WebRTC World Feature Article

December 02, 2013

Using WebRTC on Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is here, and that means many consumers will be spending their day where they usually are – on the Internet. This year’s online shopping discount day, which is predicted to reach more than $2 billion in revenue, may see some websites sporting new features, like being able to video chat with customer service representatives. Many consumers opt for shopping on huge deal days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday because of the savings they can get on high-value items. When the deal is only valid for a few hours or one day, they may not want to put their questions or decisions on the back burner for comparisons or to shop around. This is where WebRTC functionality can come in handy.

While WebRTC isn’t a technology made primarily for the hustle and bustle of days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it is an added value to these high-traffic shopping days. Having real-time communications capabilities like Web chat and data channel functionality like screen sharing can help answer simple questions and move consumers along to check out.

But offering chat, sharing or video capabilities as an add-on to a retailer’s website to guide shoppers to the checkout more quickly might not be enough incentive to implement this technology. Another angle to look at how WebRTC can benefit retailers is the issue of streamlining post-sales customer support, and working to reduce product returns. The value of “within the Web” voice and video customer service would be to make customers satisfied customers who will stay loyal to the brand, reduce the volume of returns, solve problems faster and help reduce the cost and length of 800-number calls with no context, explained Lawrence Byrd, WebRTC and software evangelist .

The Amazon Mayday button on Kindle HDX is an example of adding value to the overall “whole product” with the right mix of WebRTC-type customer service communications. The Mayday button makes easy customer service a top-level product feature, making WebRTC functionality a case of why people should by products rather than how.

This is “rich customer experience design” in action driving market share, Byrd explained.

A popular player in WebRTC API services is Twilio, which powers communications and services for a number of companies, including eBay’s StubHub for an automated ticketing availability solution, Home Depot’s contact center and “Values of the day” campaign for Walmart Labs.

Zingaya is another player in the WebRTC space and offers demos for connecting to companies like Google, Zappos, Apple, AT&T or Intuit. Getting in touch is as easy as a click to call. We also saw WebRTC put to use in online retail experiences from OpenClove, which demonstrated its platform used for online shopping with social aspects at the WebRTC Conference & Expo in Santa Clara, Calif. With the OpenClove platform, sharing a link and information with friends via social media helps make online shopping similar to real-life shopping – anyone who has ever asked anyone for their opinion before purchasing knows exactly what we mean.

WebRTC adds value to customer service by integrating it into a Web service rather than requiring customers to communicate separately via a phone call. As the Internet becomes the go-to location for many transactions and communications – look at the growth of Cyber Monday over the years – companies will need to adapt in order to better serve their customers. WebRTC is one step in that direction.

Image via Shutterstock

Edited by Ryan Sartor


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