As shoppers flock to online channels, digital tools like video and social media are becoming important ways to capture consumer attention. Yet the role of the sales associate is still critical for providing elevated service. Now, with Hero’s new Shoppable Stories function, retail staff will be able to create videos and embed them within the e-commerce platforms, for shoppers to explore and purchase from directly.
Finding a way to combine store service with e-commerce ease is the big challenge for retailers, for the holidays and beyond. The Hero app, which connects shoppers and store associates virtually through phone and video calls, is hoping to close this gap further with the new Shoppable Stories function.
“With Shoppable Stories, associates are the creators; whereby they’re able to showcase their favorite products through short-form videos online,” said Adam Levene, found of Hero. “We believe that in-store associates provide the human edge for any brand, and Shoppable Stories puts them front and center of the new ecommerce experience.”
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Once a video has been made, it is uploaded straight onto the retailer’s website or app. This means consumers don’t need to be redirected from a social media channel or third-party video service; they can immediately convert to purchase and checkout within the same platform. Delays in the shopper journey are a leading cause of cart abandonment, so this helps keep shoppers on track.
“This is the first time that the story format has been incorporated directly into the ecommerce experience,” said Levene. “The advantage is that retailers can engage shoppers directly on their home page or a product page, giving the customer the option to shop the story or initiate a chat or video call with an associate as they browse.”
Should a customer have more questions about the product, or be inspired to ask for more information about the video’s content, they can request to speak to an associate – all through Hero’s platform. Where possible, this conversation is connected with the sales associate who made the video; if they are unavailable, it is routed to an alternative employee in the closest store available.
By utilizing a company’s existing store staff, brands can take advantage of the expertise and passion for the product that’s already present in their workforce. This approach also plays into the popularity of influencers in today’s marketing culture – shoppers increasingly trust recommendations from individuals they know and like, more than those that come from a corporate entity.
“In 20 years, the ecommerce experience hasn’t evolved all that much beyond static photos on a web page,” said Levene. “In 2020, every retail brand has to unlock its human edge and provide a point of differentiation online. With Shoppable Stories, we’re taking the fun, creative and authentic way we communicate on social media and bringing it to ecommerce for the very first time.”
This method of communication is particularly expected to resonate with younger demographics, who are increasingly using mobile to shop and beginning their shopping journeys online. By engaging them with the video content they know and love from social channels, brands can meet them where they are and making purchasing easier in the process.