AOL Member Spending Doubles

Spurred by a doubling of e-commerce purchases by members, America Online Inc. rolled out a
new layout in its shopping area and new tools for shoppers designed to
streamline the buying process.


AOL said that its members are returning again and again to its Shop@AOL
online marketplace to make their purchases, with total online spending by
members rising to $4.9 billion in the quarter ending June 30 — more than
double the $2.4 billion spent in the same quarter last year, and up
significantly from the $3.9 billion spent during the first quarter of this
year.


In fact, AOL said that nearly 70 percent of its members made an online
purchases in the past six months.


Shop@AOL now includes 37 category-specific shopping departments, ranging
from Clothing & Accessories to Toys & Games, all of which now utilize new
time-saving “fly-out” menus; a new Bargain Basement area; an enhanced Search
function that includes product reviews, shipping information and the ability
to list products by price or
popularity; gift ideas and specialty shops conveniently accessible through
the main Shop@AOL screen; and a new Shopping List that will enable shoppers
to “bookmark” products to refer to or purchase later.


The new “fly-out” menus allow shoppers to flow seamlessly from department to
department by significantly reducing the number of clicks users need to find
and purchase products.


The Shop@AOL area also features a revamped main screen and an updated, layout
that highlights one-touch access to various shopping departments.


Powered by SmartBargains, the new Bargain
Basement area offers convenient access to discounted brands in men’s and
women’s apparel, consumer electronics, kitchen appliances and other items for
the home.


“The number of households shopping online is expected to double in the next
two years, and when people come online they want to find a shopping
experience that brings them the best selection of merchants, products and
easy-to-use features,” said Katherine Borsecnik, senior vice president for
strategic businesses at
AOL.


“The redesign enables us to offer consumers the latest features and
innovative services available online.”


Beginning later this fall, Shop@AOL users will find the search feature
enriched with consumer product reviews entered by other AOL members. The new
search results
will offer more details, including product images, product descriptions and
lists of key
features, along with independent reviews of Shop@AOL retailers, offering
details on the quality of the site, return policies and shipping charges.


In addition, merchants will have the opportunity to list information such as
special offers, product availability, and shipping information in the Search
results.


Shop@AOL is available to AOL members on the proprietary service at Shop@AOL,
to CompuServe members at Shop@CompuServe, and to visitors through the Web at
Shop@AOL.com, Shop@Netscape,
Shop@Spinner and Shop@Gateway.

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