Amazon adds flea markets to European sites

ITworld.com |  Business

Amazon.com Inc. added its "Marketplace" feature to the U.K. and German versions of its Web site, allowing users to buy and sell used and collectable items on the same page where the new item is being sold, the company announced Wednesday.

In an effort to compete with the European online auction site QXL Ricardo PLC and the European versions of eBay Inc., Amazon.com has set up the site to enable used items such as books, video games, films and music to be offered alongside the new products on offer, Amazon.com said in a statement.

Seattle-based Amazon.com launched the U.S. version of the marketplace in Nov. 2000, and marketplace sales accounted for 15 percent of all the company's orders in the fourth quarter, Amazon.com said.

Amazon.co.uk has over 3 million active customers -- that is, customer accounts from which at least one order has been placed within the past twelve months, the company said.

The company already offers a "Z-shops" service, allowing smaller retailers to sell used items, and it also has an auction facility. The benefit of the marketplace feature is that it allows for side-by-side comparison with new products, Amazon.com said.

When browsing for an item, users will see an indication on the Web page that a used or collectable version of the product is available. There is an option for users to offer their own used items or to request a used item if one is not already advertised on the site.

Those who want to sell items over Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de must first register on the site by providing a name, e-mail address and credit card information to verify their identity, Amazon.com said.

Amazon.com charges a fee of 15 percent of the total price of the item as well as an additional closing fee (in the U.K.

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