgamation or integration is one of the most important expectations from an intranet portal. Every company wants to enhance its technological infrastructure while keeping their current business operations unaffected. Thus a portal must be able to integrate with their current business processes and systems.

Customization

Every business has its own needs and so the portal must be customized as per the needs of every individual business. An intranet portal can qualify as good only if it provides extreme customization facility to businesses.

Collaboration

One of the most important features of a good intranet portal is collaboration. It must allow the colleagues to collaborate with each other efficiently. This may include working on same document simultaneously.

User Friendliness

An intranet portal needs to be user friendly. Unless it is user friendly, people will find it difficult to access the portal and will start creating gaps with it. To ensure that the employees are fully acquainted with the portal and like using it over again, user friendliness remains an unavoidable character.

Integrated Libraries

Despite of numerous advances, intranet portals yet adhere to their basic requirement of maintaining company data. This includes documents, images and videos etc. It is very important to have libraries in the portal which can store and handle documents, videos and images for easier access by employees.

Blogs

The ability to express themselves attracts the employees much towards the intranet portals. A blog is one of the easiest and most preferred methods for allowing the employees to put forward their thoughts and so blog integration remains an important requirement.

Search

Easy and fast search for people, documents, images, videos or web data are a must in intranet portals which usually remain flooded with information. Thus it becomes difficult to search desired information unless an extensive search engine is incorporated in it.

Social Media Integration

People love to share their achievements and interact with each other. Social media integration is coming up as an efficient tool to be integrated in intranet portals. Social media integration not only allows the users to interact but also to know more about other employees thereby strengthening intra-organization communication.

An intranet portal can be built using various web development platforms but Microsoft SharePoint remains the leading choice of developers and companies for this. Microsoft SharePoint provides out of the box capabilities with such portals and makes intranet an amazing experience for users. Microsoft SharePoint intranet development has evolved as one of the strongest features offered by SharePoint. To know more about SharePoint capabilities please visit – http://ignatiuz.com/blogs/category/SharePoint-2010.aspx

Video Clips

UK Mobile network T-Mobile have just launched a brand new Video on Demand service for their mobile phone customers, the video streaming service is similar to that of Apple TV. The video clips from T-Mobile can be watched on your mobile phone or online on your PC, through T-Mobile’s ‘t-zones’ portal or its Web ‘n’ Walk service, all video is streamed over the air.

So if you fancy watching a video clip on the bus or on your lunch hour to kill a bit of spare time then this could be the answer for you. A 15 minute video clip costs from 50 pence to £1.50, and longer video clips can be up to £5.00.

However, T-Mobile may have sadly admitted that the video on demand service may not be too popular on small mobile phone screens, the interactive and video manager at T-Mobile has been quoted as saying: “You can buy content when you’re on the go, then, for a better experience, watch it on your PC later.” So are they admitting that the experience on your mobile is not that great? Of course we know that mobile TV has not been too popular in the past – perhaps because the majority of the popular mobiles have screens that most deem to small to watch anything on.

But I am sure that this will appeal to some people, and after trying it out Video on Demand may get even more fans. So if you fancy watching videos on your mobile, or just downloading them for later, while standing in the queue for the bus – then T-Mobile’s Video-on-Demand may be the one!

Video Communications the New Age Marketing Tool

If you’re a small business, you know how hard it is to compete against larger, wealthier competitors. Indeed, today’s small businesses face a dilemma. While they need to sell their products and services as much as any Global 1000 company, many lack the marketing resources big firms take for granted. For example, large companies have highly aggressive sales people driving sales. These people contact customers and prospects regularly, reminding them of a product’s or service’s existence as well as its advantages and benefits. Unfortunately, many small businesses lack the resources to do this and employing other traditional marketing methods, like print advertising and direct mail, is not always financially feasible either. To compensate small businesses must find a way to ratchet up their marketing communications programs. What’s needed is a dynamic, cost-effective way of marketing products and services, one that helps small businesses battle competitors and capture market share.

The Internet has been a viable alternative marketing method for small business. Publishing a Web site is a proven way of selling one’s products and services, and an effective means of reaching a worldwide marketplace. In fact, it costs less to build a site than most people think, particularly when compared to the cost of rent for an off-line business. Web sites also offer benefits other marketing tools don’t, such as regular contact with customers and prospects and the ability to convey large amounts of information quickly and easily. In addition, Web sites offer consumers access to a company’s products and services twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, all year long.

But Web sites have one major drawback– anonymity. Consumers are reluctant to buy from someone they don’t know. Other drawbacks include the possibility of misinterpreting the marketing message, the limitations in demonstrating product’s features, and the difficulties of incorporating customer service. Even adding e-mails to the marketing mix doesn’t always help. While email marketing is a cost-effective to send, easy to create, and fast to distribute, they’re often boring, making little impact on the viewer. And the proliferation of e-mails means that your marketing message often gets lost in the clutter.

Video communications, which includes video e-mails, video streaming, and live Web casts, represents the next wave of marketing for small business. It’s proving to be so powerful it’s revamping the way businesses communicate with customers and each other. Simple and easy to use, video communications puts a human touch back into the process of communicating with consumers, enabling sales reps, consultants, and professionals to generate “face time” with consumers, clients, and businesses without spending a great deal of time and money. It’s a win-win situation for all involved, and it’s proving highly effective for small business.

Video communications is ideal where personal communications is an advantage. Even political candidates are using it to communicate with their constituencies. Howard Dean, for example, helped transformed the face of presidential politics by being one of the first candidates to harness the power of the Internet. Dean broke new ground by being among the first presidential candidates to use streaming video on his Web site to communicate broadly and successfully with American voters.

One of the most effective uses of video communications is video e-mail, which the corporate world is quickly embracing. Once dismissed as a gimmick, video e-mail is now making in-roads into business communications. As the technology has been refined and costs reduced, Global 1000 corporations have begun using video e-mails to reach target audiences.

Sheridan Square Entertainment, a New York-based firm, employs video e-mail not only for corporate interoffice communications, but also as a way for its artists to communicate directly with their fans. With offices in four U.S. cities, using video e-mail cuts down on flying time and its associated costs while generating awareness and visibility. Organizations such as the Miami Dolphins, DaimlerChrysler AG, and Eli Lily use video-e-mail for everything from internal announcements to market surveys. They also use the technology for sales training, public relations, customer updates, and product releases.

Using video e-mails and adding streaming video to your Web site is simple and easy. In fact, it’s as easy as sending text e-mails, and cutting and pasting text. Most small businesses already have all the necessary skills to send video e-mails and post streaming video online. And thanks to the emergence of video portals, offering video e-mail, video on demand, video instant messaging, and live Web casts, businesses now have a mechanism for sending video communications to buyers quickly and easily without investing a lot in additional software or computer equipment and without the platform incompatibility or long download problems associated with Windows Media Player, Real Player, or Apple QuickTime. In addition, proprietary bandwidth protection enables videos to stream at the speed most appropriate to each viewer’s connection.

Video is a boon to business marketing. It provides small businesses with an economical yet powerful way to reach buyers. Delivering the impact of television, it generates higher click-through rates and increases brand recognition, as well as shortening the sales cycle. Simple and easy to use, video communications is the ideal way for small business to compete against firms with more resources. It gives them a powerful competitive edge that other businesses don’t have, and it’s becoming the accepted way of delivering personal rich media. More important, it boosts sales and profits. If you’re a small business, you can’t afford not to use video communications to market your company.

Copyright 2006 Jenni Baty