DealTime Lowers Minimum Bids for Merchants

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In an effort to stay competitive, online comparison-shopping service DealTime Inc. yesterday lowered the minimum bids across all product categories for merchants to list on its site.

The New York and Brisbane, CA, company also began a SKU volume discount program for merchants listing 5,000 SKUs or more.

"Really what it does is offer shoppers an increased variety of products from more merchants," DealTime spokeswoman Krista Thomas said. "People want to have choices and that's really it. Part of our mandate to grow our network is to include every product that you can find."

DealTime said it wants to make it easier for merchants to join its network and present their entire catalog to the more than 1 million shoppers on the site.

According to the company, bidding to list in the computer, office and consumer electronics categories now starts at 30 cents a click. Consumer electronics previously was 35 cents a click, and computers and office were 40 cents. Appliances, previously 15 cents, are now 5 cents.

Another popular category, flowers and gifts, was 20 cents a click. Now it is 5 cents. Probably the most dramatic drop is in software -- from 25 cents to 5 cents.

Bidding on all other categories starts at 5 cents a click.

Furthermore, the SKU volume discount offers merchants listing at least 5,000 SKUs on DealTime with a discount on their total monthly bill.

There is no limit on the discount, Thomas said. Instead, there is a savings of 1 percent for every 5,000 SKUs listed. So, by extension, merchants would save 10 percent for listing 50,000 SKUs.

DealTime is confident such reductions will not erode margins.

"We're basically pretty comfortable that the people who are now going to participate will make up the difference, and we're confident we're not going to lose our high-end merchants," Thomas said.

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