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  Vecta on Digital Shopping
  Sex and gambling got the Internet PC and to an extent, music and movies, to where they are today. Will shopping take them to their next zenith and which platform - mobile phone, game, Internet PC, Interactive TV - will be pulled up by it?

The answer is probably all four, but by different segments of the community at different times, and to different degrees.

  Mobile phones are already pervasive and could be the ideal platform for impulse buys but the narrow content "pipes" feeding them and small displays limits the type of feasible purchases to those requiring virtually no description;

Games machines will be accessible to an increasing proportion of the community, and could be key to product placement sales but they suffer - at least for the moment - from pipe limitations;

Interactive TV has the richest display, but operators and suppliers have not yet learned how to use interactive advertising as a means to show off and sell products.

The Internet PC has the capability of a broad pipe and good display, so has been the natural start point for commerce, especially catalogue shopping by one decision maker.

The SmartPhone and Tablet have cobined the features of Mobile Phones and the Internet PC and may be the key to making Interactive TV propositions successful.

Each platform - and numerous derivatives of it - will be effective for shopping for different types of goods or services in different situations. However the Interactive TV can beat the PC in social shopping situations so convergence of soap / advertising / shopping may well, with careful product placements, begin to propel the Interactive TV into a range of new business scenarios.

Pay TV operators who already have a billing relationship with their viewer, have not yet shown much interest in extending this relationship to include third party purchases within the user's account despite this being a possible way to avoid pre-block fraud.

The true potential of digital shopping has not yet been realised and is today little more than catalogue shopping supported by credit card payment. None of the platforms or suppliers have yet managed to develop impulse shopping. However Broadband PC, Interactive TV, Mobile Phones and Games Consoles are all likely to become powerful sales platforms, albeit each specialised for different products and services, in the coming years.

Our Digital Commerce Experts Network is dedicated to exploring the key issues related to developments in digital commerce and entertainment. This involves projecting the evolution of the competitive platforms - games consoles, mobile handsets, PC, and TV, identifying popular applications and understanding revenue models and valuations. It also requires identifying issues related to supplier and partner selection for commerce.


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