Do you remember when online shopping first appeared and every company seemed to stress the wonderful opportunity of "shopping at home in your underwear"? If the company behind 3Live Shop has their way, you may want to think about covering up your nether-regions before logging on to make your next purchase.
B Reel's 3Live Shop proposes a "live" online store that connects the customer with a salesperson who will help guide them through the purchase process in real time. There's a twist, though: that salesperson is working from a high-tech, multi-touch screen computer.
From B Reel's website,
We have designed an user friendly interface and developed a multi-touch environment – all built in Flash. The system is capable of detecting multiple fingers and hands at the same time it allows the sales person to interact with products on the display while it's all recreated on the customer's side. Think Tom Cruise goes phone salesperson in Minority Report! The video and products are in separate streams to always ensure the best possible display of the products.
The core experience is that you enter a video call with a salesperson who gives you guidance of products that would fit you. The salesperson can drag a product onto the screen, show its features such as different colors and monthly cost and then drag it into the shopping cart. All this with just the touch of a finger. The machines are custom built with parts from all over the world like touch screens, mirrors and high-end cameras. The two front ends, for the salesperson and the customer are both connected to an existing e-commerce backend. The experience is simple and personal and at the same time extremely sophisticated and technologically advanced.
What about those of us who value the comfort and privacy of shopping at home? In a time when people would rather order their lunch through a series of mouse-clicks on SeamlessWeb and GrubHub as opposed to calling up a restaurant and talking to an actual person, we can't help but ask if these high-tech measures are actually necessary. On one hand, there will always be times when you just want to speak to an actual person (like when your cable stops working and when calling for help are connected to an automated robotic voice.) On the other, sometimes the phone just doesn't cut it (have you ever tried to explain to your Grandmother how to download an email attachment over the phone?) While we're interested to see if any major companies adopt this new technology, we won't be rushing to partake in the process anytime soon.