Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
Secure transactions, discounts and free shipping are the most effective ways to entice Internet users to return to shopping sites, according to a survey by Cyber Dialogue, New York. "A clear majority of online shoppers are most interested in simple, easy-to-understand characteristics," says Qaalfa Dibeehi, a senior analyst at the firm.
The survey lists the top draws for repeat visits as guaranteed transaction security (85%), price discounts (79%), free shipping (76%), ease of finding items (69%), and a prominently posted delivery and shipping costs policy (67%). Among the least important: postings of other shoppers' opinions (14%), the ability to personalize information and receive updates (23%), and one-click shopping (30%).
Overall, the survey shows that free shipping steered the decisions of 90%of online adults who made holiday gift purchases in 1999. More than 63% of online users say they prefer to shop at a site offering free shipping over one with well-known brands. Nearly three-quarters of the survey's respondents plan to increase their online purchasing during 2000.