October 8, 2009, 12:00 AM

WebSPlean makes avators give shoppers the personal touch

An avator on a retailer’s web site doesn’t have to be limited in what it can convey to customers, says Alecia Venkataraman, marketing manager for WebSPlean, a company that began offering customized avators six weeks ago.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

An avator on a retailer’s web site doesn’t have to be limited in what it can convey to customers, says Alecia Venkataraman, marketing manager for WebSPlean, a company that began offering web sites technology to offer customized avators six weeks ago.

Retailers can select from hundreds of prerecorded videos featuring professional actors serving as personas, or create their own personas. The system then uses a visitor’s IP address to offer customized messages based on the visitor’s location, the date and time of day, whether they’ve visited the site before and whatever else, such as specific product offers, the retailer seeks to emphasize.

The result is personalized messages that greet repeat customers with “Welcome back” or customers browsing late at night with “Our web site never sleeps and apparently neither do you. We hope you are not too tired to…”

To do show the personalized messages, retailers insert a single line of code onto their site-all the recorded videos as well as custom-built front- and back-end infrastructure are housed on the WebSPlean server.

“You don’t need to know anything about web sites,” says Venkataraman. “Everything is housed on our server.”

Since WebSPlean’s launch, it has been tested out by retailers ranging from car dealerships to those selling cosmetics, as well as other small businesses. Venkataraman declined to name the specific businesses since the product is still in the testing phase. Pricing ranges from free hosted video content with ads from third-party sponsors running at the bottom of the avatars, to several hundred dollars for a customized, 60-second avatar video greeting and about $2,000 or more for a set of custom video greetings.

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