ViDGREETS – the name says it all. With this feature, customers in the online shop can quickly pack and send video greetings with their order.
Retailers can also use it to send messages to their customers. In an interview, Marco van Eersel talks about all the possibilities of QR code-based services, the importance of personalization, and looks to the future of retail in these turbulent times.
Mr. van Eersel, why is personalization becoming more and more important in online commerce, and what role do new technologies play?
There are some examples of prominent online shops with customized products. I think that with the interchangeable offerings of the major platforms, such promotions are particularly well received by customers who do not want to choose everything ready-made. The features have to be suitable for the masses, but still be customizable in a clever way. So, we need applications that consumers can tailor to their specific needs or occasions. The technology for such offers has to be easy to manage.
How would you describe the purchasing behavior of customers online?
Up to now, online shoppers have concentrated on product features and price, while local customers are increasingly looking for advice and expect a shopping experience. However, personalized offers and features can also make a visit to an online shop more emotional and generate a special shopping experience. Individual and personalized products are a wonderful way to stand out from the crowd. It's perfect if I can tell a story with a product. This makes it an experience for the customer.
You offer such a feature with ViDGREETS. What's behind it?
You create a video with a nice message to friends and family and send it using QR code technology. To do so, no app, no YouTube, no messenger, and no registration are required. It is particularly charming when the code with the video message is printed on a greeting card, for example, and reaches the recipient. A tool for virtual hugs, which is good for everyone right now! In the business environment, ViDGREETS can also be used to transmit moving images for tutorials, maintenance tips, or assembly instructions to the customer, if possible, directly with the QR code on the product.
What does the technical implementation look like?
ViDGREETS can be integrated into all web-based systems either by an individualized plugin or a module that we develop according to the shop's specifications. And it can be used on all web-enabled end devices without the need to install any apps directly in the browser. The customer is given the opportunity to record a video at the checkout of the online shop or at another point in the web-based application. With our plugin online shop visitors can record their messages in the browser, upload a video file, and send it themselves or have it sent with the respective product.
What do you think is necessary for the most comprehensive shopping experience possible?
The combination of online and offline is exciting. So, actions that I can play through all channels. The consumer recognizes the features of their online shop in a similar way in the store. This combination is a feature of ViDGREETS. Take a furniture store, for example, that gives the customer a video with assembly instructions for the new shelf. The code is glued directly onto the packaging. The customer already knows these tutorials from the furniture supplier's online shop. It is a great experience when you can use known tools online and at the point of sale.
What should retailers not forget in their marketing strategy?
Never lose sight of your customers and their needs. Show how the product changes the everyday life of your customers. Tell them how the product is used and how this changes or improves the situation for them. Needs, emotions, understanding, and proximity are sustainable issues, especially in times of crisis such as the one we are currently experiencing. If you have a medium or an application through which the need for proximity and understanding can be fulfilled at least a little, this is worth more than any marketing strategy; it is "added value" in the truest sense of the word.
A look into the future: How will we shop in 20 years?
I believe that the current situation will lead to greater acceptance of online business among small and medium-sized retailers and that regional retailers in particular will find access to digitization. Customers expect technical solutions that assist them in their shopping: Mobile navigation to the product ranges in the store or real-time offers on the smartphone. Or the manufacturer's video message with assembly instructions for the new shelf, which can be found directly on the packaging.