Consumers to shop together online, in real time
The online retailer Buy.com has launched a 'ShopTogether Community' platform that allows customers to share shopping experiences online, in real-time, as well as make recommendations and chat to each other via e-mail, instant messenger (IM) or Facebook Connect about product features.
Results from the initial beta testing showed that consumers spent significantly more time on Buy.com when shopping in partnership with their friends and family.
The ShopTogether Community overcomes the typical solitary online shopping experience and brings the communal aspects of shopping in the real world to the internet. Among the platform's unifying features:
- Instant chat sessions with friends who are shopping on Buy.com and logged in through Facebook Connect;
- Integration with Twitter and other social networks;
- Simultaneous product browsing
- The ability for shoppers to redirect a friend, with permission, to the page he or she is viewing;
- Real-time viewing of the most popular items on Buy.com;
- Private chat sessions with Buy.com Customer Service support staff.
"Integrating social connection on Buy.com makes online shopping more engaging and fun, and we believe it will ultimately drive increased loyalty," said Neel Grover, president and CEO for Buy.com.
Buy.com currently claims more than 18 million customers, offering a range of millions of products in categories including consumer electronics, computer hardware and software, cell phones, books, music, DVDs, games, toys, bags, fragrance, home and outdoor, baby, jewellery, shoes, apparel and sporting goods. Founded in 1997, Buy.com is owned by Japanese internet company Rakuten.