October 6, 2010, 3:07 PM

Lands’ End launches live video chat

Lands’ End Live lets shoppers see and talk to their online personal shopping assistant.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Lands’ End Live, the new live video chat service from apparel retailer Lands’ End, lets shoppers see and talk to a personal shopping assistant as they exchange messages on LandsEnd.com. The service is the first of its kind offered by an apparel retailer in the U.S., the retailer says.

Lands’ End, a subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp., No. 8 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is tying the launch of its new web shopping tool to this week’s designation as National Customer Service Week.

“Establishing personal connections with our customers has always been an important part of who we are at Lands’ End,” says Joan Conlin, vice president of customer care services. “Offering our LandsEnd.com users real-time, one-on-one personal shopper assistance makes online shopping even more efficient and enjoyable.”

While linked to consumers via the one-way video chat service, which doesn’t show the image of the customer, the personal shopping assistants can navigate the site, provide product recommendations, compare merchandise, demonstrate product features, and discuss details about merchandise colors and patterns, the retailer says.

The live video chat sessions are delivered with technology called Veedesk from U.K.-based vendor Vee24, which functions as a “mini-broadcasting studio built into a touchscreen personal computer,” Lands’ End says. All the customer requires is a PC or laptop with broadband Internet access.

Shoppers on LandsEnd.com access the online tool by clicking the Live Help button located on the site’s customer service pages. The site will launch a brief welcome video, then shoppers can get more details by selecting the Find Out More option and launch video chat by clicking the Help Me Now button at the bottom of the browser window.

Web site visitors who launch Lands’ End Live video chat can communicate with the personal shopping assistant via voice using a headset or their computer’s built-in microphone and speakers, or through keyboard-based text chat. As an alternative, a consumer can provide her telephone number and a personal shopper will call her directly. Lands’ End personal shoppers can demonstrate product features and details, as well as help navigate the web site regardless of the chat option selected.

Lands’ End Live will be available daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Central time. The company plans to make this new technology available at in-store kiosks in Lands’ End stores and the Lands’ End Shops at Sears stores nationwide in the coming months. The company also plans to extend Lands’ End Live to its international locations in the U.K., Germany, Japan, France and Austria.

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