June 11, 2001, 12:00 AM

eBay looks more and more like a retailer—or at least a mall

eBay today announced the launch of eBay Stores, customized shopping destinations on eBay that will expand the way goods and services are traded on the site.

eBay today announced the launch of eBay Stores, customized shopping destinations on eBay that will expand the way goods and services are traded on the site. "eBay Stores is the next step in eBay`s evolution," said Meg Whitman, eBay`s president and CEO. "Our sellers should realize increased sales as buyers become familiar with their stores. And our buyers will enjoy the added convenience of quickly being able to browse through the inventory of their favorite sellers."

A group of eBay Stores sellers are participating in a pilot program starting today. The majority of sellers in the pilot program are small business owners and individuals looking to expand their businesses including: Instrumentguy, a seller who specializes in musical instruments, Gemprof, a pearl importer, MoonBuz, seller of computers and electronics, and TexasBrit, a one-person company specializing in collectibles. In addition, larger companies such as IBM and Hard Rock Cafe will set up shop at eBay Stores, the company says.

Beginning June 18, eBay Stores will be open to all qualified online sellers. In the coming months, based in part on user feedback from the pilot program, the company expects to make enhancements to eBay Stores, including a shopping cart feature, integration of Half.com listings, and additional customization options. Mid summer, the company will aggregate all Stores and launch an eBay Stores Hub, a directory of eBay Stores, enabling buyers to browse and search among all stores or individual sellers.

Sellers will pay an initial monthly subscription fee of $9.95 and an initial fee of 5 cents per item. Final value fees range from 5% to 1.25% based on selling price. eBay is offering a free trial period, charging only final value fees until Sept. 1.

 

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