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Category: Most Innovative Community
Community: Future Shop
Submitted by: Future Shop Community Manager, LauraB
Made up of over 130,000 Future Shop Product Experts, customers and vendors, the Community Forum has connected tech-enthusiasts and newbies from all across Canada and facilitated more than 220,000 posts around technology news, products, and services. Unique to the Future Shop Community is the Avatar, who is known as Aaron in the English Community and Fred in the French.
The Avatar serves as a guide to the Future Shop online experience by searching the site and the community for answers to technology related questions.
Since launching in June 2007, the Avatar has facilitated close to 9.5 million searches, with 36,000 questions getting submitted through to the Community if the answer couldn't be found in the search results. The Avatar acts as a virtual host who communicates with the visitor via pre-recorded videos. Users can ask the Avatar a question and it will search the Community, Buying Guides, Tech Spotlight articles, and Recently Asked Questions.
The Avatar element is especially unique as it connects a different group of customers - a group who might not be as willing to join a community, but still want to benefit from the large knowledge-base - to the larger group who are likely to be able to provide an answer to their question.
Aaron and Fred are positioned as Future Shop Product Experts with the goal of taking the in-store experience and expanding it to the online space. Both Avatar personalities have several Easter Egg videos that are popular searches with customers (try asking Aaron to "dance" or "sing"). They are accessible from the futureshop.ca homepage and the Expert Advice page. The Avatar has facilitated millions of customers in finding solutions to their techno-stress in an innovative and entertaining way.
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