Amazon.com aspires to be one-stop Net shop

Amazon.com took its latest step in becoming all things to all people buying products on the Web, and just in time for the busiest shopping season of the year. The company on yesterday announced three new features to its Web site designed to lure shoppers for anything to Amazon.com first.

In unveiling its zShops, All Products Search, and Amazon.com Payments programs, the e-commerce giant is hoping to attract countless numbers of business partners to sell products through the Amazon.com Web site. Zshops will enable any business to get started selling products on Amazon.com for a $US9.95-per-month subscription fee. Amazon.com will also take a 2 per cent to 5 per cent fee for each transaction conducted over zShops.

In addition, with Amazon.com Payments, companies will be able to take advantage of Amazon.com's trademark one-click buying process, with Amazon.com handling all of the credit card processing. Amazon.com will then credit the seller's account and leave order fulfilment to the vendor.

"It's the easiest way to set up shop online," said Jeff Bezos, chairman, CEO, and founder of Amazon.com, who highlighted several small and medium-size business already signed on to the zShops program. "We recognise that the Internet is infinite, so now you can go to one place for anything."

To facilitate the process of shopping for anything, the company also announced an All Products Search capability, which is in essence a search engine that looks only for e-commerce sites on the Web. The results come back with Amazon.com products first, then zShop products, then other sites unaffiliated with Amazon.com.

Currently, the company has more than 500,000 items up for sale through its zShops, with more than 21 million units. The company has priced the model so it will be assured a profit even if a zShop sells a competing item to Amazon.com at a lower price.

"If we can't be competitive, then we don't deserve the business," Bezos said. "We want to become an even better shopping destination by offering universal selection. You have to partner with thousands and maybe millions of companies to do that."

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