[email protected] Hosts Free Web Shops

[email protected] Tuesday unveiled its
e-commerce storefront service enabling dot.com start-ups to build online
stores for free.

Dubbed Freetailer, the service
enables [email protected] users to create and manage a fully
functioning online stores at no cost.

The free e-commerce service features a straightforward Web interface that
requires no up-front investment from e-tailer wannabes.

Mark O’Leary, [email protected] Business Solutions executive vice president said
the no-fee is essential to building its e-commerce Web content.

“Freetailer is a key step in our strategy to be the leader in e-commerce
innovation and to help entrepreneurs and small businesses successfully
establish themselves in the Internet economy,” O’Leary said.

Freetailer offers 25 megabytes of storage, 1 gigabyte per month of data
transfer, customizable storefronts, virtual cash register, and shopping
cart services for free.

Building an online store with Freetailer means that owners receive
automatic entry into Excite’s general search database and shopping service

Secure order management and real-time reporting of customer orders and
e-wallet data, as well as sales and marketing tips are available to users
through [email protected]’s merchant resource center.

Dan Odette, Excite Business Applications vice president of marketing said
everyone from mom and pop shops to Web-only startups could easily become
savvy e-tailers through the free service.

“We’ve designed Freetailer to be a flexible service that provides the tools
to quickly build a Web store that automatically becomes part of Excite’s
popular shopping services,” Odette said.

[email protected] also intends to up-sell its services to successful
“freetailers.” It offers a variety of commerce upgrades including domain
name registration services, e-mail accounts, credit card merchant account
information and secure payment gateways. Advertising programs, premier shop
listings, additional disk storage space, and extra bandwidth are also

A recent IDC study indicates that U.S.
e-commerce has plenty of room to grow. But the report indicated that
successful e-tailers must focus on converting non-buyers into active online

Jim Williamson, IDC consumer e-commerce senior analyst, said poor Web
performance and design are currently the largest obstacles to online purchases.

“The greatest segment of growth for ecommerce companies will be the current
cadre of non-buyers, which means a detailed understanding of this segment
is necessary,” Williamson said. “Typically, users who abandoned an online
purchase midstream said the reason they did not complete the purchase was
because their online session was interrupted.”

“Optimizing site performance and decreasing the number of pages in the
checkout process are critical to the success of an ecommerce site,”
Williamson said.

Leveraging [email protected]’s network, design and advertising skills is a solid
way for e-tailers to increase their chances of building a successful Web store.

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