June 27, 2008, 12:00 AM

Facebook application lets foreign shoppers buy from Amazon`s U.S. site

Shoppers abroad with Facebook accounts wishing to shop the full U.S. Amazon.com product catalog can add the VineMall application, which ships products overseas.

Amazon.com Inc. offers a variety of international e-commerce sites, enabling online shoppers in foreign lands to shop in their own languages and have orders shipped to them from within their own countries. However, Amazon.com’s international sites offer varying subsets of products, not the entirety of the Amazon.com catalog that appears on the e-retailer’s U.S. site.

Vine Global Solutions Inc. has created a work-around for these shoppers, a bridge from their computers through social network Facebook to Amazon.com’s U.S. site, along with shipping from a U.S. address to their homes abroad.

The Facebook application is called VineMall. Facebook users can add the application to their page and from there shop Amazon.com. VineMall currently offers translated navigation and site search through VineMall in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German, Farsi and Korean. It will add French in the coming weeks.

Total prices, including customs, taxes and other fees, are presented in local currency. Product information is not translated at this time, though Vine Global does offer translation and localization services for retailer clients setting up international e-commerce sites. VineMall does offer a “how to” for its shopping process in each of the languages offered.

Here’s how VineMall works: When a shopper has added items to his cart and selects Proceed to Checkout, the Facebook application sends him to Amazon.com’s checkout page. He completes the shipping and payment information, which includes the address of Vine Global’s U.S. hub in Fresno, Calif. Then the shopper returns to the Facebook application to complete a brief form to pay Vine Global for international shipping from the Fresno hub to his overseas address.

Amazon.com treats VineMall as an affiliate, paying it an average commission of 8.5% per sale.

“Amazon.com offers nine different foreign web sites, but they are different product catalogs. They’re not like the U.S. inventory. People in these countries may want to shop for everything Amazon.com offers, and they now can do so through their Facebook accounts,” says Marc Raygoza, president of Vine Global Solutions. “We serve as a middleman that gives overseas shoppers a U.S. address and allows them to shop the full Amazon.com product catalog from around the world.”

Amazon ranks No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide

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