September 9, 2010, 5:46 PM

Amazon makes it easier for its customers to check out on other retail sites

Consumers paying with Checkout by Amazon no longer are redirected to Amazon.com.

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Amazon.com Inc. is making it more convenient for the 118 million consumers with active Amazon accounts to use their stored payment card and shipping address information to check out on other retailers’ sites.

Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (http://www.internetretailer.com/top500/), announced today that consumers who choose to pay at other retail sites with Checkout by Amazon will no longer be redirected back to Amazon.com. Instead, they will remain on the other merchant’s web site to complete the transaction. They will still have access to the credit and debit card numbers and shipping addresses they’ve stored with Amazon.

“The shopper experience is improved with this new version,” says Eric Best, CEO of Mercent Corp., which helps retailers sell through online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. “The buyer remains on the merchant’s web site and that makes for a more cohesive shopping experience.”

Best says about 20% of Mercent’s 150 retailer clients have implemented Checkout by Amazon, which Amazon introduced in July 2008, and that the number is growing.

He says it’s a particularly useful option for lesser-known retailers, as consumers may be more comfortable paying with cards they’ve stored with Amazon than giving card information to a retailer they don’t know much about. “Having the confidence that you’re completing your purchase through a known, established, customer service-oriented company goes a long way in the mind of the consumer,” Best says.

With Checkout by Amazon, the merchant retains all of the information about the consumer and has full rights to market to that individual, Best says. That’s not the case when merchants sell on the Amazon marketplace, as Amazon typically restricts the merchant’s ability to market electronically to consumers who buy from another merchant on Amazon.com, he says.

"Amazon’s Inline Checkout is a pretty big leap forward because it allows retailers to integrate the Amazon checkout technology to keep consumers on their site versus a redirect-type solution," says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., another firm that facilitates sales through online marketplaces and comparison shopping engines. "Both Standard Amazon Checkout and PayPal Checkout, with their redirect models, are more jolting to the consumer and introduce risk in the checkout process as the consumer is routed from the retailer’s site to the checkout site and back again.  For Amazon, it’s a normal progression and we hear that feedback at ChannelAdvisor, so we think they’re listening to customers and improving the experience based upon customer feedback.  The only negative is that more integration is required for the Inline version than the Standard."

Amazon made the change in response to feedback from merchants who wanted a more streamlined version of the checkout system, says Baris Cetinok, general manager of Amazon Payments.

E-commerce technology provider Demandware says the new version of Checkout by Amazon is 60% faster to implement. “CBA now also supports all of a merchant’s promotions, tax rules and shipping settings automatically,” says Scott Todaro, senior director of product strategy at Demandware.

“For us, faster integration means faster time to market,” says Peter Green, director of marketing for Geeks.com, an e-retailer of consumer electronics offering Checkout by Amazon. “And a better, more brand-friendly experience for the buyer means more sales for us, just in time for the holiday season.” Geeks.com is No. 203 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide (http://www.internetretailer.com/top500/).

Amazon’s fees for Checkout by Amazon are the same as those of rival online payment system PayPal, a unit of eBay Inc. Both charge 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for retailers that process less than $3,000 a month, declining to $1.9% plus 30 cents per transaction for those exceeding $100,000 in monthly purchases.

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