RealTime IT News

Amazon Adds More Bricks to its Clicks

There's little doubt, this is just what Amazon.com needed: a deal with a major real-world chain that will allow for some real-world pickups and returns.

The giant Seattle-based e-tailer signed a multi-year deal with the 600-store-plus Circuit City chain of electronics stores that makes in-store pickup available in November, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Financial arrangements were not disclosed, but in addition to the pickup options, Amazon gains an expanded product line for its electronics department.

Where both Amazon.com and Circuit City offer the same electronics products, customers will have a choice between traditional Amazon.com shipping options and immediate pickup a nearby Circuit City store.

Items offered by Circuit City that are not offered in the Amazon.com Electronics store will be available exclusively for in-store pickup; merchandise offered by Amazon.com that is not available at Circuit City will be delivered exclusively from Amazon.com.

Amazon's stock has been slipping back of late; Friday it closed at $9.99. This morning it was up to $10.13 shortly after the opening.

Amazon.com said it will be paid a percentage of the revenue for Circuit City electronics merchandise purchased through Amazon.com's Electronics store. Amazon.com will be responsible for processing the transaction; Circuit City will be responsible for product fulfillment, as well as providing product-related customer service.

Circuit City will also accept returns on merchandise picked up at Circuit City stores.

"Circuit City ... believes this agreement will serve as a revenue generator for both companies ..." said W. Alan McCollough, president and chief executive officer of Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City Stores Inc. Circuit City already has its own Web site, but this deal clearly will give it wider exposure to Web shoppers. Circuit City sells personal computers and entertainment software as well as consumer electronics.

McCollough, said that almost half of Circuit City's own Web customers choose the in-store pickup option.

"For electronics shoppers who want their merchandise right away, our new in-store pickup option is a great way for them to get exactly what they want, when they want it," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO. Amazon.com's electronics business launched in July 1999 and is the company's second-largest U.S. business, after books.