January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Why Amazon Is Beefing Up Its Customer Service Program--Again

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

Amazon.com is introducing three e-commerce innovations that it claims will significantly advance and improve how people shop and sell on the Internet.

     Amazon says the innovations expand the selection of merchandise available at Amazon.com, simplify the online shopping experience for both buyers and sellers, and empower anyone to set up shop on the Internet. The new programs include:

  • zShops enables anyone to offer merchandise for sale at Amazon.com, whether they are micro-manufacturers or major manufacturers, small businesses or global corporations, specialized retailers or "mega-conglomerates." All can now offer a vast array of popular or hard-to-find items to Amazon.com's more than 12 million customers.
  • Amazon.com Payments now allows individuals and small businesses to accept payments through Amazon.com's 1-Click payment feature, thus eliminating what is considered the greatest inconvenience of online transactions between individuals: the delays and hassles of sending checks and money orders through regular mail.
  • All Products Search helps shoppers find anything for sale on the 'net, providing customers with a convenient, easy-to-use guide for finding and discovering exactly what they want among the 'net's millions of offerings. This customized and specialized Web search engine is dedicated solely to shopping.

     "Amazon.com's heart and soul is all about making shopping better for customers," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "This is a win for customers who get bigger selection, a win for sellers who can now reach more than 12 million customers hassle-free, and a win for Amazon.com because we're now an even better shopping destination. This is all about finding what you want and saving time and money."

Amazon.com zShops

Amazon.com zShops is a new place on the Amazon.com site (http://www.amazon.com) where any seller can establish an online store, thus overcoming the distribution barriers of trying to sell in the physical world as well as overcoming the significant barriers of trying to sell online. Amazon.com is providing sellers easy access to its more than 12 million customers -- the largest and most experienced shopping base on the Internet.

     zShops offers hundreds-of-thousands of new, used, and hard-to-find products from specialty retailers, small businesses, and individuals -- random examples include buffalo steaks, office furniture, maternity clothes, golf clubs, car parts, and even time share accommodations at resorts.

     "We're delighted to welcome to Amazon.com the thousands of companies and individuals -- hobbyists, specialty retailers, entrepreneurs, inventors -- anyone with something interesting to offer," said Bezos.

Amazon.com Payments for Individuals, Small Business

Extending its familiar 1-Click payment technology, Amazon.com Payments now provides the first integrated payment system that enables people to use their credit cards to pay each other online. Eliminating a major hassle for individuals transacting with each other on the Internet, credit card payments provide a safer, faster and more convenient method for the seller and the buyer.

     Available to Amazon.com's zShops customers, 1-Click payments are executed through Amazon.com and are guaranteed for both buyers and sellers (only Amazon.com's secure servers receive buyers' credit card information). For shoppers who use 1-Click with a zShops merchant, Amazon.com charges the buyer's credit card and makes a direct deposit into the seller's checking account. An e-mail instantly advises sellers of the transaction so they can ship their goods immediately without waiting for money orders to arrive or checks to clear.

     Now shoppers can start at Amazon.com whenever they think of shopping. With All Products Search, shoppers can come to one shopping destination and find, discover and buy any product online -- even if Amazon.com or a zShops seller doesn't have it.

     Amazon.com's powerful, customized, shopping-only search engine now provides shoppers with access to an unprecedented range of products available for purchase on the Internet, whatever it is. Items are clearly and conveniently arranged as being available at Amazon.com, Amazon.com zShops, Amazon.com Auctions, and other online merchants.

     Search results provide detailed category information and merchant editorial as well as a place for customers to share merchant reviews and ratings.

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