Candid Camera

Integrating a webcam into his site has helped this scuba retailer reel in extra sales.
This story first appeared in the July 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Webcams generally let viewers catch a glimpse of the happenings at exciting locations such as Times Square and stadium construction sites. In Dallas, however, Larry Dague, 48, installed a webcam in his scuba equipment shop that quickly turned into a clever marketing tool, generating sales and contributing to the shop's 40 percent annual growth.

At ScubaToys, which has 2006 projected sales of $5 million, 80 percent of sales are internet-driven. The webcam started out as an inexpensive security camera-turned-cool toy in 2002, but Dague quickly realized its sales and customer-support benefits. "The technology creates a richer retail experience and helps build credibility and trust with online customers," he says.

The webcam also helps personalize internet shopping: When customers call with questions, Dague takes products to the webcam--and now attributes at least four sales every day to the technology.

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