Software Allows Drag-and-Drop Purchases Across Multiple Sites

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E-commerce program developer QuickBuy Inc., Tyngsboro, MA, is beta testing software for drag-and-drop online buying that industry watchers think could revolutionize electronic shopping and advertising in one fell swoop.


The company plans to announce partnership promotions programs with major portals such as Yahoo, Lycos and Netscape to ensure its technology becomes an industry standard. It has already signed agreements with Sage Networks, Net Objects and Computer Associates to promote the software to their clients.


QuickBuy's software agent, called a buycon, acts as a wallet and electronic shopping cart. But it differs from similar products by allowing shoppers to drag and drop product icons on various merchant sites into an electronic cart which remains with them during the shopping spree. The icons store information such as price, color and availability of each item even as the shopper moves from site to site.


Buycon technology enables shoppers to visit as many sites as they want over as long a time period as they want without having to re-enter their credit card details with each purchase. The software utility is available from QuickBuy's Web site at www.quickbuy.com.


"The service is free to consumers, but the merchants pay between 2 cents and 2 percent of the transaction," said Gary Miliefsky, QuickBuy president/CEO.


The cost depends on the size of the retailer and the number of stock keeping units it has.


The advantage to advertisers is the product's stickiness, said Miliefsky, because one shopping cart stays with a user regardless of how many sites are visited.


The technology won the Internet Commerce Expo Best of Show award in late March in Boston. Miliefsky believes the new technology will "catch on like wildfire" with buyers.


James McQuivey, senior analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, affirmed, "This technology can distribute your commerce abilities further than anything else the Web has ever done. That could show up later in palm pilots. It could show up later on consumer desktops and there are all kinds of places where this could be of great use."


However, its success hinges on convincing Web merchants to invest in its technology. One drawback of buycon is that it requires the e-commerce Web site owner to install a specialized server to support it, and in these times of open standards, embracing proprietary technology is increasingly scarce.


"It needs to get network-wide adoption before it is useful to anyone. So unfortunately it will either be a wild success or it could fail totally. There's no middle ground here," McQuivey said. "In a way it's like the browser. Until consumers used it, they didn't really understand why they needed it.


"They're going to have to get their technology in every other wallet technology out there, such as Microsoft passport wallet and AOL wallet when they get theirs built."
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