Customer Stories

Askona Converts 10x More Customers with Virtual Shopping

Founded

in 1990

new customers per year

2 million

employees

8,000+


With a steadfast commitment to innovation, transparency, and customer care, furniture giant Askona holds a 48% market share in the region and has over 900 retail stores across Russia, CIS, and Europe. But even before the pandemic and lockdown that followed, it had become clear that the company wasn’t living up to its potential when it came to online sales.

“We realized that our bounce rates were problematic,” explains Director of Omnichannel Development Irina Davidova. “Too many people were leaving the site without converting, so we started analyzing why that was.” The team looked at user movements across the ecommerce experience and what they’d purchased in the past — online and off — to identify any possible roadblocks along the customer journey. That’s when a new opportunity came to light.

We’re able to follow the customer journey across channels and toward conversion, which has been 5 to 10 times higher with Between.

Irina Davidova, Director of Omnichannel Development

“As an experiment, we decided to give interested customers the possibility to call in to our physical stores to see and experience our products via video chat,” Irina says. At first, the team decided to try out apps like Skype and WhatsApp in an attempt to meet their users where they were already engaged and spending their time. But they quickly realized that those platforms wouldn’t work to create a truly seamless and elevated customer experience.

Solution

“My first priority, as always, is our user. I needed this new element to be an easy, convenient, and delightful experience,” says Irina. “On our site, that’s up to us. But with a video consultation service, there’s more at play — which is why we needed a platform specifically designed for virtual shopping.”

Irina’s team wanted to do something great right off the bat. But when they started testing out available options, they kept running into issues. “Certain services were platform-specific or required that users provide their personal phone number; others ended in store managers missing incoming calls. Our customers were using the feature, but we just weren’t getting it right.”

“Then, luckily, we found Between. To be honest, I’d grown somewhat skeptical of the virtual shopping space, so it took a few months before we finally signed on,” Irina admits. “But once we saw the demo, the hope that we could succeed in providing something truly outstanding to our customers immediately came back.”

Results

“Between delivers an awesome user experience with video consultations that are easy and engaging for both our users and our employees,” Irina says. “I didn’t have to spend any time at all on team onboarding, which was great. Between was there every step of the way. They came in and showed us how everything worked, answered all our questions, and made sure that everyone on our team was on the same page and clear on how to integrate the new function into our daily workflow and activities.”

Askona’s in-store salespeople have also reported a great experience and end results. “With over 900 store locations, only a limited number have access to Supersales at the moment — and they’re making the most of it,” Irina tells us. “The account is never idle; when people go on breaks they make sure someone else is in charge of the device. They all want to stay connected.

This isn’t just another digital tool or memo sent from corporate; it’s something our employees are really excited about, and something more and more of our stores are requesting because it’s a clear sales driver for them.

Even more importantly, Irina reports that the company’s customers love it as well. “We’ve seen an amazing decrease in bounce rates. And what’s really valuable is that we’ve been able to analyze a new set of user behavior. We see that the people calling in aren’t always necessarily at the point of purchase — but we’re able to follow their journey across channels and toward conversion, which has been 5 to 10 times higher since we started working with Supersales.”

Why it Works

When shopping for furniture online, people want to understand if what they’re buying will look good in their existing interior space. That means matching up items with wall color, curtain patterns, cushion textiles, and a host of other possible elements. With video consultations, virtual shopping makes it possible to speak and consult with a product expert and review select items and fabric or material options without having to go back and forth to a brick-and-mortar store while making design decisions — or without ever having to leave the comfort of home. And on the business side, there’s no need to waste resources and shipping costs on samples that can be viewed and experienced virtually.

Just imagine, I’m sitting in my kitchen, in my pajamas. Nobody can see me, but I’m going shopping in a store and I’m buying a sofa. It’s like some kind of magic.

For Askona, it worked like a charm. “Just imagine,” Irina muses. “I’m sitting in my kitchen, in my pajamas. Nobody can see me, but I’m going shopping in a store and I’m buying a sofa. It’s like some kind of magic. With Between, there’s no strain or stress; just an enjoyable process, great service, and a superior customer experience at every waypoint.”

Looking to humanize your customer’s online shopping experience?

Consider Between. We offer a unique one-to-one live video experience.