According to Gartner researchers, live commerce is one of the hottest digital selling trends as retailers and even business-to-business (B2B) companies engage customers with personalized sales through streaming video.
To be clear, these are not yesterday’s social brand ambassadors. TVPage has pioneered this latest trend, offering an artificial intelligence (AI)-based cloud platform that brings together store associates, approved influencers, and products for the most dynamic online e-commerce machine to date.
“We are at the forefront of social e-commerce, using video to put virtual yet personalized salespeople directly in the online store,” said Allon Caidar, co-founder and CEO at TVPage. “It’s a full-cycle marketing engine for customer engagement and online shopping, turning companies into their own social media destination that pops up as people search for products.”
Bustling Virtual Storefronts
Large retailers and other companies worldwide are using TVPage to replicate the kind of expert selling consumers crave. For example, when a retailer signs up, it gains a virtual storefront for its own sales associates – as well as independent influencers – all of whom serve as social brand ambassadors. Using a mobile app or web browser, these ambassadors keep consumers engaged by uploading videos, photos, and other information about products on the retailer’s website. They use social media to share their content, answer customer questions, and invite interested consumers to special online events.
“Consumers can chat with social brand ambassadors anytime to find out if a product comes in a different color or size,” Caidar said. “Ambassadors might decide to schedule beauty makeovers based on the questions they’ve received or spotlight gaming releases that reflect breaking trends. Customers can purchase products directly from their videos.”
Companies can set and monitor social ambassador metrics from one dashboard, paying their own employees based on individual performance goals. TVPage also helps its customers find and manage independent influencers, including sourcing and paying freelance social ambassadors.
Video Means Fewer Abandoned Shopping Carts
Caidar’s career path to tech entrepreneur began soon after he graduated from law school and discovered a penchant for IT, specifically video. He co-founded TVPage after selling his first startup that had provided fiber optic video, audio, and data networking.
“I had learned a lot about the broadcast world and realized that online video was the next big thing,” Caidar shared. “Although e-commerce was booming, and early adopters used videos to sell some products, retailers did not have an integrated, metric-based platform that dynamically matched product catalogs of millions of SKUs to videos that provided personalized sales. We’ve proven that video sells much better than any other medium.”
Across all its customers, Caidar said that the average onsite revenue per video view generated over seven dollars. Average conversion rates to actual purchases were three times higher among people who watched videos. He also said that people who purchased products after watching videos spent an average of 35% more compared to orders from shoppers who had not watched videos. The pandemic only boosted these numbers.
“When people can’t visit stores, they want so much more video content online,” Caidar explained. “Social brand ambassadors aren’t just explaining and demonstrating products. They are also introducing related accessories to help consumers understand and make the most of their purchases.”
SAP.iO Partnership for Growth
As a participant in the accelerator program at SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv , Caidar was impressed with SAP’s commitment to support his startup’s success.
“SAP quickly realized that we represented a paradigm shift in the way people buy products,” he said. “With their hands-on strategic and technical support, we quickly integrated TVPage with SAP Commerce Cloud. Our service, which enables virtual e-commerce storefronts, is a natural plug-in to SAP’s complete digital commerce platform. We’re excited about the opportunity to grow with SAP.”
He added that the TVPage Ambassador Storefronts app was available on SAP App Center.
Human Element Makes Virtual Storefronts Come Alive
When initially introduced at the turn of this century, e-commerce was missing one essential ingredient: the knowledgeable, trusted salesperson. With more mature technology and the benefit of hindsight, it is obvious that the ideal digital selling strategy makes the most of the machines that support people.
“The consultative engagement with consumers is a core part of retail sales,” Caidar said. “Instead of having consumers struggle to find what they need in a vast, unstructured universe, retailers can turn on their unique virtual storefront using TVPage, enabling every salesperson to go out there and build valuable customer relationships. Consumers follow people, not ads.”
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This article originally appeared on SAP BrandVoice on Forbes.