With adoption rates accelerated by the pandemic, fashion e-commerce’s future is bright — so long as it offers great CX; use video consultations powered by WhatsApp and Whereby to ensure online clienteling delivers that vital personalized touch.
How the fashion sector sells to its customers has been disrupted forever by the pandemic. Just ask GAP that recently announced it was closing all 81 of its stores in the UK and Ireland, relying instead on its online store to serve the territory. Big picture, and global fashion sales in 2021 are expected to be below 2019 levels by as much as 15%, according to the McKinsey ‘State of Fashion 2021’ survey.
Look past such disruption though and there is good news. Online sales are booming — fashion e-commerce nearly doubled from 16% to 29% globally during 2020. Digital is now seen by a third of fashion executives as the number one opportunity for the sector, and 71% expect online business to grow by 20% or more in 2021. In other words, fashion e-commerce is here to stay.
Clienteling 2.0: Why WhatsApp is a right ally for fashion brands
Questions remain though about how to retain the one-to-one service typically offered by sales associates in-store that are so crucial to personalized customer experiences. Savvy brands have been innovating here too, using the world’s number one social channel, WhatsApp, to create ‘Clienteling 2.0’ experiences where associates and shoppers meet online to chat, share images, and more.
For all WhatsApp’s CX strengths though, the crucial face-to-face element that drives great customer relationships in-store is missing in-app. Yes, sales associates can send video messages via the social channel, but actual video consultations with customers? Sorry, that’s been a closed shop — until now.
Introducing video consultations powered by Whereby
Video calls between associates and customers via WhatsApp can be conducted using popular video meeting apps such as Whereby without having to jump between applications. This unique integration powered by tyntec means you can create a Whereby video conference and send the room URL to your invitees in WhatsApp with just the press of a custom share button. And the benefits?
- There’s no need for the customer to download any specific video chat app or sign up for a particular service as WhatsApp does all the heavy lifting for them — and for the brand.
- While setting up, say, a Zoom call can work, it introduces a layer of unnecessary friction for the customer — and yet more tech ‘busywork’ and tools for the brand to wrangle.
The Whereby video meeting to WhatsApp solution also offers great flexibility, enabling the time-poor customer to book a video-based consultation via WhatsApp that suits their schedule. For instance, they may want to video chat with the sales associate there and then. Alternatively, they might prefer to video chat at another time when they’re not so busy, or when they can be matched with the right associate for their particular consultation needs.
WhatsApp to Whereby (and back again): 5 steps to video clienteling success
Those are the top-line benefits — but how does the process work in practice? Here’s a typical customer experience using the Whereby video meeting to WhatsApp functionality:
Elisa is ‘window shopping’ in her favorite online fashion store on her mobile – Summer Dresses. She comes across a new dress range that could make for ideal workwear once she’s allowed to return to the office. Elisa clicks on the brand’s WhatsApp button and is instantly connected with sales associate, Clara, via the social channel.
Clara from Summer Dresses fields basic questions about sizing but Elisa remains uncertain about the dress’s fit and color choices. She doesn’t want to go in-store to view the garment because of the COVID infection rates in her area. Clara suggests they have a Whereby-based video consultation via WhatsApp where she can show the dress to Elisa plus answer any questions about fit, finish, and available colors.
Elisa agrees to the online consultation and Clara sends a list of possible appointments in WhatsApp. Elisa chooses a date and time with the appointment confirmed in-app.
Tip: The company can consider sending a reminder notification on the day of the consultation to avoid no-shows. It’s even possible to ask the customer for confirmation and/or if they want to reschedule. If rescheduling is required, other dates/times can be offered in-app immediately.
Appointment day arrives and Elisa receives a Whereby link in WhatsApp ten minutes before the consultation. She presses on it and is immediately taken to the Whereby video chat in her mobile’s web browser. Elisa and Clara meet ‘face to face’ for the first time and they discuss the dress in detail, looking at different colors as well as potential accessories to go with it. Elisa settles on a color plus opts to go with a complementary hat and belt combo suggested by Clara from Summer Dresses.
5. Finishing up
After ending the Whereby video consultation, Clara immediately sends an order summary with a website payment link via WhatsApp. This takes Elisa to the Summer Dresses website where she enters her payment details before confirming her order and selecting a delivery date and time. Once completed, Elisa is returned to WhatsApp where order and delivery confirmation notifications are waiting for her. All she has to do now is sit back and wait for the delivery to arrive!
WhatsApp and Whereby: Video chat integration made fast, effortless
Such powerful functionality is now accessible to any brand that’s already using the WhatsApp Business API via tyntec. Requiring minimal coding, CX departments can integrate the Whereby feature at speed using using tyntec’s step-by-step tutorial (see below). Alternatively, fashion houses that have yet to introduce WhatsApp into their CX strategy can team up with a third party provider such as tyntec to ensure the whole process is as friction-free and cost effective as possible.
Such ease of rollout is vital too: In a world where e-commerce is the ‘new normal’, fashion brands must use every means at their disposal to deliver online customer experiences that offer the same levels of personalization that consumers expect in-store. By making the transition now, brands can ensure that, as the world slowly learns to live with COVID, consumers can still enjoy great customer experiences wherever they choose to engage with the brand, whether in-store or online.
Get started today by viewing tyntec’s ‘Whereby video meeting to WhatsApp’ tutorial here: ‘WhatsApp Business API | Integration with Whereby’. Alternatively, brands considering WhatsApp for their CX strategy can explore its full functionality here.