RealTime IT News

AOL Debuts Shopping Service

In an effort to bring shoppers both online and into their wallets, America Online Monday rolled out the first phase of its Shop@AOL service, to be fully introduced across the AOL network by October.

"We think the key to converting "window-shoppers" to online buyers is to understand the obstacles to shopping online and provide solutions to each," said Katherine Borsecnik, AOL's senior vice president of strategic businesses.

The new service gathers all of AOL's merchants into a common storefront across all its brands. It will be marketed under the Shop@AOL, Shop@AOL.COM, Shop@CompuServe, Shop@Netscape and Shop@Digital City brands.

AOL backs up its new service with a Chic Simple partnership announced Monday. Fashion publisher Chic Simple will bring style and wardrobe advice to the shopping venture.

The e-commerce service includes features such as online catalogs, personal buying guides, and electronic wallet technology. The wallet technology stores routinely requested credit card and shipping information online, including 10 credit card numbers and up to 50 shipping addresses.

AOl also enlarged product image displays and added more text for merchant product descriptions.

The Shop@AOL Apparel and Kids & Babies Commerce Centers debuted Monday, with 15 additional shopping centers scheduled to roll out throughout the summer and early fall.

According to Internet Research Group, 30 percent of AOL members are shopping every month, with 79 percent listed as potential repeat buyers. The company recently topped Media Metrix's most-visited network rankings for June.