WHAT CART? TURN ON THE TV TO BUY FOOD

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Another important piece of Time Warner's closely watched Orlando interactive TV experiment has fallen in place-virtual grocery shopping.

In a just-concluded deal, Time Warner has linked with ShopperVision of Norcross, Ga., to offer home supermarket and drugstore shopping to the 4,000 subscribers participating in the Full Service Network test in Orlando.

Starting this fall, the subscribers will be able to buy groceries and drugstore items through their TV sets by using technology provided by ShopperVision.

The merchandise will be displayed in color and will appear exactly as it does on store shelves. Subscribers who buy groceries through the system will have their order delivered within a day.

"We're excited that ShopperVision is helping us bring local content and local services to the Full Service Network," Hal Wolf, VP-programming and interactive development for Time Warner's Full Service Network, told Advertising Age.

For food and drugstore marketers, the ShopperVision-Time

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Warner deal is one of the first clear ways to participate in interactive TV, a medium more readily associated with big-ticket items.

The Time Warner site is the first test for ShopperVision, a spinoff of Norcross-based MarketWare Corp., a supplier of retail space management software.

"We chose them because of ShopperVision's unique technology," said Mr. Wolf of Time Warner. "They give the shopper a truer feeling of being in the store. They give subscribers the ability to read the package, which is a huge advantage."

The service will link with one supermarket and one drugstore chain in Orlando. Neither has been disclosed.

Time Warner won't charge subscribers to use the service, but a delivery fee-undetermined at this point-will be imposed.

While some computer-based grocery shopping services have sprung up in recent years, ShopperVision may be the first to show products on TV in color. For those in the retail food and drug business, that potential is attractive.

"Interactive selling has worked primarily for soft goods and services," said Gary Moss, VP-global advertising at Campbell Soup Co. "No one has figured out a way to make it .|.|. sell food products."

"The exciting thing to me is that Time Warner is equipped to handle big categories, like cars, where there's a natural tie [to interactivity], but here's a way [for package-goods marketers] to work through a supplier and be able to get on the air that way," said Susan Young, VP-associate media director at N W Ayer, New York. Ayer is considering ShopperVision for several package-goods and drug clients.

ShopperVision will also provide a powerful point-of-purchase tool, the at-home TV.

"You've got qualified customers who are actually shopping, so you're communicating to customers who are actually buying your products," said Sandy Goldman, ShopperVision's president-ceo.

Marketers and retailers can use ShopperVision to offer targeted commercials, electronic coupons and audio announcements.M

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