Thursday 29 September 2016

Irish firm's 'contextually relevant' TV shopping looks a winner

Published 26/07/2015 | 02:30

Eoghan O’Sullivan, the chief executive of Von Bismark, in their offices in Herbert Road. They launch their shopping platform on the Xbox One this September. Photo: Tony Gavin
Eoghan O’Sullivan, the chief executive of Von Bismark, in their offices in Herbert Road. They launch their shopping platform on the Xbox One this September. Photo: Tony Gavin

Pioneering Irish software company Von Bismark is preparing to launch Xbox's first shopping platform this September on the Xbox One. The device, launched by Microsoft last year to replace the Xbox 360, has already sold around 13m units.

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Dublin company Von Bismark, whose chief executive and majority shareholder is DCU multimedia graduate Eoghan O'Sullivan, has the sole exploration rights to build a shopping function for Xbox One for owner Microsoft.

Despite its popularity around the world, users can only currently use the device to buy digital products like video games, films and movies. But Von Bismark's platform will soon allow them to buy physical goods.

Its software even allows shoppers to try clothes on digitally - using Xbox cameras to measure their body types.

Retailers will pay Von Bismark, whose investors include Enterprise Ireland and the Lucey Technology Fund, 15pc of every sale made on the platform. Several US retailers, including Grayers and Soccer Pro, have signed up. Talks are in progress with international sports and womens' wear brands.

Dominos Pizza is the only other company in the world who is licensed to sell physical goods via Xbox.

"The old stereotype of gamers is not true. This is a wealthy demographic. The average Xbox One user is aged between 25 and 40 and two-fifths of them are female," said O'Sullivan.

Von Bismark is in the process of raising around €600,000 to fund its growth.

O'Sullivan ultimately wants to revolutionise the way we use our TV sets, adding shopping functions to all internet-connected televisions.

"Televisions are the perfect place to shop - almost every household has one and they give a large screen to play with, rather than forcing the consumer to peer at their smartphone.

"There is huge potential for e-commerce to be integrated into entertainment. You could watch an episode of Mad Men, for example, and a split screen appears with options for buying Mad Men suits.

"That's where we are going. It just hasn't been done before in a user-friendly, contextually relevant way before."

Sunday Indo Business

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