QVC ‘first’ with ordering goods by remote control

QVC, the US shopping channel which has been in the UK for the past eight years, is claiming a “first” with its interactive TV (iTV) service, QVCActive.

From this week, viewers of QVC on Sky Digital will be able to buy products via a “buy now” button on their remote control, while watching them being showcased. Other iTV shopping services in the UK have separated the purchase mechanism from the live broadcast.

The launch of QVCActive follows the introduction of the QVC Directory last year on Sky Interactive. The Directory requires viewers to make a phone call in order to buy a product.

“QVCActive is a technological first for a live TV shopping channel,” claims QVC UK director of engineering Richard Burrell. He notes the technology was developed with US-Israeli software firm NDS, in close co-operation with BSkyB.

Based on NDS’s Value@TV system, QVCActive is billed as the first TV commerce application to be fully integrated with back-office operations, with synchronisation between the live programme, stock and availability information.

Burrell adds: “QVC is a high volume business, taking more than 19,000 orders a day and with over 10,000 products in stock at any one time. QVC wanted to be sure that the service was robust enough to deliver the levels of customer service for which it is renowned. QVC is leading the way by producing a service that is fully integrated with QVC’s live TV output.”

QVCActive is linked to QVC’s customer operations centre, so that only products in stock can be ordered and all customer service questions can be dealt with immediately by the call centre.

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