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Windows on the Web
-- by Diganta Majumder
Is it the rattle of the shopping cart that consumers just can't resist? This is one possibility IBM may have pondered as it shut down its World Avenue shopping site in June. Launched with much fanfare last year, the site featured such gilt-edged retail brands as Hudson Bay Co. But it failed to draw customers.
Big Blue blames itself. Having never been in the retail business, the computer giant couldn't generate site traffic on its own. Now IBM plans to stick to what it does best: It will roll out a stream of products to aid electronic commerce, build sites for close to 150 retailers and host some 300 others on its servers.
Other companies aren't taking IBM's failure to heart. Marketer CUC International agreed to pay America Online $50 million for the right to market its services to AOL subscribers. AOL already has nearly 400 stores as part of its basic online service. And PC giant Dell recently revealed it was bringing in close to $2 million in online sales every day.