Can live streaming make online customers feel like they’re in-store?
Tightening the relationship between online presence and in-store experience has become a running theme in the retail world. But one Dutch retailer has taken it a step farther, allowing customers to see into the store in real time and interact with the staff they’re watching on-screen.
Dutch cheese merchant Kaan’s has opened Kaan’s Stream Store in conjunction with bank ABN AMRO, reported Pop Up City. As shown in a promotional video, customers have access to a live stream of what’s going on inside the mom-and-pop shop. They can send chats to the employee appearing on camera who can provide information, show product and fulfill an order as if the customer were in the store.
A setup like Kaan’s Stream Store could introduce a human element into the often impersonal experience of shopping online. It’s not hard to imagine opening up an additional video chat feature that would allow for actual face-to-face communication with customers — going a step beyond the type of voice-based e-commerce used by Amazon’s Echo, Google Home and other devices.
But it’s not clear exactly where a Stream Store falls when it comes to today’s consumer trends. While the conventional wisdom is that consumers are expecting more out of their in-store retail experience, when it comes to online interaction they’re opting for more automation. Chatbots, which allow users to order products through conversations with AI, have begun to grow in popularity with customers. Restaurants like Subway and Cheesecake Factory have rolled out bots on Facebook Messenger to let users of the service order without human interaction.
Companies besides Kaan’s have recently begun to explore other creative uses of livestreaming in-store. Disney, for instance, recently introduced a new store layout for some of its brick-and-mortar stores featuring a large screen that displays a live stream of the daily parade that occurs at the company’s theme parks.
- World’s First Livestream Store Explores The Future Of Shopping – PopUp City
- ABN AMRO launches Kaan’s Stream Store – Worlds First Livestream Store – YouTube
- Will a window to Disneyland bring Disney fans to the mall? – RetailWire
- Will chatbots drive a ‘conversational commerce’ trend? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Are customers looking for features like those offered by Kaan’s Stream Store when they’re shopping online? What factors might determine whether a given retailer is successful with using a livestream this way? What might customers like or dislike about livestreaming?