Some retailers launched online deals well in advance of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
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E-retail growth will also come from new ways to reach online shoppers, and the television set will likely become an important new sales channel—eventually, agreed James McQuivey, vice president and analyst at Forrester Research Inc., and Ben Bajarin, director of the consumer technology practice at technology research firm Creative Strategies Inc., in an IRCE session on web/TV convergence.
By 2014, 123 million U.S. homes will have TVs connected to the web, Bajarin predicted. "Devices of all types, including TVs, are becoming smarter and better connected," he said.
McQuivey and Bajarin agreed there were several obstacles to overcome before consumers routinely shop on web-enabled TVs, including technology decisions and revenue-sharing agreements among cable and satellite TV providers, TV manufacturers and retailers.
But agreements between Google Inc.'s Google TV, launched last year, and such web retailers as Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com point to what's coming, McQuivey said. "This has the potential to alter the advertising and retail experience," he said. "Advertising can be tailored to individual preferences based on web behavior and how consumers are connected."
And that suggests targeted selling to web-connected TV viewers is yet another opportunity that lies ahead for Internet retailers.