November 18, 2002, 12:00 AM

Competitors eBay and uBid set up online electronics stores

eBay is launching an online store for consumer electronics. The site is the first from eBay to organize free-shipping offers. In a parallel move, competing auction site uBid.com will launch a fixed-price electronics store next week.

EBay Inc.’s eBay.com is doing so well in computers and electronics sales-–handling about $1 billion in gross merchandise sales this year-–that it is launching an online store dedicated to consumer electronics , eBayElectronics.com. The site is the first from eBay to organize free-shipping offers. In a parallel move, competing auction site uBid Inc. said it will launch a fixed-price electronics store next week on uBid.com.

EBay’s move to focus more sharply on electronics is a direct response to the amount of interest eBay users are showing in electronics and free shipping, a spokesman says. “Like eBaySports and eBayMotors, this is another eBay business that should do $1 billion or more this year,” he says.

EBayElectronics offers the same products found on eBay.com, both in auction and buy-it-now fixed-price modes of purchase. “EBayElectronics is providing for a more convenient shopping experience in one easy-to-find location,” he says.

The free shipping, offered by eBay’s independent sellers with no direct involvement from eBay, was organized in an easy-to-find section of eBayElectronics to reflect the interest expressed in it by both sellers and buyers, the spokesman says.

UBid, a majority-owned operating company of CMGI Inc., said it will offer new, brand-name products in consumer electronics, computers and peripherals, including recent DVD movies, at the uBid Electronics Superstore, which will add fixed-price sales to the auction business at uBid.com. "Entering the busiest of retail seasons, we`re affirming uBid`s focus as a leading business-to-consumer pipeline for computer and consumer electronics," said Christian Feuer, president and CEO.

UBid also said its Electronics Superstore would offer discounted shipping fees of $2.49 per order. In addition, uBid said its auction business would reduce its opening bid during the holiday shopping season by more than 80%, with most bids starting at $1.

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