Is Ecommerce Video Chat The Right Tool For Your Business?

Depending on the size of your business you might wonder if video chat is worth the investment. I am going to be honest here and say that it depends on a lot of factors. That’s why we decided to write this blog post, to help you see a little more clearly.




1. It’s not only about the size of your business



Some small 1 person businesses might be able to drive more benefits from live chat than Fortune 500 companies.

The key here is that it’s not about the size of your business but about the complexity (that we define by how difficult the buying process is for customers) and price of your products.


If you sell $3 books there’s a good chance video chat won’t be so helpful to you.

It would be too time consuming for you to video chat with users for a $3 sell and you would end up loosing money. Your competitive advantage in that case is your price and by offering a discounted price you make it easier for customers to choose.

Let’s stick with the book example: you might buy a book that doesn’t particularly appeal to you for $3 but if we raise the price to $30 dollars you might think twice before buying.



To put it another way, the more expensive your products (or average order) and the more difficult the buying process, the more you will benefit from video chat.

If you are selling $100 000+ cars, you will have no problem spending time video chatting with clients as 1 transaction will bring more than enough money to cover the costs.



We made a brief summary of the explanations about on the graph bellow:


video chat or text chat depending on product value


Note that the $100 price is the average value customers will consider expensive, no matter what the product is.

Meaning that if your product costs more than that you will benefit from video chat as your product is considered “luxury”. However if your products costs less than $100 it doesn’t mean they will be considered cheap. The price should be scaled to the industry: a $50 book will be considered expensive whereas a $50 coat will be seen as rather cheap.



Wondering if ecommerce video chat could fit your budget?

The cost of our service depends on your business (monthly traffic, number of operator with live chat access). Don’t hesitate to check out our pricing plans to get an ideas of the kind of money you’d have to invest (I’m sure it’s not as much as you’d think)




2. Will your customers benefit from the video?



Video helps with customer engagement and can easily turn them into loyal customers. However you have to ask yourself if video will benefit them in any way.


In order to do that, ask yourself 1 simple question:

Will it help if customers can see me ?


will it help if customers can see me?

YES if you deal with complex technical issues that would take way less time to solve with video.

Ask your customer service agents if they ever thought « damn that would be so much simple if I could see the product! ». If most of them did you might want to consider video chat.


YES if your sell expensive products (more than $100 is considered expensive).

Then your customers need to know the product is worth the money. Video chat allows you to either conduct a live demo or just answer all their inquiries.


YES if you sell products requiring a long-term engagement.

This category covers financial products like bank accounts, loans, all kind of long subscription programs, and products that are meant to be kept for a long time (cars, computers, houses…). In that case your customers will need to make sure they are making the right decision, but also make sure they can count on you if they have a problem.

A face-to-face meeting on video chat can save yourself and your customers the trouble of an in-person meeting.


YES if you sell services involving personal interaction.

This one is obvious, if your service requires several meetings with clients, a big part of their choice will rely on the fact that they trust you, think you are qualified, and like interacting with you. A first meeting with future clients through video chat can do wonders for your business.



NO if you are just looking for a cheap and quick way to deal with customers issues.

Video chat is neither quick nor cheap. If you don’t need to spend too much time with customers (some businesses don’t connect with customers that much) consider investing in an automated system or use a simple email address.


Video chat is a new channel for customer service and ecommerce so clients are not used yet to see sale consultant on video. From our experience, video is a described as a “good surprise” most of the time.

The only thing clients are afraid of at first is to appear on camera.

That’s why we advise companies to not force customers to turn on their camera, you can ask for it during the conversation if you need to see a product for technical support for example. But don’t make it mandatory for them to turn on their camera. An even better practice would be to state from the beginning that you can’t see them. It will help bring down the apprehension and make them feel more at ease.

Even if video doesn’t seem necessary, it will help your business. Communication is mostly non verbal and positive body language can make consultants job a lot easier. 




3. Will you save or win money using ecommerce video chat?



It is vital for your business to evaluate the ROI of video chat.

You can make rough predictions based on numbers that you already know and set objectives for your business.

A good objective for a B2B business could be to conduct at least 50% of first meeting with clients through video chat (saving on travel expenses). In order to make sure this would work, try to ask clients if they would agree to meet you on chat. In that case it will also save them time so you can easily present it as a win-win situation.


Here’s how you should evaluate video chat ROI:


video chat ROI



As you can see we divided the benefits of video chat into 2 categories:


Ecommerce Video Chat will help me save money

It will if you can replace in-person meetings with Video Chat.


Just think about how many in-person meetings you are doing right now. Can part of them be conducted online? As a good practice it will be much more cost effective for you and the person you are meeting to conduct the first meeting online.

If you do meet them in person afterwards, there will be a 90% chance you will close the deal.


It can also help you save money on post-sale support.

Try explaining to someone on the phone what exactly is wrong with your TV. Yes, not as easy as it sounds right? Imagine if you could actually show the product as you are explaining. It would also be much easier for the customer service representative to guide you. Both the client and the company then save precious time and money.



Ecommerce Video Chat will help me make more money

Video chat can multiply your conversion rate by 10 if used correctly.

You then win clients and therefore money. Math skills aren’t even required here, if you can achieve those results the price of video chat will be covered by the profits you are making using it.

The question here is who achieve such impressive results?

You might have heard of Schuh, the apparel online store that achieved £1 Million in profits using video chat. What they did was showing some of their products on video when users asked for it. Customers were then making more informed decisions, increasing conversions and lowering returns.


Video chat also helps you prevent shopping cart abandonment.

We wrote an article a while back about simple ways to reduce cart abandonment. Video chat can help before, as people who engaged in a chat are less likely to abandon their cart. But it can also help rescuing carts after, when people return to your website.

It will require some work on your part, but nothing good comes easy!

You have to first work on email campaigns or retargeting to rescue carts and then welcome people coming from these campaigns with a personalized chat invite offering a discount or special advantage.




4. How easy will it be for you to get ready for video chat?


This is the biggest pain point with ecommerce video chat, mainly because it seems like much more work than it really is. The thing is you can’t just throw yourself into video chatting.


Check all items on the following list beforehand and you will be ready to start chatting:


get ready for business video chat checklist

Train your team for video chat.

This includes training about how to use the software but also about body language. This won’t take more than 2 days, the software is pretty easy to use and a full day course on body language will be good to begin with.


Make sure your call center environment is suitable for video.

This might take a little longer as you have to check what your customers will see when they video chat with you.

It includes checking the background, the lighting, if employees can easily move their chair or the camera to appear in the center of the screen. It also means that you have to check about noise. Customers shouldn’t be able to hear conversations happening around the contact center. However, this aspect is usually covered for phone communications. A good headset will do the work.


Make sure your technology is up to date.

This means buying webcams if computers don’t have built-in cams, making sure computers run smoothly so the video quality will be good. Our software runs pretty smoothly on all recent computers and systems. It however uses flash technology, so make sure your flash player is up to date.


Define what you will use video for.

Before the sale only, for post-sale support or both. You need to think about your strategy beforehand in order to make sure video chat will complement other channels (or replace them if that’s your wish).

You just need to look at your customer’s journey and see where video will fit the best.

Let’s say for example that you are selling jewelry and want to showcase your products on camera before the sale: where are your products at? Will you need special accessible display samples? Or will you just go grab the jewelry if a client asks to see it?


Once you worked on those 4 points, you can start video chatting with your head up high and all the confidence in the world. Testing will then come along the way to better your performance but you got the basics covered.



This list is also here to help you evaluate the cost of video chat implementation.

Once you do the math you will have a starting price for video chat (those are mostly one time costs). This starting price can then help you estimate how long it will take for video chat to be profitable.

The Next Web wrote a really useful article on how to create the best video chat experience. You can find a list of hardware there to help you get started.


With products from TNW list, here is the rough implementation cost for one agent (this number will most likely fit small businesses as bigger call centers might benefit from bulk prices)


cost of video chat hardware


We chose middle range product that will allow for high quality chat but are still affordable. You can of course cut the costs by selecting other solutions (I am thinking about the lighting in particular where you can use a good desk lamp with a few adjustment). Here are links to the products we selected:

– Professional video chat lighting by ViewMe

– Professional HD Webcam by Logitech

– Collapsible Background by Impact

– Noise cancelling headset by Logitech




5. Why choose video when you can have text chat?


First of all you should know that our solution offers both video and text chat for a quite affordable fee. For those that are still hesitant, the 4 points above should help you answer this question.

Here is what you should remember to make your final decision:


video chat better than text chat


Do you sell expensive, high value products? (At least more than a $100)

If yes your clients will most probably want to make an informed decision.

Video will help them with something vital: TRUST.

If you are a new store selling expensive goods it might be really hard to get your first clients. And that for one main reason: people won’t know if they can trust you. You will have to work on many things to gain that trust: Shopify wrote a great article to get you started called 5 Strategies to Get Customers to Trust Your Ecommerce Store.


Their first strategy is to be personal.

Text chat isn’t personal, and people got used to those pretending to be someone else on chat.

Video, on the other hand, offers your clients a pretty good proof that you exist and that you are who you are pretending to be (you can link to social media profiles featuring your photo to gain even more credibility).


Do you deal with technical issues that would be way easier to solve on video?

If you are not sure remember to ask your customer center employees. They will tell you if video could bring a benefit and you can then discuss it with them to build an even more efficient team.

Just keep in mind that video chat requires a computer on the customer’s part.

So if you are repairing computers you might want to find a mobile video provider. If you deal with any other products, video can save time. Think about it: text chat is great because it allows you to multitask (multichat most of the time) and same time this way.

But can you really multitask when you are dealing with a complex problem?

If you do you are either reeeeeeally good or you are pissing more than one client off. I don’t want to bet against you but chances are most of the time the second option wins.


Do you meet a lot of your clients or potential clients in person?

Then I am sorry but text chat just won’t cut it. If people feel like they need to meet you in person, it means they need to see you, and to create that special bound. Video is a pretty widely accepted alternative to in-person meeting now.

It will decrease the number of meetings you have to attend and save you precious time and money. 




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Aurelie Chazal

Inbound Marketing Manager at Customericare
New technologies and content marketing enthusiast, Aurelie takes care of Customericare's online identity. She loves meeting people from all over the world and trying all kinds of strange foods. Nothing makes her happier than a day at an amusement park.
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