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The human touch – delivered via technology

Apple store
Apple is providing online access to associates (Photo via Shutterstock).

Leading-edge communication technology enables retailers to conduct highly personalized, one-on-one customer interactions – at scale.

While many observers lament how technology is making our lives less personalized, or how advanced AI tools like ChatGPT are becoming too personal, many retailers and retail solution providers are busy using technology to offer shoppers genuine human interaction.

Following is a look at how consumer electronics brand Apple, wedding retailer David’s Bridal, and payment technology platform Klarna are all connecting customers to human expert assistance with digital interfaces.


Apple has a new live shopping experience on its U.S. e-commerce site. The consumer electronics giant is introducing a virtual service called Shop with a Specialist over Video, which connects U.S. customers looking to purchase an iPhone with a retail associate via a secure, one-way video shopping session. With this new service, customers can browse models, explore features, and learn about offers such as trade-ins, carrier deals, switching to iOS, and various financing options.

Customers can visit the dedicated page of the Apple e-commerce site, and in a few clicks, instantly connect with an Apple associate for advice on selecting the best iPhone model. Once connected, customers can compare features, colors, sizes, and find the best deal through the Apple trade-in program or their carrier.

Shop with a Specialist over Video is available to customers in the U.S. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT every day on the Apple website. During the session, an Apple associate will be on camera sharing their screen, but they will not be able to see the customer. If customers find that a session is unavailable or access the page after-hours, they can contact an associate over the phone or via chat 24 hours a day.

David’s Bridal

Customers can now contact David's Bridal anytime day or night via the LivePerson-based Zoey mobile CRM tool to book appointments, text with stylists to resolve questions or get advice, and place secure orders. David’s Bridal initially launched Zoey, which combines automated technology with real people to provide personalized consumer service at scale, in January 2020.

In addition, David’s Bridal enables customers to virtually book and conduct personalized, customized shopping. Now, hundreds of stylists will be available to assist brides and bridal parties from around the world on the Zoom video communications platform.

After booking an appointment online, a Zoom link will be sent to the customer via email for their video styling session. To personalize their appointment, customers can fill out their style profile and vision board. Both tools outline questions that will help determine a bride’s wedding day vibe and give their stylist an idea of gowns to personally recommend based on the customer’s style and budget. 

Customers can share Zoom links with anyone they like. Once a bride has selected a gown, David’s will place the order and email the personalized details.

Appointments can be scheduled with an expert stylist directly from the website. David's stylists can show dresses, color swatches, provide styling advice on veils, and more. The retailer also offers specialized video appointments to review accessories.


Global payments provider and shopping platform Klarna is utilizing live video and messaging to bridge the digital and in-store shopping experiences. The Virtual Shopping from Klarna solution, used by brands including Levi’s, Hugo Boss, and Herman Miller, connects online shoppers directly with human experts in physical stores through live chats and video calls.

Customers connect with an in-store expert when they click the Virtual Shopping icon on integrated stores from the retailer’s websites. Once connected, they can chat, receive photos and videos, follow product recommendations, and have a two-way video chat. Klarna’s aim is to recreate the experience a customer would receive in-store. 

Once enabled with the solution, retailers can gain insights into shopper interactions and sales. To connect with online shoppers, in-store experts can use the retailer-facing Klarna Store App to engage consumers by text, chat and video for interactions such as making personalized recommendations and scheduling in-store appointments.

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