June 30, 2011, 1:17 PM

ShopRunner kicks up the pace

The Amazon Prime competitor plans an e-wallet and a monthly subscription option.

Lead Photo

ShopRunner Inc., the fledging shipping and online marketplace service that aims to trip up Amazon.com, next month plans to offer a limited release of its latest feature: an electronic wallet designed to cut the hassle of web purchases.

ShopRunner president Mike Golden tells Internet Retailer the e-wallet will enable consumers to store payment and shipping information so that they don’t have to enter that information every time they make a web purchase. “A member shouldn’t have to go through multiple steps to complete a checkout process,” Golden says. Golden says the tool, which he calls the “buy now” widget, will debut with a single retailer in the second half of July. He declines to name the retailer.

ShopRunner, formerly a unit of GSI Commerce, has about 44 retailers offering its service to consumers and dozens more signed up to become active later this year. By the end of November, ShopRunner will have 90 participating retailers, Golden says.

Besides offering free two-day shipping to consumers who pay the $79 annual fee—the same price and service level as ShopRunner’s chief competitor, Amazon Prime—ShopRunner operates ShopRunner.com/marketplace, where shoppers can click on offers from such retailers as Lord & Taylor, Toys ‘R’ Us, No. 29 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, PetSmart, No. 294, Newegg.com, No. 12, and NFLShop.com, No. 128.

The new e-wallet will use software developed by ShopRunner to store consumers’ payment card information and shipping and billing addresses, and to process payment transactions. ShopRunner will offer the e-wallet to retailers for free, at least to start out, Golden says. If the e-wallet proves to increase conversion rates and sales for ShopRunner retailers, the company may begin to charge a fee for it, he adds.

Other changes also are coming to ShopRunner. Starting next month, ShopRunner will begin offering consumers the option to sign up for its shipping service on a monthly basis for a fee of $8.95 per month; consumers who pay the monthly fee for a year would pay $107.40 for a 12-month period, compared with the $79 annual subscription. “This is a risk for us because some consumers would only use us for the holiday season, but we think that once consumers use our service a couple of times they love it and don’t quit,” Golden says.

ShopRunner also might offer a premium service for a higher annual fee that would deliver orders within one day or even the same day, Golden says, declining to say when the company might move on that idea. “Our ultimate goal is free, same-day delivery,” he says.

Golden adds that ShopRunner also plans to launch an iPhone app, which he says will be available through the Apple Inc. App Store within the next few weeks. The app will enable shoppers to scan a product code in a store to see if the same product is available online through ShopRunner’s two-day free-shipping program.

After eBay Inc. bought GSI Commerce, ShopRunner began operating as an independent company owned by NRG Commerce, a holding company controlled by Michael Rubin, GSI’s former CEO. EBay retains a 30% ownership stake in ShopRunner.

NRG Commerce’s holdings also include former GSI units Rue La La, a flash-sale e-commerce site, and Fanatics Inc., an online sports merchandise retailer.

 

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