Universal Standard is a women’s fashion company specializing in creating sleek, urban looks that are tailored to be stylish at any size. We met with Jason Rappaport, Universal Standard’s Chief of Staff, to learn about the unique way the company uses Gruveo to reach customers and offer a truly personalized shopping experience.
Can you tell us about your business?
We are a women's fashion company based in New York and in Seattle, Washington that specializes in women's clothing sizes 6 to 32. We are primarily e-commerce, so most people buy via our website, but we also have presence in a few select retailers.
What kind of interactions do you use video conferencing for?
We use video conferencing for a really unique purpose. We call it “a virtual showroom”. Wherever a customer is located – Des Moines, Iowa, Washington DC or anywhere in the world, really – they can make an appointment on our website to be able to speak to one of our stylists in our Seattle location.
The customer can see the stylist live in person and ask them anything from styling tips to pulling our different dresses, shirts or whatever. They are also able to see our stylist try on the different clothing. It's a way for us to interact with our customers no matter where they're located so they can see our clothing live on a screen from the comfort of their couch.
"We wanted to find a platform that would be very, very seamless and would not require our customer to download anything."
What kind of setup do you have on the stylist’s end?
We have an iPad on a wheeled stand five to six feet away from the stylist. We usually put a rack of clothing behind the stylist. That way, they can present the clothing and see the customer, and the customer can see the stylist, too. It's just a really unique way to have one person be able to operate the video call.
There are mainstream video conferencing services like Hangouts, Skype, FaceTime. What prompted you to look for an alternative?
We wanted to find a platform that would be very, very seamless and would not require our customer to download anything. We want our customer to be able to use it on their laptop, on their desktop, on their iPhone, on their iPad, on their Android phone. And we didn't want the platform to be tied to a desktop or a laptop on our end because we want to have the flexibility to roll around an iPad throughout the showroom and take the customer on the shopping experience with us.
There are a lot of platforms out there that work wonderfully on a desktop but don’t work on an iPad. The platform might require a download or a lot more setting up, which we didn't want to have the customer go through. We want the customer to not have to think about it, just click one button and be connected with us.
How did you come across Gruveo?
I did extensive research online and looked into many different platforms that ranged in prices from free to many thousands of dollars per month. I don't know exactly how I found it – I’m sure it was down one rabbit hole on Google late at night – but I eventually came across Gruveo and we’ve been very happy with it.
"We were able to get up and running with Gruveo within a matter of hours."
Were you skeptical at first?
Yes. I was skeptical whether Gruveo’s video and audio quality would be up to the same standards as those of the other companies charging lots of money. We've been really, really pleasantly surprised here.
What was also important to us was that Gruveo's price point allowed us to test the whole virtual showroom concept. We weren't really aware of too many companies that were doing this and we didn't want to put thousands of dollars into a test if we weren't sure we wanted to proceed with it longer-term.
We were able to get up and running with Gruveo within a matter of hours, rather than having weeks of setup calls and unnecessary charges.
"Gruveo has enabled us to reach our customers in a new, dynamic way and we've been able to do that in a cost efficient manner."
This actually ties into the next question: How easy was Gruveo to implement and get going?
For what we're using it for right now, it was very easy. Obviously, there are platforms out there that have call scheduling, queuing, routing to different agents and all those other features. But for the purposes that we are using it for – this current test of how the virtual showroom is going to work – it couldn't be any easier.
We send a call link out to our customers via Calendly, which is our appointment scheduling application, and all they have to do is literally click the button.
Once we’ve had Gruveo installed on our iPad and we had the iPad set up where we wanted it, our virtual showroom stylist was able to use Gruveo like any other app. It was very little time to get them up and running.
You've been using Gruveo for four or five months now. How is it working out for you?
For the combination of quality, cost and customer service, we couldn't be any happier. Gruveo has enabled us to test a really unique concept with very, very little implementation effort and at a cost that we could feel comfortable with.
Overall, how has Gruveo helped your business?
Gruveo has enabled us to reach our customers in a new, dynamic way and we've been able to do that in a cost efficient manner. We can now offer a really personalized shopping experience to our customers no matter where they are.
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