Private equity firm Apollo Global Management will take Rackspace private in the all-cash deal.
America Online, Inc. today announced the debut of its new Shop@AOL consumer online shopping destination, introducing a cutting-edge product design and state-of-the-art merchandising features designed to support the next wave of online shoppers and deliver an even more comprehensive and consumer-friendly online shopping experience across AOL's network of interactive brands. Using the "Shop@" identifier, these new e-commerce destinations are branded Shop@AOL, Shop@AOL.COM, Shop@CompuServe, Shop@Netscape and Shop@Digital City.
In a related release, the Company also announced today that it has entered into a new partnership with Chic Simple, publishers of the hottest-selling series on style advice, that will offer visitors to AOL, Inc. shopping destinations immediate interactive solutions to their modern-day wardrobe questions.
The new Shop@AOL marketplace will begin to roll out to consumers on July 26 and will culminate with the introduction of new shopping services in October 1999. Once the rollout is complete, the experience will be available to the more than 46 million people who use AOL's network of interactive brands, or 70% of all those who visit online services or Web sites every month, according to Media Metrix research. As a result of its extensive reach, Shop@AOL will be the largest consumer shopping destination in the world, and the most important online retail channel for merchants.
Shop@AOL includes a series of state-of-the-art merchandising features designed to deliver a more sophisticated and dynamic shopping experience. These next-generation features include Commerce Centers, Online Catalogs, Personal Buying Guides, and a next-generation Web-based version of its Quick Checkout "wallet" technology, available to both AOL members and users of AOL's Web-based brands.
The introduction of Shop@AOL is an integral part of the Company's strategy to enhance its users' overall shopping experience and drive increased retail sales for its rapidly growing roster of merchant partners. By streamlining the online shopping experience and creating a more compelling interactive shopping environment, the new marketplace provides AOL merchants with the unique opportunity to display and sell the widest variety of products to the largest audience of buyers online or on the Web.
Specifically, the design of the new brand provides merchants with increased merchandising opportunities; the seamless integration from the Shop @ AOL brand to their Web sites; larger image "panels" for more robust product displays; tracking and reporting benefits of new customer-friendly shopping services; and more text for product descriptions.
By leveraging the tremendous reach of its portfolio of brands, AOL's e-commerce strategy allows Shop@AOL merchants to substantially broaden their audience of buyers both at home and at work, while providing them the unique opportunity to market their goods and services.
AOL brings together the largest concentration of customers in the media world. Of the service's more than 17 million members, more than half -- or 10.2 millon -- are now shopping online, according to Bennett, Petts & Blumenthal research. Repeat purchase patterns are also strong. According to Internet Research Group, a full 30% of AOL members are shopping every month; and 79% of AOL members who shop indicate they are "also likely to purchase again next month."
Almost 30 million people use AOL.COM every month at home and work, according to Media Metrix's June 1999 research.