June 11, 2003, 12:00 AM

What follows live chat? Live video, says ShopLive.com

ShopLive.com seeks to expand customer service online by adding live video in-store for product demonstration online.

Live chat has been one has been one new form of customer service multi-channel retailers have extended to shoppers on the Internet. Live web-cam connecting Internet shoppers with retail stores could be the next, believes Delray, Fla.-based ShopLive.com.

The retail systems integrator, exhibiting at the Retail Systems conference in Chicago this week, will shortly launch a service for online retailers that combines internally developed camera and media management technology with a multimedia contact center. The ShopLive system will enable retailers to offer shoppers a package of chat, voice and live video support online, says vice president of sales and marketing Daniela Marcolongo. ShopLive.com is a spin-off of Creations, a large home furnishing design center in south Florida, where the concept and supporting technology were initially tested online in 2001 using video cameras placed throughout the 35,000-square-foot showroom.

The concept of adding live video to voice and live chat support online arose from the idea that “too many shoppers log off” when unable to get all the product information they want when considering an online purchase, says Marcolongo, citing industry statistics that as many as 90% of online transactions are halted by consumers before completion. Retailers deploy the system by installing the ShopLive application as well as camera equipment developed by ShopLive either in their store or in a dedicated studio.

Shoppers engage the system on ShopLive-enabled sites by clicking on a button bearing the ShopLive logo. That presents shoppers with a live video feed of the merchant’s store or studio. Shoppers can visually browse items within camera range and request live simultaneous assistance as needed. They can choose from live text chat, voice and video to interact with the sales associate, equipped with wireless communication, on the floor or in the studio. The sales associates use preset links and camera locations to demonstrate products as shoppers request.


A new iteration of ShopLive will be re-installed on CreationsLive.com in time for the holidays, Marcolongo says. Levinson Jewelers, one of the country’s top independent jewelers, will feature the ShopLive tool when it launches its web site this summer, she adds.


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