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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Tech Industry

Impulse buying on the Net

For those who have embraced online shopping but miss the excitement of a blue-light special, a firm is trying to replicate that experience on the Net.

For those who have embraced online shopping but miss the excitement of a blue-light special, a new network is trying to replicate that experience on the Net.

Yahoo today introduced an "Impulse Deals" section in its Visa Shopping Guide, created with Net merchandising firm Impulse Buy Network.

The Impulse Buy Network lets retailers feature time-limited specials by adding a button or banner to their own site or to an affiliate. The link takes users to a page where there is more information about the product along with the price, the savings, and the amount of time left in the special. The timed nature of the specials give them the urgent feel of television's Home Shopping Network.

The Impulse Buy Network is looking to appeal to retailers by giving them "a low-cost way to attract a buyer's attention with special offers and provides consumers the added excitement of finding a deal by being in the right place at the right time," Mark Goldstein, president and chief executive of the network, said in a statement.

Net advertising has taken off, becoming nearly a billion-dollar industry in 1997, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau.

As Netizens become more comfortable with online shopping, firms have stepped up to find innovative ways to attract sales. Last week, for example, streaming technology firm Narrative Communications launched technology that allows users to buy goods within banner ads, without leaving the site that delivered the banner.

The impulse service currently is offered in the apparel section on Yahoo's shopping guide, but will be extended to other sections in the future, the firms said. Charter retailers that will offer the service on Yahoo include J. Crew, Wal-Mart, the Sharper Image, and Virtual Vineyards, among others.

"With Impulse Deals, individuals can take part in the fun of traditional bargain shopping without fighting the crowds or leaving their home or office," Elizabeth Collet, manager of online commerce at Yahoo, said in a statement.