Online retailers like NetShops and Rugsale are using a third-party service called ShopTogether, where customers can...you guessed it...shop together online.
This also has amazing potential for personal selling from your live chat customer service reps.
This is what the ShopTogether interface looks like:
Invite a Friend
You can see what your friend is viewing, share favorites and have live chat. It's easy to click on the items to jump right to their product pages.
This has the potential to take live chat to the next level. Your customer service representatives offer suggestions (out of stock alternatives, accessories, cross-sells and up-sells) which the customer can click right through to and ask further questions. The customer service rep would be able to probe the customer and then make recommendations. Of course the customer service rep would need to be as knowledgeable about your website and its products as any in-store sales associate.
Throw web cams, telephone or VoIP into the mix, and you get pretty darn close to the brick-and-mortar experience.
What do you think? Will we see more sites going this route or is this too costly to work? Would you enjoy shopping this way if you needed help with a purchase?