Don Davis , Editor in Chief
Microsoft Corp. today announced the addition of electronic "wallet" functionality to its Passport e-commerce service. Available as a single sign-in service since July, Microsoft(R) Passport now allows online shoppers to purchase items with greater ease by eliminating the need to repeatedly type the same shipping and billing information when ordering products or services at different Web sites. Originally introduced on several areas of the MSN.COM(TM) network of Internet services, Passport is now available to third parties; more than 50 leading Web merchants, including barnesandnoble.com, BUY.COM Inc. and Dell Computer Corp., have already committed to support the Passport wallet service. In addition, consumers who create Passport wallets by Nov. 15, 1999, will be eligible to win* a $25,000 online shopping spree.
A Passport account, which can be obtained for free** at http://www.passport.com/, makes online shopping more convenient by allowing consumers to create an electronic wallet that stores all their billing and shipping information as well as a single sign-in name for use at participating Passport sites. The wallet alleviates the hassle for consumers of having to keep track of different sign-in names and passwords for their shopping destinations. Once users sign in, they can avoid the redundant and time- consuming data entry often required just to make a simple purchase. They simply open their wallet and select a credit card and shipping address, then Passport encrypts and securely transfers the information to the merchant for processing the transaction.
The network of merchants participating in the Passport service has already grown to include more than 50 Web sites, including market leaders such as barnesandnoble.com, BUY.COM, Chapters.ca, CDW Computer Centers Inc., COSTCO.COM, Dell Computer Corp., the Expedia.com(TM) travel service, iMall Inc., Office Max and skymall.com. (see addendum for a complete list). With Passport, Microsoft is helping participating merchants increase their site sell-through by streamlining their purchase process. According to Jupiter Communications, 27% of online consumers abandon the items they put into a "shopping basket" because they find filling out the forms too difficult. Passport helps online merchants address this problem by removing many of the barriers that customers face between browsing the "aisles" and leaving the "check-out counter."
Merchants Participating in Microsoft Passport Service