Helping Others Purchase Through Chat

Jun 06, 2013 11:56 AM  By

We are all groupies to specific products we purchase or fans of brands we love, so why not help others?   Needle, a fan-based chat recruits fans of a particular brand or product who then help people make a purchase decision, according to their website.  These experts are compensated simply because they love the product that much.

When I was talking to the folks at Needle during IRCE in Chicago, I kept thinking about how many times I’ve looked at a particular product  and I was unsure whether I wanted to purchase and wanted to know more about it. I would spend hours wanting to learn how it works whether it was worth the purchase and hesitated on purchasing because of my own uncertainty. 

Sure, I went to the review pages, looked at ratings but I was never sure until the product arrived at my door.  Luckily for me, I liked my purchases.  But what if I didn’t?  I would have loved to have someone to talk to that has actually used the particular product I was planning on purchasing to allow to make the transition to purchase. 

Needle connects brand and product experts with shoppers to help shoppers make a purchase decision, according to Noelle Bates, VP of Communications during the conference.

What this does, according to Bates is provide an authentic and real shopping experience for the consumer and it creates brand loyalty.   Shoppers will communicate through a chat with a brand and product expert on a particular brand’s site. 

So what does this do for the brand and product?  According to Scott Pulsipher, president and COO of Needle, said it will increase conversion with chat on the particular brand or product page. Retailers will see a decrease in call center contacts and an increase in average order value. 

“The biggest benefit is overall customer experience,” said Pulsipher.  “The solution is helping the brands or retailers increase their overall online revenue.” 

This increases the level of engagement between the expert and the customer.  When I’ve made a purchase online, the only time I am talking to someone is when the product is damaged and I need to return it, never have talked to a regular everyday person about a product that I was thinking about purchasing. I think this is a unique and different way to help make a purchase decision. 

“Our platform is providing engagement,” Pulsipher told me.  The differentiation between someone who works for the brand directly and the everyday person is that the customer is can really see that the person loves the brand or product they are speaking about. 

How are these people found anyway? Bates said they are primarily found through social media. Social media makes it easier to find people through its various channels.  The experts are trained through Needle, where they will qualify them and certify them where they train and apply certain methodology on how to properly do this.

“It is going to dramatically improve the ease and speed of buying that product, the speed of buying decision is shortened,” said Pulsipher.