JC Penney was the first retailer to explore interactive television shopping in the 1980's. Its Telaction service was available to 30,000 home in the suburbs of Chicago.
Customers would use their touch-tone phones to navigate the screens, add products to cart, select payment and billing offers and confirm purchase.
Though Telaction showed promise with 13% making purchases of a $60 average value (actually outperforming its mail order catalog), Penney pulled the plug on the 6 year, $106 Million project after failing to find a partner after just one year in action.
The service was delivered through cable systems which received a flat fee for each subscriber rather than a % of sales. Screens were provided by video disc players, and complicated 'frame grabber' technology had to be installed at each neighborhood cable node to allow for a city of 75,000 people to to use the service. (Hat tip to Youtube user davismv for converting this VHS video and providing that last tidbit of information).
Twenty years later, Interactive TV shopping is re-emerging (however with much more sophisticated technology) and JC Penney is leading the way again with a new way to shop in-store through a TV screen. These are some of the things I'll be talking about in next week's webinar Multichannel 2.0: Are you ready for the next generation of shopping channels?
Join me and play futurist as we explore the exciting technologies of mobile, interactive digital TV, digital signage and other Internet-enabled devices. I'll be joined by our product manager Peter Sheldon and we'll cover the possibilities and challenges for both IT and marketing professionals:
• How are retailers and shoppers already using Multichannel 2.0?
• What are technology vendors building to enable Multichannel 2.0?
• What are the technological barriers and how can you bypass them?
• How will you prepare for the next wave of shopping channels?
I promise this will be an enlightening hour, and it goes down on Wednesday, May 20, 2009 from 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM PST.