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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1435 - December 19, 2006 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 5

eBay Tests Shopping Cart on Shopping.com Comparison Site

By Ina Steiner
December 19, 2006

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Consumers can now purchase vacuums, perfume and printer cartridges at Shopping.com, and they can use their existing eBay User IDs to complete the transaction directly on the site. Shopping.com, which is owned by eBay, is a leading comparison-shopping engine where retailers pay to display their items side-by-side those of other retailers. Consumers can compare prices of items across multiple online retailers, and must click through to the retail site to actually purchase items. But Shopping.com is currently testing a feature that allows consumers to purchase items from multiple retailers in one transaction, directly on Shopping.com.

The test is currently limited to certain merchants in three categories: Fragrances, Vacuums and Cartridges and Toner. According to Shopping.com spokesperson Wendy Sept, elements of the shopping cart testing include buyer registration, a shopping cart, checkout, payment system, and a revenue share program for retailers. "This gives retailers the option to supplement a cost-per-click plan with a revenue share program (also known as cost per acquisition or CPA) - paying only when a shopper purchases their products." Revenue share terms vary by category, and Shopping.com does not make the terms public.

Shopping.com traditionally charges online retailers when consumers click through and are taken to merchant websites, whether or not the consumer then buys the item. A link to Shopping.com's rate card is found on this page (https://merchant.shopping.com/enroll/app?service=page/PartnerWelcome). In contrast, retailers who use the new shopping-cart system pay only when consumers make a purchase on Shopping.com.

According to Sept, the Shopping.com test leverages eBay's shopping cart and checkout infrastructure. Major credit cards and PayPal payments are accepted via the Cart checkout, and existing eBay User IDs work with the Shopping.com Cart login process.

When asked how merchants could learn more about participating in Shopping.com's Cart checkout, Sept said the test is by invitation only. When asked about integration initiatives between Shopping.com and eBay, Sept outlined several, including the integration of product reviews from Epinions into eBay Reviews and Guides. She also said cross-promotional tests are underway with eBay Marketplaces and PayPal; mentioned the testing of dynamic links on eBay Search and Listings pages in select markets outside the U.S.; and said there are promotional offers to ProStores to encourage listing on Shopping.com. "We have launched a ProStores/SDC (Shopping.com) co-branded promotional offer page and have signed up several hundred retailers to date."

However, Sept would not comment on whether there were plans to import items from eBay or eBay Express into Shopping.com. eBay Express is eBay's marketplace for new, in-season items culled from eBay.com and eBay Stores listings that are available for immediate purchase in a fixed-price format.

Like the Shopping.com feature being tested (but unlike eBay.com), eBay Express offers a shopping cart that enables shoppers to purchase multiple items from multiple sellers in one transaction. While eBay told AuctionBytes last month that eBay Express was performing in line with its expectations, many sellers remained disappointed with the impact eBay Express has had on their sales (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y06/m11/i01/s01).

Brian Smith of ComparisonEngines.com wrote about the current Shopping.com test in October before it went live (http://www.comparisonengines.com/2006/10/06/shoppingcom-to-test-universal-shopping-cart/). At the time, Smith said that as a merchant, his biggest concern would be ceding customer ownership to Shopping.com. "In-house email lists are more valuable than any other marketing channel and Shopping.com could completely take away the ability for a merchant to re-market."

eBay acquired Shopping.com in 2005, acquiring all outstanding shares of Shopping.com stock for approximately $634 million. Shopping.com had launched in 2003 as the new brand and corporate identity of Dealtime.com, founded in 1997, and Epinions.com, which was acquired by Dealtime in 2003. Shopping.com also operates as DoorOne.com in some countries.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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