Eyekandy recently launched a new sales solution with Velorution, blending live video with augmented reality shopping. Rebecca Morley catches up with Lawrence Bywater, digital marketing manager at Velorution, to find out more
One of the biggest changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought to retail was the shift in consumers’ shopping habits, with many chains noting a rise in people purchasing online.
It has therefore meant that bridging online and offline sales became important very quickly, and while bike shops were able to remain open during each lockdown, many retailers still looked for ways to boost their online offerings.
Augmented reality provider Eyekandy recently launched a pioneering new sales solution with Velorution, blending AR with live video. “We were looking for something to boost online sales, I guess like everyone else, because of the pandemic,” says Lawrence Bywater, digital marketing manager at Velorution. “The second thing is we were looking for a solution that can be used by everyone.
“The Eyekandy solution can be used to set up multiple different users – I could take calls and the guys in store could take calls. So that was the second thing, and then the third one is basically just something different from the norm. I’ve been at Velorution since June last year and Jonathan, the CEO, likes to do things a little differently.
“This works because it combines augmented reality with video. It has the ability to be used by anyone, any colleague at Velorution could use it. Jonathan knew of Scott, who runs [Eyekandy]; and you get loads of people offering free trials of this software and that software but this was one that we did want to do because we just wanted something to boost online sales.
“Particularly with a considered purchase like the Gocycle, this enables us to answer any questions they have or see the bike in person in their room, which they might not have been able to do during the last few months or so.”
Velorution has had it online for a couple of months now, Bywater continues, and of the people who viewed it, 40% of people interacted within it in some way. “Whether that’s clicking the button to initiate a video call or clicking the augmented reality button – you can solely just use the augmented reality button if you wish, rather than actually video calling as well.
“From a retail perspective, customers use it for so many different reasons. One guy was asking about shipping, one person was asking about the features. This is far more immersive than simple live chat or our customer service helpdesk so in this way we have something we can immediately build a more intimate personal relationship with the customer.”
While the rise of online sales has been well-documented during the pandemic, it’s a trend that many retailers had been witnessing anyway, and Bywater says the combination of both is why Velorution decided to do this.
“We’re doing 200% growth year on year on the site at the moment. That’s the pandemic and more people cycling and more people moving to online. We continue to invest heavily in web development and physical store locations to support this and the addition of our offering on the fenwick.co.uk site means our online reach has been taken into the wider premium retail lifestyle market. We’re going to roll it out to three more products including the new Gocycle, and just see how it goes from there.”
In terms of general business during the pandemic, Bywater says Velorution has been lucky in the sense that it’s been able to stay open and the locations that it’s got in London are residential enough that they survive during the pandemic.
“They weren’t purely in areas where they had to rely on office trade. It’s difficult to compare year on year but the April just gone, we were 20% up on the previous April, so it’s still doing really well for us. I guess the biggest issue is stock. We tend to work directly with a lot of suppliers outside of the EU and shipping stuff into the UK with Brexit has been a pain. That’s our biggest challenge at the moment.”