100,000 downloads for Live Video Chat App within 6 weeks
At the end of 2017, the Dutch retail chain Kijkshop launched a revolutionary App that facilitated consumers with a live video chat function. With the App, which was called KijkBijMij (in English Look At Me), consumers were able to obtain purchase advice from other consumers via a live video chat. If the advice led to a purchase, the advisor was rewarded with a purchase commission of 5%.
The success of the App KijkBijMij
Prior to the launch of KijkBijMij, a crowdfunding campaign was launched. The investors behind the platform and the retail chain could easily have taken care of the investment themselves, but in this case, the crowd was 'used' to create support among consumers. Within 6 weeks more than 1.2 Million dollars were raised. It was one of the highest amounts raised in the Netherlands in 2017 and showed the enthusiasm of the consumer.
After the launch, there were more than 100,000 downloads within 6 weeks. In the Netherlands, which has only 16 million inhabitants, this is a considerable number for an e-commerce App that has seldom been achieved before. The media were also full of praise for the concept. It is a way to get truly independent advice. After all, the advising consumer did not benefit in any way from which the product was purchased.
Within 4 weeks, 60% of Kijkshop's turnover came from the KijkBijMij App.
Consumers who used the KijkBijMij app for their purchase received an additional discount on their purchase in the first weeks. As a result, within 4 weeks 60% of the total turnover was generated via the KijkBijMij app.
The strategy behind the KijkBijMij App
At the time of the introduction of KijkBijMij App, the parent company and retail chain Kijkshop was in distress. The KijkBijMij App was the last resort to improve its performance. Kijkshop was one of the oldest Dutch retail chains and traditionally sold various products such as irons, toothbrushes, vacuum cleaners, and other small household products.
Over the years, the range had dropped to the cheapest range of products available on the Dutch market. As a result, the average purchase price and the margin fell to a minimum. Because the sales numbers also decreased, there was little future for Kijkshop. The KijkBijMij App had to alter this.
Cost savings on the call center thanks to live video chat
Selling small household appliances involves a lot of work when it comes to service and after-sales. A large internal call center was therefore used to answer all questions after purchase. Thanks to the KijkBijMij App, huge cost savings could be accomplished. In the approximately 90 shops, there was always someone who had little to do. The idea was to forward incoming calls to shop staff who could then use the consumer's Smartphone camera to see what was going on with a product. The shop assistant would then be able to see immediately whether the product was malfunctioning and could be returned or help the customer get the product up and running.
Product ambassadors via Live Video Chat
Especially for the more expensive products, the consumer prefers thorough purchase advice. How do you know which vacuum cleaner to buy? Or which microwave is right for you? The higher the purchase price, the more confident the consumer wants to be about his purchase. The KijkBijMij App had to seduce the suppliers to offer their higher segment through the retail chain.
In the first few weeks, the strategy seemed to be working. Despite the earlier downfall of the retail chain, some A-brands had the courage, thanks to the revolutionary App, to sell their assortment through the App and site. This was on the condition that the product range would not be available in the store because these stores had a huge backlog of maintenance work.
The A-brand suppliers were very charmed by the idea that consumers could advise other consumers about their purchase via Live Video Chat. Knowing what advice led to a purchase, they were able to see who their product ambassadors were. This offered many opportunities for the future.
The downfall of Kijkshop
Despite the success of the introduction of KijkBijMij and the potential for purchase advice via live video chat, the retail chain went bankrupt the same year. The cause had several reasons, but one of the most important was that not enough advice worthy assortment could be offered soon enough. No one is waiting for a live video chat to buy a 10 dollar iron. Consumers who advise each other via live video chat is a unique concept with a lot of potentials, however for an assortment for which they need advice. Among other things, Kijkshop underestimated how long it would take after years of decay to attract the right brands and the right assortment again.
KijkBijMij the relaunch
Due to the belief that consumers would like to advise each other via live video chat, the former management of Kijkshop and the investors behind the chain decided to make a relaunch with the KijkBijMij App. The shops were closed and what remained was a site and App where people could advise each other online and in App. When KijkBijMij was reintroduced, the media once again praised the idea. A platform like KijkBijMij didn't need any shops at all. Unfortunately, once again the same problem emerged that had previously caused problems for Kijkshop. How to find the right A-brands in a timely manner with an assortment worthy of advice.
By default, KijkBijMij went live with the same kettles, vacuum cleaners and other small household appliances with an average purchase value of no more than 30 dollars. From day one it was predictable how that would end. Advice via live video interaction works, but not for very cheap B-brand products. Again it was not possible to find the right suppliers in time and after a short attempt by the management to turn it into a successful dumping price e-commerce platform, this adventure also collapsed.
Conclusion: does live video chat work for purchase advice?
TheONE was the inventor of the strategy and builder of the KijkBijMij platform and therefore had insight into the usage and sales figures.
- The success of the crowdfunding campaign indicates that consumers are waiting for a solution in which they can advise each other via live video chat prior to purchasing.
- The enormous number of downloads of KijkBijMij proves the consumer's interest in the platform.
- The fact that within 4 weeks 60% of the total turnover went through the App only partly says that there was interest because there was also an incentive attached to it.
- Since there was no prompt advice worthy assortment available, it cannot be proven that the majority of consumers need purchase advice via live video chat. The fact that a number of consumers called each other for advice shows that the concept has a lot of potential.
- Because the KijkBijMij platform has only existed for a very short time, there are no convincing figures available that live video interaction has contributed substantially to the turnover.
After the launch and re-launch, several parties have shown an interest in the KijkBijMij platform. TheONE has no insight into how the conversations with interested parties have unfolded and whether KijkBijMij will ever appear on the market again. In the meantime, the used techniques and implemented marketing mechanism that were applied are partly outdated.
When KijkBijMij comes back on the market it will probably require large-scale software updates and new marketing mechanisms. It is, therefore, more likely that, based on new insights and techniques, TheONE will be asked to use its knowledge and skills for new initiatives that make use of live video chat in a commercial manner.
If you have ant questions about launching an app or platform with integrated live video chat functionality, you can always contact someone from TheONE.