Many e-tailers have a virtual greeter on their homepage:
What’s unique about how supportsockshop.com uses their virtual greeter is this: on your first visit the greeter reads a standard welcome script, lists brands carried by supportsockshop.com and assures lowest prices. But if you exit and return her message changes to, “Still browsing? Confused about different compression levels and styles? Call us toll-free at (877) 330-5900. Speak to our experienced certified fitters. I’m very confident you will get all your questions answered.”
In the first visit the visitor is encouraged to buy via supportsockshop.com. In the second visit the site assumes the visitor is experiencing some degree of uncertainty (maybe they’re uncomfortable buying online, maybe they’ve visited other sites and seen comparable prices or maybe they’re overwhelmed by the number of available options) so the greeter shifts her focus to getting the shopper to speak on the phone with their certified fitters.
Basically they set a cookie during the first visit.
What I don’t like is that the second message is triggered by a repeat visit, even if it happens immediately. I would have set a cookie and triggered the second message only after a fixed time lapse (maybe 5 minutes or more).