Best Virtual Meeting Platforms for Retail RDNs
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
The pandemic and resulting need to social distance, forced retail dietitians to change the way they communicate to team members and consumers and shift from in person conversations to virtual meeting platforms. These platforms provide a means to stay connected, exchange information, and reach consumers in order to keep departments and educational programming running smoothly and consistently. However, finding the best platforms for different work functions can be confusing. To help you break through the clutter, here is a quick list of those platforms with high ratings and the best uses for each:
- Zoom – This platform will allow you to hold virtual meetings, as well as conduct educational classes, webinars, and more. During Zoom meetings, users can concurrently share messages and documents with each other through Zoom’s chat tool. A basic plan with a Zoom meeting is free to use for unlimited time and offers unlimited meetings with a 40-minute time limit for each.
- Microsoft Teams - Microsoft Teams is a sub-feature of the Microsoft Office 365 platform. With teams you can hold meetings with up to 300 participants alongside access for guests, person-to-person and team video, phone calls, and desktop sharing for easy collaboration. This service is free with sign-up using an email address.
- Adobe Connect - Adobe Connect offers desktop sharing, messaging, and video chat features, but you can also make smaller sites, organize emails, and make digital rooms customizable to your company brand. The cost to hold meetings on this platform starts at $50 per month while webinars go for the starting price of $130 per month.
- Cisco WebEx - Cisco Webex is excellent for online video classes and webinars. It is also known for its security features. Webex includes seamless integration with Outlook and the ability to use it across different platforms including Mac, Windows and iPads. WebEx is great for teams that are working remotely.
- Slack - Slack makes access to your team members easy as you can message anyone inside or outside your organization and work together much as you would in person. People can work in dedicated spaces called channels so that no matter your location, time zone, or function, you can access the information you need on your own time. Using this service costs $8 per person or $15 per month.
- Google Meet – With Google Meet anyone with a Google Account can use this web conferencing solution to create an online meeting with up to 100 participants and meet for up to 60 minutes per meeting. Companies can take advantage of advanced features, including meetings with up to 250 internal or external participants and live streaming to up to 100,000 viewers within a domain. Google Meet is a free video conferencing tool with paid plans that range from $6 per user per month to $18 per user per month.
- Healthie – Healthie is an all-in-one telehealth software that allows you to integrate scheduling, charting and billing for consumer wellness consultations. Sessions can be held on any device and HIPAA-compliant video sessions are end-to-end encrypted providing the highest level of security possible. If you have 10 or less clients the program is free but the cost goes up per month after that. Each level does have a 14-day free trial.
- Hero - Hero allows stores to create short, shoppable videos highlighting their products that can be shared within the online shopping experience. At ShopRite, when customers access the service on the ShopRite website, they will see a pop-up box that prompts them to chat virtually with a dietitian. This feature has allowed RDNs to instantly connect with online customers for guidance in a very convenient and personal way to provide educational selling.