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The Green Sheet Online Edition

November 26, 2007 • Issue 07:11:02

Go international in real-time

How would you like to travel to Asia and bring back luxurious silks and jewelry? Not in your budget? ShangBy Inc. has the next best thing.

ShangBy.com, a live interactive video shopping site produced by ShangBy, has developed a new form of consumer retail entertainment that combines live video broadcast with personal shopping.

Customers, known as ShangBuyers, will get a chance to browse the stores of Shanghai and communicate visually and verbally with merchants in real-time. The site gives ShangBuyers the benefits of shopping in Asia without the hassle of booking a flight or a hotel.

Customers also get to follow the Chinese custom of negotiating a price for goods. An agent, Nina Johansson, is always on scene to aid the buying and selling process.

"Nina is part of our company. We call her our shopping agent," Amanda McGuckin-Hager of ShangBy said. "She's sort of the facilitator." Johansson talks with the ShangBuyer as she stands next to the merchant, holding up items and relaying prices.

Once a price has been agreed upon, the item can be added to the Web site's shopping cart. The customer can proceed to checkout and finish payment by using a debit or credit card on a secure site.

"When a customer goes to checkout, they would check out like regular 'e-commers,'" McGuckin-Hager said.

To expand marketing efforts, ShangBy received $1 million in funding from its investors, G-51 Capital LLC and Draper Richards LP. With the funding, ShangBy has been making the site look cleaner and easier to navigate. ShangBy has been online since Jan. 1, 2007. McGuckin-Hager noted the company tracks how many hits the Web site gets monthly. "Our baseline is about 100," she said.

That number is expected to swell as the holiday season nears. ShangBy is confident there won't be any setbacks or delays with the site. "We have enough bandwidth to handle all of it," she said. end of article

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