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Newegg walks the personalization talk


Holiday shoppers who need a friendly ear while looking for products online may want to check out

The consumer electronics e-tailer is launching Newegg Advocates, a new online service that provides chat-based one-to-one interaction with people shopping Each chat interaction is with a third-party technology enthusiast with knowledge of the specific products considered by that particular customer.

The ability to match customers with chat representatives in real-time based on product interest and expertise is provided by the Needle Marketing Platform.

In late October, Newegg began piloting the program in its PC gaming category. Based on initial positive customer response to Newegg’s Advocates, the company is now expanding the program to two additional core product categories: desktop PCs and computers.

“Many high-end department stores offer shopping assistants for their clientele – we’re bringing that same high-touch experience to our customers with the Newegg Advocates,” said James Wu, COO of Newegg. “We’ve partnered with Needle to provide advocates who aren’t salespeople reading off a script, but objective, avid gamers who live and breathe the technology they’re helping our customers choose.”

Needle, an advocate-powered marketing platform, taps into Newegg’s community of external advocates to identify experts and match them in real-time with shoppers who need help. Advocates not only consider the customer’s budget, but also make sure items are compatible with their existing computer system. If a chat window doesn’t appear, it means all the advocates are busy helping others. Customers can then try back later.

The electronics vertical especially lends itself to both the need for expertise and a large community of passionate enthusiasts who are willing to provide help for a low per-chat fee. It is also easier to offer this type of service online than in-store, but using kiosks, tablets or other devices retailers could also supplement their in-store service with some third-party expertise.

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