Amazon.com has formed new partnerships with retail companies for “one click” online, multiple store shopping using one designated account. Amazon and Target Stores will partner their online sales, with Amazon handling the e-commerce transactions on Target’s Web site. Shoppers at target.com can either set up a new account for purchases from Target online, or they can use an existing account they already have with amazon.com. The one click shopping registration is known as an online “wallet service,” and Amazon claims to have online wallet services with Toys “R” Us, Virgin Entertainment and Borders, among other key retailers. Once given up for dead due to consumer concerns about privacy and security of shared online data, the convenience of one click shopping, where online billing and shipping information is already present, is obvious for consumers who frequently purchase items online from retailers. Amazon claims to have more than 26,000,000 active customers in its database with established online accounts, which presents a potentially very lucrative opportunity for expanding online retailing relationships among Amazon partners.
This opportunity has not gone unnoticed by Microsoft. Seeking a dominant presence in the e-wallet field, Microsoft has introduced Passport, a database service with user identification and sign-on features. Microsoft claims to have approximately 14 million Passport members. Passport authentication services can be used not only for retail online purchases, but Passport registration is required to access Hotmail email, some of Windows XP’s features, and Microsoft product development and services sites.