May 20, 2004, 12:00 AM

How video live chat helps art seller CallofAfrica.com

Selling art online requires satisfying finicky buyers’ demands for details of paintings, frames and size, says Ross Parker, owner of online gallery CallofAfrica.com. A new video live chat tool is making his job easier.

Selling art online requires satisfying finicky buyers’ demands for details of paintings, frames and size in proper context, says Ross Parker, owner of Native Vision Galleries` CallofAfrica.com. A new video live chat tool is making his job easier.

Parker started using the ShopLive Live Personal Shopping Assistant from ShopLive.com at the beginning of this year. The live chat tool enables online shoppers to click an icon to enter a live chat session with a sales rep, who can be seen in a live video on the CallofAfrica web site.

After taking questions from a shopper regarding the art she wants to consider buying, the sales rep can walk through the gallery with a laptop and video camera mounted on a cart, answering questions while also showing live video of artwork. The video can zoom in on particular pieces of artwork of interest to the shopper, including paintings and sculpture, to show fine details like artists’ signatures or the intricacies of frame designs, Parker says. The tool works particularly well in displaying sculpture, since it can provide a 360-degree view, Parker says.

Parker says the video live chat has already brought incremental sales, because it helps to answer shoppers questions quickly before they leave to shop elsewhere. It also has saved customer service expenses related to photographing new artwork and sending the photos to prospective customers. "Our photography costs are down 50%," he says, "and we usually spend a fortune on photos."

Now, instead of waiting for photos delivered in the mail or for new artwork to be uploaded to the web site, customers can use the ShopLive feature to get an instant look inside the gallery. "They can see the actual size of the artwork, with the sales person standing next to it," Parker says.

 

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