Do Apple Customers Want to Shop For iPhones Via Video Chat? – RetailWire

Apple recently introduced a “Shop with a Specialist” feature that lets online shoppers have a video chat with a retail specialist to get advice on buying an iPhone.
The on-screen Apple expert helps the shopper explore the latest iPhone models and features as well as learn about trade-in offers, carrier deals, switching to iOS and financing options. 
“We’re constantly innovating to deliver an even more personalized experience for our customers, meeting them where they are to deliver the best of Apple,” said Karen Rasmussen, Apple’s head of Retail Online, in a press release. 
The video chat experience promises a “safe and secure, one-way video shopping session.” An Apple team member will be on camera sharing their screen, but they will not be able to see the customer. 
The video call option is available between 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. PT daily and appointments do not need to be scheduled. If a live video-chat session is unavailable, a specialist can be reached over the phone or via chat 24 hours a day.
Video chat is relatively common in the fashion space with Macy’s, Nordstrom, Madewell and Lululemon among the retailers enabling customers to schedule a video chat with a stylist.
In the consumer electronics space, Best Buy rolled out a video chat option last fall that enables tech experts to offer advice from a virtual 40,000-square-foot “virtual store” in a distribution center. The agents provide live product demonstrations and answer questions about specific features and capabilities across nearly all of the retailer’s categories.
At the time Best Buy launched the service, Damien Harmon, the retailer’s EVP of omnichannel, said, “The virtual experience lets us help our customers on a more personal level, even if they’re shopping from their couch.”  
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How much appeal do you see for a live chat option to support prospective buyers of Apple iPhones or other consumer electronics products? What may video chat provide that live chat or phone assistance can not?
10 Comments on “Do Apple Customers Want to Shop For iPhones Via Video Chat?”
You must be logged in to post a comment.
You must be logged in to post a comment.
So, you get to video chat, one-on-one, with a real live, non-AI, Apple Genius? I’m in.
If they use this for the launches of new iPhones and offer carrier deals, I am in.
So far, no one on this forum seems to be having a problem with this concept and the reasons are already obvious. My question is, how financially sustainable is this great concept? Is the cost of this type of service already factored into the slightly higher prices of Apple’s products (to which not too many consumers seem to object)?
In-person performance metrics like conversion rates and return rates are far better than their online counterparts but nothing is more convenient than ordering from your couch. It makes sense to create the best of both worlds. The reality is that we’ve been seeing the convergence of physical and digital (phygital) for years and meeting your customer in-person, “anywhere” is an appealing evolution. Live video has the advantage of making the online shopping experience visual and highly personal which is difficult to do with chat or phone. This will be an interesting development to watch since leveraging videoconferencing in e-commerce is a different approach than the one-to-many format of livestream shopping that people and retailers typically associate with live video.
I love this idea. Electronics is one of the top categories in our research where consumers express wanting help via virtual consultation. This is convenient and extremely useful in a space where consumers are seeking knowledge and support.
I am all-in on this. What better way to help a shopper understand some of the finer details about cool features/functions rolled out in new phones? In the digital economy, visualization is everything and video selling will help close many new phone deals.
Is this sustainable? It strikes me that once a customer has the experience that is touted, they will never be satisfied with anything less. The description makes this sound better than going to the store.
For some, buying gadgets and phones is a complex process that requires many questions to be asked. Apple does a great job of guiding consumers through the process in store and I see video chat as an enhancement of their already good phone support. Of course, with Apple’s rich margins it can afford to support this initiative!
This is a great way for retailers and other companies to provide more personalized services to customers. I like that it is a one-way video, as I have heard that most consumers are not interested in appearing on camera when interacting with service representatives. The one exception may be if they are interacting for fashion advice.
This is a great idea for Apple – and any other business that wants to sell virtually. This is the future coming to a store near you!

What’s the likelihood that video chat shopping for an iPhone will become popular?

View Results