November 11, 2011, 2:25 PM

Amazon offers shoppers a tighter e-commerce leash

Its new browser bar enables consumers to keep check of Amazon deals and prices.

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Amazon.com Inc. today released a browser bar tool that enables online shoppers to keep abreast of the retailer’s deals and available products, even when browsing at other e-commerce sites.

The browser bar has several features:

• A related items tool that takes the keywords consumers type onto other sites, including search engines, and uses them to search Amazon.com “When it finds a match you'll see the related items button turn red,” Amazon says. “Click on the button to get Amazon.com results for the keyword you are searching for.” The tool also shows the price and availability of products on Amazon.com.

 

 

• A universal wish list tool that enables consumers to add products from other online stores to consumers’ Amazon wish lists. “When you see something you want, just click the wish list button,” Amazon says. “When you reach a product detail page your wish list button will turn red reminding you that there is a product on this page that can be added to your wish list.”

• A best sellers tool. Consumers press on the best sellers button to access the most popular items in various Amazon product categories.

• A deals button that turns red with new Amazon offers. Amazon says consumers using this feature will receive flashes for deals 10 minutes earlier than will other shoppers on Amazon.com.

• Amazon Web Search, which combines search queries with Amazon product information related to items the consumer is searching for.

Consumers with an Amazon account, and who are in the United States, can download the tool for free via the retailer’s e-commerce site. To use the tool, shoppers must have the Firefox 3.6 browser or higher, and computers with the Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.5 or higher operating systems.

Browser bars are hardly new, says Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp., a company that helps retailers sell through online marketplaces. “It’s interesting to see Amazon doing this now,” he says, adding the release date indicates that Amazon plans to integrate the tool into its upcoming Kindle Fire tablet computer.  He says retailers that already sell via the Amazon online marketplace may enjoy incremental sales as a result of consumers using the browser bar.

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