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Internet

CompuServe, AOL opening virtual shops

CompuServe and America Online announce two separate deals today involving online shopping.

    CompuServe (CSRV) and America Online (AOL), soon to be merged, announced two separate deals today involving online shopping.

    CompuServe is teaming up with NetSales to launch a cyberstore called Computing Shop, featuring software and hardware--commodities that have proven track records as hot sellers on the Net.

    Meanwhile, AOL announced that it will make the general merchandise online store iQVC an anchor merchant in its shopping sites.

    While Computing Shop and iQVC sell different merchandise on different platforms, both deals show how shopping is becoming a mainstream activity on the Internet.

    A year ago, Net shops were considered pioneer ventures. While most stores with online components aren't ready to abandon brick and mortar yet, they are jumping online in increasing numbers. In addition, Internet service providers and online services are hoping to attract the best brands to make up in transactions what they're losing by offering flat-rate pricing.

    The Internet also offers a better target audience to marketers and advertisers than most other media, as anyone online is presumed to have at least enough disposable income to buy a computer and pay for an online service or Internet connection.

    In CompuServe's case, the fact that the site is being launched on the Internet rather than on its proprietary service underscores its migration onto the Web.