Dixons Carphone has revealed plans to ramp up its ShopLive innovation to include extended operating hours, bookable appointments and livestream shopping.

ShopLive, which the retailer launched in April, connects online shoppers with in-store colleagues to discuss their needs and see demonstrations of products from the comfort of their own homes.

The idea has proved popular, with the retailer serving 340,000 customers over the last five months, which has driven more than 56,000 sales.

Dixons Carphone now believes that it can expand ShopLive to better serve customers’ needs.

The electricals specialist is currently trialling a ’dark store’ concept in its Birmingham training facility with the aim of operating ShopLive outside ordinary shopping hours from such stores, leading to an “always-on” 24-hour retail experience.

Dixons also believes this would fit in with the move to more flexible working hours that has become prominent amid the coronavirus pandemic, as it could employ new workers for this purpose.

The retailer also suggested that future plans for ShopLive include making video consultations bookable to ensure customers can be served at a time convenient to them, and the possibility of livestream shopping.

Chief information officer Andy Gamble said: “Clearly our stores have a massive part to play in our future – they drive really engaging experiences, they enable people to work out, afford and ultimately enjoy technology.

“Where we see ShopLive going is to enable us to mimic an in-person shopping experience, with extended hours – as clearly that can bring some differentiation from our physical stores – but equally to give people the seamless experiences they want.”

ShopLive began with six colleagues on its team available to talk about a limited range of products, but as of last week, Dixons Carphone is offering the service on all its online items. It has also introduced a pay-live option, which allows customers to make transactions within the video chat as well. 

Dixons now has more than 250 staff members trained to operate ShopLive, who Gamble dubs “omni-colleagues” for their ability to serve customers both online and in-store.

The concept has also been adopted by other retailers, such as John Lewis and Liberty, who now offer video consultations with their experts.