What is it?
GoInStore is a new technology that essentially enables users browsing a retailer’s website to enter its physical store and interact with staff via webcam.
According to GoInStore, its video tech has a proven 20–30 per cent conversion rate. It has already partnered with apparel retailer Alex Arigato, electronics retailer Maplin, and music store Thomann.
Through a one-way visual connection and two-way audio connection, you’re able to interact with store staff and ask questions about items, stock and recommendations as you would in store.
They can only hear you, but the user can essentially see what staff are seeing through the use of either a smartphone or smart glasses.
How does it work?
When browsing the site, a small bar will pop up on the right of the page saying: “view store live”.
It then connects to a device in store and will load until a member of staff picks up. Once you allow the service to use your microphone, a staff member will pop up on screen and you can begin chatting.
The interaction then largely plays out like any real life in-store experience. During our demo with Axel Arigato, the staff were happy to show us around the shop and allow us to select any items that caught our eye, and provide information on the sizes available and immediate stock.
The staff member has an ear piece where they can listen to you, leaving their hands free to move the camera around the store as well as present stock for you.
How well does it work?
Like any connection via the internet there are a few latency issues, meaning you occasionally speak over each other during conversation and the sound will occasionally drop out. However, anyone who has used Skype will be used to this and it detracts very little from the overall experience.
The image quality was excellent and gave a very clear picture of what to expect from the items, far more than pictures and write-ups from a traditional retail website would offer.
The ability to ask questions about what you’re buying is also a huge plus, negating the need to wade through reviews before committing to a sale.
That said, having very little previous experience of Axel Arigato, we had nothing in mind about what to especially buy. This never felt like an issue, and it certainly offered an enhanced browsing experience, providing a much clearer idea of what the products were before parting with our money.
Anyone familiar with Skype will know that connection quality plays a big part, although there is little GoInStore can do to tackle this: the quality of the experience is unavoidably at its whim. This is also true of the staff members you interact with.
Should I try it?
There have been a few attempts at utilising AR or VR to simulate the in-store experience. These require cumbersome headsets and are fairly isolating experiences.
What’s special about GoInStore is that anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can experience the real thing, with genuine interaction.
This means there is every reason to give it a go, especially for purchases where an in-depth assessment of the product is needed, like a musical instrument with Thomann.
For stores with a smaller physical presence like Axel Arigato, it also offers fans from around the world the chance to pop into the shop and interact with its staff. It is easy to see why this could translate to greater conversion rates.