March 3, 2010, 12:00 AM

Beauty.com puts a new face on customer service with Twitter and live chat

With the help of Twitter and live chat sessions with customer service reps trained as glamour experts, Beauty.com is boosting conversion rates as it strives to replicate the shopping experience of the in-store cosmetics counter, the retailer says.

With the help of Twitter and live chat sessions with customer service reps trained as glamour experts, Drugstore.com Inc.’s Beauty.com is boosting conversion rates as it strives to replicate the shopping experience of the in-store cosmetics counter, the retailer says.

Beauty.com engages consumers through Twitter by posting information such as new products and beauty tips on its two Twitter pages, @BeautyAdvisor and @Beautydotcom. It also engages consumers in tweeting on the social networking site after noticing mentions of its brand names in consumers’ tweats. Once engaged through Twitter, customers in need of more assistance are invited to communicate with the retailer’s trained beauty experts through live chat sessions, which can be accessed directly from the retailer’s Twitter pages.

“The experts engage in live chat sessions with online shoppers to share immediate advice on the best products,” says Ron Kelly, vice president, customer care and logistics, for the e-commerce sites drugstore.com and Beauty.com. “It replicates the beauty experience consumers have at the make-up counter in their local department store, and we’re converting approximately 25% of their chat sessions into product orders.” Drugstore is No. 48 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

In contrast, the retailer’s average visitor-to-buyer conversion rate for all of Drugstore.com’s e-commerce sites 6.4%, it says. Drugstore.com also operates eyewear site VisionDirect.com. The retailer uses live chat technology from RightNow Technologies Inc., which also provides Drugstore.com’s Cloud Monitor application for monitoring Twitter communications for mentions of its brand names.

“The challenge that companies face today is the exponential growth of consumer conversations on the social web,” Kelly says. “The social web has become a vital touch point for branding and customer support.”

Drugstore.com chief marketing officer David Lonczak will be a speaker at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago June 9 in a session titled Taking the Scary Part Out of Going Global.

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