Sears Roebuck & Co. will equip six of its Washington-area stores with the world's first videodisc catalogue, a laser-powered selling system that could make the traditional wish-book obsolete.
Instead of thumbing through pages, customers can touch a button and see Cheryl Teigs bouncing across the television in her new Sear's sportswear or watch a demonstration of a charcoal grill.
The video version of Sears' summer catalogue will be uses in a three-month test that is the latest electronic-merchandising experiment of the nation's biggest retailer.
The singing, dancing catalogue won't replace the printed page, immediately, but it could be a stepping stone on the path to a new way of shopping, said Robert Wood II, vice president for advertising and sales.
In the future a customer might shop by looking at the Sears catalogue on a cable television system and then punching an order for the desired item into a special TV control, he suggested.
Sears already has tried selling its wares on a two-way cable television network in Ohio that uses such a control to let viewers "talk back" to their television sets. Sears also has experimented with a similar system on a home-computer network in Florida.
During the three-month experiment, Sears researchers will interview customers about their reaction to video shopping and will measure the results of video merchandising methods uses in the test.