3 reasons why virtual service will become the future of brand interactions

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New survey shows consumers want virtual service from brands during Covid-19. Brands can make their virtual service options seamless with appointment scheduling software.

Qudini surveyed 2,000 UK consumers about their shopping behaviours during Covid-19 and discovered a strong demand for virtual service options.

In fact, we believe brands that invest in their virtual service offerings now will benefit from greater brand relationships, stronger customer loyalty and greater productivity.

Here are three reasons why virtual service will become the future of brand interactions:

1) Consumers are avoiding stores

Our survey insights revealed that the majority of consumers are avoiding stores.

According to the survey, 37% of consumers have eliminated non-essential trips to stores and other public places. 43% have heavily reduced trips. Only 7% have not changed their behaviour.

And before the lockdown took place, 77% of consumers were avoiding trips to non-essential stores, indicating that this behaviour could continue once non-essential retail stores reopen after June 15.

For those that do visit stores, the consumer journey has changed dramatically. Most consumers are only using stores as contactless fulfilment hubs, where they can collect online orders and then leave. 

Read more insights from our 2,000+ UK consumer survey

2) Consumer want virtual service by phone and video

Our survey also revealed that many consumers want virtual service from every type of brand. This shows that, in the Coronavirus era, brand relationships need to be built online as opposed to in-store.

The retail world has essentially been turned on its head. Whereas previously stores were for experience and relationship-building, while e-Commerce was for fulfilment, now brand relationships need to be built online.

As a result, we’re seeing a number of retailers taking their personalised one-to-one services and events online and using appointment software to enable customers to easily schedule appointments or to book onto their online events and receive reminders.

Find out more about serving customers online during Covid-19

3) Demand for virtual service will continue post Covid-19

Our survey insights also led us to believe that interest in virtual service extends beyond the Coronavirus outbreak, based on the significantly greater interest from younger demographics, who are 2-3 times more likely to want virtual service by video than Baby Boomers.

With younger demographic increasingly opting for online shopping over store visits, it is very possible that brands are currently missing huge opportunities to engage with customers they might otherwise be failing to engage with.

Right now, most brands only allow consumers to engage with them by visiting a store or typing into a chatbot, but our insights show that a large proportion of customers want an in-between option – something digital and convenient but also personalised and human.

A number of brands have been offering virtual services to their customers online as part of their new omni-channel strategies over the last two years, including NatWest, who offer financial health checks to their customers online.

By offering virtual service to customers at this key time, brands will be able to understand the opportunity the offerings can have on their business.

Find out how we support NatWest’s video banking service

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