Business

For big-ticket items, social shopping needs more screen-sharing

Image Credit: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-105925028/stock-photo-shopping-cart-tv-d-image.html?src=a7ebac17197162a38086f4097615eeb9-1-2

For most people, buying things online is a solitary experience, but ClickWithMeNow aims to make the process a bit more social.

ClickWithMeNow allows users to share their browser windows in real time with friends and family without the need for any extra software.

To initiate, users click the ClickWithMeNow buttons installed on websites and share the session links with whomever they want to browse with. Once the session starts, users can communicate by a chat window and (eventually) by voice.  Everyone even gets their own dedicated cursor.

Co-founder Brian Handrigan says that the service emerged out of desire to make the process of buying things online just as collaborative as its offline counterpart. It’s geared toward e-commerce, but has also proven useful for the elderly and those who may need a bit of extra guidance to surf the net.

“We’re all about taking that social validation of shopping and bringing it online,” he said.

On stage at DEMO, the cofounders said that competitors (GoToMeeting, WebEx and so on) are “complex, confusing and costly.” “It’s a peer to peer web cobrowser technology that lets you share in real time with security and no registrations,” Handrigan told the audience.

The sages at DEMO responded with positive reviews, but suggested that it ma be tough for the founders to break into a mainstream market. “I think the use-case they are targeted is appropriate [as] the elderly need help and that markets makes a lot of sense to me,” Pete Sonsini of venture capital firm, New Enterprise Associates told the audience. He asked, “Is this something the average consumer would use?”

But this isn’t grocery shopping we’re talking about. Handrigan says that ClickWithMeNow focuses on important yet infrequent purchases of things like televisions and health care. Essentially, the service will be ideal for any purchase so big that requires a second (or third) set of eyes.

And the traction is already there. Health insurance provider Blue Cross of Rhode Island already plans to include ClickWithMeNow in its consumer website.

Handrigan says ClickWithMeNow’s value proposition to its partner companies is clear: By making online shopping more collaborative, the service makes it far more likely that consumers will complete their transactions.

ClickWithMeNow is one of 75 companies and 6 “alpha” startups chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2012 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After we make our selections, the chosen companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

Top image courtesy of mazura1989, Shutterstock


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