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Its been said as we get older in life, it's easier to grow more cynical. Or an economy struggling for 3+ years can get lead to more questions than answers. If you’re the type that takes things with a grain of salt and deflects marketing talk then you might find solace in an initiative being introduced by Bridgestone Golf. Recognizing that golfers are baffled by the scores of different golf ball models available at retail, Bridgestone Golf is bolstering its popular online B-FIT program with the introduction of B-FIT Video Chat, a free, live face-to-face, point-of-sale video-chat golf ball consultation service. Now consumers can ask hard questions and get answers until they are satisfied. 

Since B-FIT’s launch in 2010, Bridgestone has conducted over 325,000 free online consumer ball selection consultations, helping golfers of all skill levels find the right balls for their games. Now, the service is expanding to in-store live video consultation.    

Bridgestone’s B-FIT Video Chat launched in a beta test form at the PGA TOUR Superstore in Roswell, Georgia in mid-July.  Since its launch, customers at PGA TOUR Superstore have raved about its convenience, ease of use and the unique ability it affords to have one-on-one, face-to-face conversations with Bridgestone’s ball-fitting experts, according to the company. Bridgestone’s B-FIT video-chat program is housed in an in-store kiosk on a Bridgestone golf ball end cap display. The kiosk features a flat panel display 25” touchscreen monitor using the OpenTok Platform from TokBox. OpenTok allows face-to-face communications to be embedded into any site or service. Over 50,000 TokBox partners are currently using the technology worldwide, the company said, but Bridgestone Golf’s version is the first to ever be used in a retail in-store environment in any channel.

“We realize that when consumers walk into a store looking for golf balls they have to be overwhelmed by having probably a hundred choices,” said Dan Murphy, Vice President of Marketing – Bridgestone Golf, Inc. “We believe that by offering this live in-store consultation with one of our fitting experts we add some clarity to the madness and make the buying experience much more rewarding for consumers. Thus far the incredible feedback we’ve received from both consumers and store personnel at the Roswell Superstore location tells us we are succeeding.”   

Bridgestone Golf plans to offer the B-FIT Video Chat service in select markets in the near future, and the company is currently working on an iPad version of the application that would be used to expand the concept widely to golf specialty and green grass stores throughout North America by the end of 2013.

In addition to the market test in Atlanta, Bridgestone Golf is previewing the technology at the 2012 WGC Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club this week.  The B-FIT Video Chat kiosk is available for attendees to experience in the Bridgestone Performance Park at the event, throughout the tournament week.