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.