March 21, 1997 2:30 PM ET
One-stop buying coming to the Web
By Margaret Kane

  Ten different purchases at 10 online stores means you have to punch your credit card number into the Internet 10 times, right?

Not if The Internet Mall Inc.'s new purchasing system takes off. Shoppers heading to the Internet Mall, a Web site with connections to more than 26,000 stores, will soon be able to make purchases from those stores online and pay for them in a single transaction.

The company plans to debut a new service, the OrderEasy Secure Internet Shopping Service, which will provide shopping cart services, a database server, shipping and tax services, and transaction servers for real-time credit-card authorization to companies.

"Basically, you're looking at companies that have already purchased a server, they have an Internet connection, they're doing their marketing and now they want electronic commerce," said Bob Fasano, executive vice president of marketing and sales and a founding partner of The Internet Mall, based in San Jose, Calif. "If you want to, you need to upgrade or buy a new server, change software. It's a huge undertaking. We can offer immediately that transaction service capability."

Fasano said he currently has five stores in a beta test of the service, and expects to bring in 200 merchants in the first 90 days after the service goes live March 31.

The company has three pricing plans. The basic plan lets a company list 10 items for a $100 startup fee and a 15 percent transaction fee. The most expensive plan lists up to 200 items for a $2,000 startup fee, plus $500 a month and a 2.5 percent transaction fee.

The advantage for consumers is that they will be able to make purchases at several of the sites and only go through the transaction process once. The setup uses cookies to track individual shoppers.

"As I buy products, I continually fill my basket. It doesn't ask for ID and so forth each time," Fasano said. If a shopper is using a browser that doesn't support cookies, they will be asked for a password and ID.

The service also will compute the tax and shipping charges for each purchase, to help users keep tabs, and compile a grand total. The transaction can be completed with a credit card or by using CyberCash Inc.'s electronic wallet software. The Internet Mall then splits up how much of the payment goes to each store.

The Internet Mall can be found at www.internetmall.com.

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