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eBay To Launch Electronics Site During Comdex

Online auctioneer eBay will officially launch eBay Electronics on Nov. 18 at Comdex Fall 2002, a new Web site where all CE and computer products will be sold.

Soft launched several weeks ago, is part of eBay’s ongoing plan to break the merchandise on the site down into easier to handle chunks. Previously, these products were separated by category with a page for digital cameras, PCs and all the others said Todd Lutwak, director of eBay Electronics.

“To make it easier for customers we combined them all into one place. This gives a much clearer message now and should make eBay easier to use,” Lutwak said.

The site will continue to function as before with both new and used products being sold by manufacturers, retailers and average people. Every seller will operate under the same rules and eBay will collect the same fee regardless of whether the seller is IBM or person selling an old PC.

Another reason to create a separate site is the importance CE and computer products now play at eBay. This is the fastest growing category on eBay, responsible for $2.2 billion in sales during the past year, up from $1.4 billion the previous year, making it the second most popular category after eBay Motors.

The eBay Electronics site will have about 400,000 products for sale at launch. The products will be sold under the site’s traditional auction method and its fixed-price program that was implemented last July. The latter allows companies and people with large amounts of merchandise to fix a set price for everything.

To support the launch eBay is implementing a free shipping marketing scheme and is testing a new warranty program.

Lutwak said the site will highlight sellers offering free shipping. He said many sellers on the site have had free shipping for quite some time to compete with similar promotions on other online stores, but this is the first time eBay will make a concerted effort to point this out.

The warranty program is being conduced with N.E.W. Warranty. It has been operating since Oct. 15 in a testing or beta phase and at this time is only offered with electronic and computer products. The program allows sellers to place in their listing an offer to sell a warranty on their product to any prospective buyer. The products to be covered have to be less than five years old, but otherwise there are no restrictions.

Another aspect will center on the creation of a warranty section on the site where buyers can go and purchase a warranty for any product purchased, Lutwak said. A date for implementing this site was not available.

In addition to the launch of eBay Electronics, the company will be offering six seminars at Comdex as part of its eBay University program. These classes, being held in the Las Vegas Convention Center, teach businesses and people the best method of selling and buying on eBay. These classes are held on a regular basis around the United States. Each class will have 200 people and Lutwak expects all of them to sell out.

The company is also hosting the first eBay Electronics Sellers Summit. This will include a discussion on how these people and companies can better grow their eBay business and Lutwak said it will be an excellent forum for gathering ideas from users. Prizes will also be awarded to top sellers from the past year, he said.