ShopTogether is Live Chat Help on Steroids

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:

Get Started

Getting Started with ShopTogether

Invite a Friend

Invite a Friend to Shop

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.

ShopTogether ScreenShot

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?

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11 Responses to “ShopTogether is Live Chat Help on Steroids”

  1. tiffany says:

    I have a friend who would love to be a personal shopper – it’s her gift!

    I wonder if she could do this for a site with a decent affiliate program and make some money?

    Could an online personal shopper build a business like this?

  2. Great Stuff, looks like the people at LivePerson and InstantService need to be stepping up their chat software.

  3. Sounds like a great tool for personal shoppers, Tiffany.

  4. Seems like a great high end customer service tool. I think this is a great idea for companies selling complicated or expensive products that wants to make their customers feel comfortable when purchasing.

    Although I don’t see the average company being able to staff something like that. But I’m going to keep my eyes on this one.

  5. But can it even be used as a customer service tool. I guess you could send the customer service the chat id number but I didn’t see any type of way to talk with anyone. I don’t see the friend thing being that beneficial but I’m a guy and would ask my friends to come on any ecommerce site to pick out products.

    I think this type of thing would be great to have as an internal tool for customer service to walk us through any bugs they have found :) .

    It seems like it would be a lot of work and a lot of javascript to be loaded for something that might not really be used.

    But thats me again always being on the pessimistic coder side of things. I do like the concept but I think it definitely could be done better.

  6. aggh wouldn’t ask my friends*

  7. This is good companion reading to this post
    10 tips for employing live chat profitably

    It covers how to be selective of when to offer live help and which customers to offer it to, as it’s certainly a costly service and may not be right for everyone.

    A side note, I had some email exchange with a Get Elastic reader who is using Shop Together for customer service also. I don’t want to mention names in case the reader doesn’t want to be mentioned…

    *If you’re reading this and would like to jump in, we’d really appreciate it!*

  8. RugSale says:

    We are working to implement a One Button Shop Together connection so it functions as a live help feature and there is a chat feature, that apparently isn’t obvious enough, but the call center rep could turn it on.

    As it stands now it is really only get used (internally) for helping customers who are having a hard time finding what they want. We have a customer service rep that has a degree in color theory and it is much easier for him to help customers browse applicable rugs using Shop Together.

    Our preliminary tracking shows it is being used by customers with their friends at a higher rate than we expected (we were a bit pessimistic too Dan). And it would also appear that those who do use it for any real session go on to purchase. But the comment “aggh wouldn’t ask my friends*” shows we have a ways to go.

    And with regards to tiffany, we did envision this as a tool that decorators could use to do business online and we do have affiliate programs. If the customer was brought in through an affiliate link and bought, the affiliate would get the commission. So though no one is using it for that right now it certainly has possibilities.

    Paul

  9. @Paul,

    Thanks for jumping in here and sharing your experience.

    I used to work with an interior decorator and I can see this being extremely useful for both rug shopping and tiffany lamp shopping where the client and interior decorator must work together to find the right items. The decorator being the expert, the client being the one who has to live with the stuff.

  10. Hi Linda,

    Thanks for your wonderful post. I am CEO of DecisionStep, the creator of ShopTogether. We’re very excited about the response our product has received among online retailers and the ecommerce community in general.

    ShopTogether is provided in a Software-as-a-Service model, so integration on a site is very straightforward (not even a data feed is required). Your readers can find more information at http://www.decisionstep.com.

    FYI – we are not affiliated with the Shop2gether link you have listed above. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

    -John

  11. samuel says:

    can i inject any steroids on my six pack?

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