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Top 3 Virtual Retailing Tips for E-Commerce Managers to Differentiate Themselves

More and more companies are shifting their focus to online sales, be it to cater to the need for an increasingly distanced shopping experience or to make life easier on busy buyers. Online sales were once used to augment in-person sales, but now online sales are dominating. E-commerce managers are now tasked with bringing that same personalized shopping experience online, and must “win” the virtual selling strategies to not only compete, but succeed.

Customers are changing their preferences and demanding a highly personalized approach to virtual shopping.The majority of e-commerce brands are taking steps to adapt to customer preference changes. What are you doing to stand out from the rest and keep hold of your customer base?

As Jeff Bezos rightly points out, “customers will always want low prices, fast delivery and a vast selection of products to buy from.” What is missing? The differentiation. In this rapidly changing, competitive environment, e-commerce managers need to deploy unique tactics and tools to stay on top of their game. Let’s take a closer look at the top 3 virtual retailing tips that will help your brand stay ahead of the curve and not only survive, but thrive.

1. Offer Live Video Shopping to Improve Engagement

Videos are quickly conquering the digital space. They have already become one of the top marketing tools in the world. Almost 90% of companies say that video marketing generates a positive ROI.

While the marketing team is relying on videos to draw the customers to your virtual store, your sales reps can also use this valuable channel to improve engagement. About 49% of online shoppers say that what they miss the most about live shopping is the ability to touch items physically – with video, customers can see texture and material on a level beyond still photographs. Additionally, Chinese ecommerce brands are experiencing a “live streaming boom” with a 37% year-over-year growth in engaged viewers. As the rest of the world starts to catch up, look to a video shopping strategy that focuses on breathing life into on-screen products.

Product Videos

Live video product demonstrations can give customers a better understanding of what they are about to buy while engaging in virtual shopping. The ability to see a product in action can help drive the customer down the sales funnel. It’s also an excellent opportunity to show your products’ key features. Beauty brands are using this technology to coach online customers on selecting the proper shade, show true colors, offer collection previews, and even demonstrate product use.

As a bonus, these videos can be repurposed on a variety of marketing channels like social media and emails.

Product Tutorials

Product tutorials are aimed at customers who are afraid to be misled by aggressive marketing tactics. A surprising number of people don’t trust the efforts of your marketing team or the beautiful images you post on your website.

A tutorial gives these customers a 360° view of the product while continually driving them down the sales funnel. By showing customers product details, styling suggestions, textures and colors, you can leverage this captive audience to convince them to make a purchase. One international cosmetics brand group has been offering online “classes,” hosted by beauty influencers, informing attendees on how to use products. These videos have been used in multiple channels to create stories and build additional serial episodes.

Video Customer Support

While in a virtual store, customers don’t have an opportunity to get valuable in-person sales assistant consultations. Meanwhile, sales reps lose a chance to speak with the clientele face-to-face.

By implementing a video assistant option in your virtual store sales strategy, you kill two birds with one stone. The customer gets important advice while the sales rep addresses their needs on the spot.

Video shopping doesn’t just improve customer engagement, it also takes e-shopping to a new, highly personalized level that can replace the in-store experience.

2. Proactively Chat With your Customers

Even though live chats are becoming a healthy e-store trend, they often lack quality. More often than not, customers face lifeless bots who only answer basic questions.

When a customer has a question during the virtual selling process, they are more likely to leave and find another store than to continue with a bot or take the step to contact support. This is because they still believe that it takes forever to gain access to a professional sales rep – and they’re often right. Many brands still have wait and hold times of over four minutes. Those four or more minutes are crucial time, and with each second ticking by, the customer becomes less satisfied and more likely to give up altogether.

That’s where the proactive chat comes in. Unlike a reactive chat (initiated by the customer), proactive chat tools allow online sales associates to monitor the user’s behavior on the website and initiate a conversation, whether it’s offering help to a hesitant customer, or recommending a necessary add-on item based on the contents of the customer’s basket.

Benefits for Agents

Proactive chats make it easy for customers to ask questions, while also giving sales reps an opportunity to push them down the sales funnel. Being proactive also increases the likelihood of closing a sale, rather than leaving customers alone on the digital store floor. You wouldn’t ignore a shopper in your brick-and-mortar shop, especially if they had a basket full of products, right? Don’t do it online either. Use online engagement technology that’s now available!

In e-commerce, sales agents traditionally tend to work behind the scenes, keeping live interaction to a minimum. This makes it tough to address the customers’ pain points on the spot. A proactive chat can help a company use human sales reps for virtual selling instead of chatbots to achieve the same results they would in a brick-and-mortar store.

Benefits for Customers

These chats come with a variety of benefits, from increasing customer satisfaction rates to reducing website bounce rates. Additionally, they address one of the biggest problems faced by virtual retailers — abandoned carts. A proactive chat can reduce the cart abandonment rate by as much as 40%.

If the customer doesn’t purchase a product or take any action on your e-commerce website for some time, they probably need help. Catching the moment and offering proactive assistance is the key to driving a sale.

Bonus Benefit to E-commerce Managers: A proactive chat can reduce customer support issues and cut call costs because sales reps using chatbot software that assists the agents can work with several customers simultaneously. More concurrency equals lower costs to the company.

3. Understand Your Audience

To create a powerful virtual selling strategy, it’s imperative to have an in-depth understanding of your target audience. Besides creating buyer personas for promotional efforts, the sales team needs to monitor and understand customer sentiment and behavior during the virtual shopping process.

From addressing the pain points to adjusting the virtual storefront, understanding customers’ actions are the key to your sales efforts.


Clienteling involves creating long-term relationships with each digital customer based on their behavior on your website and the interaction with your company. Clienteling can improve customer retention and increase the CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).

Virtual Selling Technologies

To gain a better understanding of what your audience needs at all stages of the sales funnel, you have to wield the available technologies. From proactive live website chats and text support, to CRM systems and store apps, you need to gather all the available data and leverage it to keep customers coming.

Your goal is to create an omnichannel customer experience without losing a personalized touch. Once you build a relationship with a customer, even if it’s just one successful interaction, you can drive impressive sales and improve retention rates tremendously.

Driving Virtual Selling in a Competitive Environment

Many e-commerce managers feel added pressure trying to survive in a highly competitive environment compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in virtual shopping. Driving sales without face-to-face interactions can be tough.

Learning how to use the latest video and live chat technologies while streamlining the omnichannel customer experience can help you stay on top of your game.

If you’d like to learn more about e-commerce sales-driving solutions, book a demo today. With INSIDE Store, we help e-commerce retailers hold on to their market share, bring luxury retail experiences online and improve overall customer experience. Are you ready to increase your conversion?

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