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3 Online Video Communication Trends for 2021

This guest post by AB Tasty explores three key trends for video communication in 2021! As the world moves to remote-friendly tools, video communication is trending in a big way. This article explores trends like the virtual experience economy and virtual concierges.
January 6, 2021 • About 5 min. read

If there’s one thing we realized since the pandemic kicked off in March, it’s the importance of online video communication.

Apps like HouseParty, FaceTime, and yes - Livestorm - helped businesses, families, schools, and cultural institutions to keep functioning. Social distancing regulations drastically accentuated online digital communications, forcing everyone to find new ways to shop, learn, and generally stay connected. Webinars, virtual events, and corporate internal video communication took on a whole new level of importance.

This pandemic will come to an end. These shifts in how we connect digitally may be here to stay.

To help untangle what’s coming around the bend for marketers in light of these changes, we at AB Tasty (an A/B testing and customer experience optimization company) worked with TrendWatching to predict the trends that will shape digital customer experience in 2021.

Here, we break down 3 of these 11 trends, and show how Livestorm can help you get ahead of the curve.

Trend #1: The Virtual Experience Economy

In 2021, experiences that happen virtually are going to take on a whole new level of meaning. Just because it didn’t happen ‘in real life’, doesn’t mean it doesn’t count as a status play.

For example, National Geographic recently launched an AR experience allowing Instagram users to ‘visit’ Mount Everest. During the experience, users can visualize themselves in climbing gear, take selfies and record video clips – including 360-degree panoramas of Everest. Viewers can also see their breath by opening their mouth.

Similarly, In April 2020, the J. Paul Getty Museum in California created a tool that allowed Animal Crossing: New Horizons players to decorate their in-game environment and avatar with mini replicas of artworks from the museum’s openaccess collection. Using the Animal Crossing Art Generator tool, players of the Nintendo Switch title could search art and artists from the collection, or choose from some pre-selected options, then scan the generated QR code to bring the artwork into their game to use on clothing, wallpaper and canvases.

The bottom line? We’re all spending so much more time in ‘virtual worlds’ that we’re adding extra layers of meaning to our digital experiences.

Lessons from Livestorm

Aside from climbing mountains and adding classical art to your gaming, chances are you’re spending a lot more time in webinars and virtual meeting rooms, too. Whether it’s to give yourselves some privacy (does everyone want their messy rooms on display?) or to cheer up your colleagues, there’s no harm in adding a virtual background tool to your online video experiences. We’ve got a guide to how to choose the right virtual background tool, so you can easily liven up your (onscreen) day.

Trend #2: Virtual Concierges

Another consequence of the lockdowns and social distancing? It’s made shopping a lot more hands off. Consumers like to get a sense of the items they’re browsing, try on a product, or benefit from expert advice from a salesperson. That’s why we see virtual concierges as an incoming trend.

June 2020 saw the retailer Lowe’s introduce Pros JobSIGHT, a free tool allowing carpenters, electricians, plumbers and other home professionals to consult with customers virtually. Customers can share issues via video, and the tool uses augmented reality to identify the parts needed; professionals can guide homeowners through the repair using an on-screen laser and a drawing tool.

When it comes to e-commerce, Shopify teamed up with virtual shopping technology provider Hero to provide a more immersive experience for customers. Hero integrated its virtual shopping experience in the e-commerce platform, allowing merchants to answer product questions, provide advice and check inventories, similar to an in-store experience. The feature also helps store employees reach out to customers through mobile text messages with personalized recommendations and direct links to online products.

Lessons from Livestorm

Companies don’t have to get fancy to bring virtual concierges to their customers. A simple online meeting with a consultant or salesperson can do the trick to provide personalized advice when it makes sense. This is the approach that bridal line BHLDN took in offering virtual styling appointments through a simple online meeting, where customers can get a (virtually) in-store experience from a stylist.

When it comes to a learning or corporate environment, collaborative tools like virtual whiteboards can help teams stay connected and share ideas. If you’re using Livestorm, our integration with Miro will let you do just that: show notes, host team workshops, and get everyone involved with virtual post-its.

Trend #3: Connect the Dots

Our third trend involves connecting the dots of the different touchpoints of the customer journey. Now more than ever, consumers expect fluid experiences that they can start on one device and pick up on another.

Take Costa Coffee. In October 2020, this British chain implemented a mobile contactless ordering system across their Express locations in the UK. Activated when a customer is in close proximity to a Costa Express machine, the new service is available through the Costa Coffee Club app.

Customers click on the ‘Express’ icon on the app’s landing page, scan a QR code to browse the available options, and customize and tap ‘make drink’ after putting the corresponding cup on the drink platform. Payment instructions are provided on the coffee machine’s touch screen. Rewards points, redeemable across all UK Costa Coffee stores, are automatically collected in the app.

Or what about Apple’s Fitness+, the online workout program that syncs with users’ Apple Watch and Health App. Participants will be able to keep track of their metrics (such as heart rate, calories burned and pace) using their Apple Watch – the metrics also appear in real-time onscreen, providing extra motivation and personalized insights during the session.

With less flexibility and an increasing desire for convenience, consumers want services to be synced, experiences to be seamless and redundancies to be limited to a minimum.

Lessons from Livestorm

For companies, ‘connecting the dots’ means keeping track of customer data and integrating your techstack in intelligent ways. Luckily, Livestorm integrates with over 1,000 technologies, like HubSpot, Salesforce, Google Ads and many, many others. Join the dots for your customers by pushing data into your technology ecosystem so that you can keep customer experiences absolutely seamless across channels and devices.

Wrapping Up

The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many of our physical experiences online. Though things will start to go ‘back to normal’ sooner or later, chances are this behavioral shift will have some lasting effects. More meaningful virtual experiences, virtual concierges to help us shop, and heightened expectations around seamless experiences is just the beginning. Online video communication tools will continue to play an important role in our daily lives, as both consumers and companies find new ways to stay connected while staying safe.

If you’re interested in learning more about the other digital marketing trends of 2021, you can download the entire report.

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Robin Nichols
Senior Global Content and PR Manager at AB Tasty
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