Compaq Computer Corporation (NYSE:CPQ) announced on Wednesday the completion of its acquisition of Shopping.com (OTC:IBUY), an online retailer of goods and services. Compaq hopes that its ownership of Shopping.com and the AltaVista Internet portal site will usher in a new era of Internet-based sales for the PC manufacturer, which still lags behind its major competitors in the e-commerce arena. A large portion of Compaq’s announcement focused on restoring consumer confidence in Shopping.com’s ability to provide adequate customer service to its online shoppers.
Shopping.com will become an operating division of the AltaVista Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Compaq.
AltaVista users will be presented with Shopping.com’s selection of over two million name-brand products, backed by more than 1,000 merchandising partners. Shopping.com also offers the “Maximizer” frequent shopping program, where customers earn reward dollars on all purchases and services.
“Our goal is to make Shopping.com the most satisfying place to shop on the Internet,” said Mike Rubin, vice president and general manager of e-commerce at AltaVista. “Shopping.com hosts a state-of-the-art transaction capability that best complements AltaVista’s content and customer traffic. This acquisition provides a unique opportunity to combine these capabilities into one superior experience for all levels of Internet users.”
New Focus on Customer Service
Under its new management, Shopping.com has reportedly begun implementing a series of new features and policies focusing on customer service issues. Apparently customer service has been a sore point for the company over the past year, and has generated numerous complaints to the Better Business Bureau.
Shopping.com customers can now receive answers to their questions around-the clock, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The company also says that customers can expect faster service now, through the integration of new internal support systems, and the doubling of the site’s customer service staff.
In addition, Shopping.com will offer customers who have a complaint on file with the Better Business Bureau prior to March 1, 1999, a $250 Shopping.com gift certificate, good for future purchases.
AltaVista Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Compaq Computer Corporation. A Fortune Global 100 company, Compaq positions itself as the second largest computer company in the world, and the largest global supplier of personal computers. Compaq develops and markets hardware, software, and services, including networking and communication products, in addition to its well-known line of PCs.