As the market moves more toward buying retail items online, so must the sales force. The days of cold calls and door to door sales may not be gone yet, but they are quickly dwindling in lieu of other forms of marketing. There may always be customers who want direct service, folks who want, at the very least, to hear the voice of the person they are buying from or receiving services. The market continues to shift though, with more and more stores with electronic checkout, and many retail shops finding that without a retail outlet on the internet, that they will lose business to the competition. Along with a website store front comes virtual customer service and in some cases a whole new department of technical assistance.
Why do people prefer to shop online? Of course, the answer to this question is varied but often it is because one can shop from the comfort of their home and there will be no sales person to pester them while they browse. Even though this is true there is still the need for assistance. One avenue to help your customers in your online store is the virtual assistant. Take directv.com for instance, prospective customers or present customers can view their accounts, different packages, and even pay their bill all from their website.
The virtual assistant is little more than a chat window that pops up on the desktop of the at home internet shopper. The at home shopper has the chance to type in their question and receive an immediate, direct answer to their question, making it easier for them to finish their purchase. The last thing you want is to leave your store vacant while shoppers wander around aimless, searching for something, you could help them find easily with a quick point in the right direction.
It is reasonable to make sure that your storefront is filled with your products. It is also reasonable to make sure assistance is available when needed. Without virtual assistants customers may leave and go elsewhere to more easily find what they want.