SHOPPING ONLINE AND HAVING YOUR SALESCLERK, TOO
ONE OF THE GREAT DISADVANTAGES of shopping on the World Wide Web is that there aren't sales clerks around to answer those on-the-spot questions. Now, two software companies have setups that will bring clerks running to your aid.
WebLine Communications Corp., in Burlington, Mass., is introducing a Java-based program on Aug. 25 that's geared toward enhancing business-to-business Web commerce. Called WebLine, it enables customers visiting a company's virtual storefront to electronically alert a sales representative when they need help. By entering a phone number, customers can expect a phone call from a company sales rep while they continue browsing the Web site. Once a sales rep is connected electronically to the buyer, additional information--a comparison of its products and a competitor's, for instance--can be sent over the Web. The company will license the software, which will work through any corporate firewall, for $25,000.
eFusion Inc.,in Beaverton, Ore.,hasa different solution. It sells a$150,000-plus program called eBridge Interactive Web Responsesystem, which connects a company's Web server to its telephone call center. When customers with a multimedia PC are ready to buy from a Web site, they merely click on a button and get placed in the same holding queue as customers calling the company's toll-free phone line. The microphone and speakers on the customer's PC act as a speakerphone, so asking questions or completing the order simply means talking into the PC. eFusion says six top telecommunications companies are testing eBridge.
EDITED BY PAUL M. ENG
Updated Aug. 21, 1997 by bwwebmaster
Copyright 1997, Bloomberg L.P.