Hmmm, there have been a few threads about this sort of thing recently (link here [searchengineworld.com])
I think it depends on whether you need human interaction to make a sale. If you just shift boxed widgets, its probably more hassle than its worth, because essentially you'll just end up providing a largely .
If your product requires a level of hand-holding though, then "chat" facilities can be what makes the web a viable sales channel.
Good example, a few months ago I was pitching an e-comm system with a built-in chat facility to a company that does car suspension parts.
Their customer base ranges from Garys who want to lower their Fiestas (cultural note : "Gary" will be teenaged or early twenties, wear a baseball cap, and spend more money on bodykits/alloy wheels/noisy exhaust systems for his car than it was worth new. A Fiesta is a cheap'n'nasty little car), to pro World Rally Series teams
Clearly, rally engineers probably do know exactly what parts they need, but Gary hasn't a clue. Gary is an important customer though (he writes off his car regularly, thus requiring much repeat business :))
If the sales force at HQ got notification that someone was browsing the sales site, and could initiate a chat session, they could determine what model of car the surfer has, whether they need a lowering kit, sports kit etc, and could point the prospect to the correct product(s) quickly, even offer them a discount on the spot to close the sale, then plug the sale straight back into the a/c system.
That is exactly the sort of scenario where chat facilites are useful. If I was just browsing aroung for inkjet cartridges, and a chat box opened up, I would be gone in no time though.
>> Has anyone integrated one of those software packages with a wireless laptop connection and how sucessful they were with it?
Not personally. I'm sure there are those who have though. It can't be too hard though surely, laptop installation has to be something that the authors intended to be done