Arkansas shop goes live all the time

11_arkansas_01Waterful Wonderbeds Furniture Gallery has set up four Web cameras in its shop to let customers see its process

Near or far, Chris Davis tries to get clients involved in every step of the production process. The production manager at Waterful Wonderbeds Furniture Gallery in North Little Rock, Ark., added Web cameras to the shop three years ago and they've proved to be an effective marketing tool, offering clients a unique perspective into the manufacturing process.

"Watching their furniture being built gets them excited, especially kids' furniture. Kids love to watch me build their furniture," says Davis.

Davis has four cameras set up - three in the shop and one in the showroom. He keeps a remote control in his tool belt and rotates the cameras frequently to give viewers a thorough look.

The webcam system is extremely helpful when customers have a question about a project or a special request, says Davis.

"One guy wanted decorative blocks put on the bed. Once I got the blocks arranged, I noticed the piece didn't really look right. What I originally would have done was e-mail him a picture and we'd work back and forth until we got it right. Since I had the webcam, I was able to call him up on the phone and position the blocks how he wanted them in real time."

Davis says clients have given him a tremendous amount of positive feedback. Some have admitted they put his site on their computer screen and watch him while they're at work. Many of them enjoy the audio feature, which lets them know when he's cutting.

Because he's typically working on two or three projects at once and his time is dispersed, Davis offers to record the projects. This enables clients to go back and watch their piece made from start to finish.

Davis is consciously aware of the camera as he works, but says he's not intimidated by it. He does have to make sure everyone in the shop is on their best behavior.

"You do have to watch what happens in the shop. There are three of us and we kid around a lot. Most the time it's not anything that would be offensive ... but we've got friends that can be loud or obnoxious and sometimes visitors to the shop can be a problem."

To watch the Web cam, visit www.wwbeds.com and click on the "We are now live on the net" icon.

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.