Newsbits


EarthLink Unveils Industry's Easiest and Most Affordable E-Commerce Solution


07:00 a.m. Nov 16, 1998 Eastern

     PASADENA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 16, 1998-- 

  EarthLink sets its sites on 10 million+ American small businesses,
  with a low-cost, professional and easy-to-use e-commerce solution

Beginning in mid-December, setting up shop on the Net won't just be for Fortune 500 companies, thanks to EarthLink's (Nasdaq: ELNK) new Entrepreneur class e-commerce Web site solutions. The new e-commerce packages, based on Breakthrough Software's ShopZone Web Edition(TM) software, are tailor-made for small- and medium-sized businesses, with three affordable levels of functionality beginning at just $20 a month.

The new slate of offerings fills a need previously unaddressed within the industry -- a full-featured, entry-level e-commerce site. By making Web storefronts accessible to smaller businesses, EarthLink has opened up a new market and brought e-commerce capability to companies that could not previously afford it. When these new e-commerce services launch in mid-December, they will include standard e-commerce tools like a catalog, shopping cart and secure connections. And EarthLink makes the process of building and updating a store a no-brainer, by providing attractive design templates and an online store builder that automates the process in nine easy steps.

"We've given the small proprietor a whole new way to reach customers and sell products and services to a huge global market by making e-commerce affordable and easy," said Garry Betty, president and CEO of EarthLink. "These sites really make Internet commerce a point-and-click proposition -- without sacrificing functionality or appearance. It's the best of all worlds for a small or medium sized business."

The e-commerce packages range from the $20-a-month, entry-level Kiosk package to the full-featured, $80-a-month SuperStore package. All offerings include EarthLink's Store Builder Wizard, licensed from Breakthrough Software, which makes building an online store simple. Packages also include pre-made design templates, a catalog, shopping cart, secure connections with customers, and more.

"High-end e-commerce solutions are well-suited for companies with the resources and expertise to support such operations, but there is a need for more robust solutions for small and medium businesses lacking such resources," said Joe Bartlett, director of Internet market strategies at the Yankee Group. "Given that there are over 10 million American small businesses, the potential market is huge for ISPs that offer a low-cost, professional and easy-to-use e-commerce solution."

Building a Store

The Store Builder Wizard, EarthLink's powerful online storefront management software, simplifies the process of choosing a design, cataloging and pricing products, and building or updating a site. By utilizing technology licensed from Breakthrough Software, EarthLink has created a "point-click-and-type" interface that can reduce the entire site-building process to less than an hour. Users simply name their site, type in any desired company information and select a design style or import backgrounds they've created. The Wizard then walks users through the process of building a catalog, including product names, prices, inventory numbers and detailed descriptions. It even helps calculate shipping and tax.

"Our objective with these new e-commerce offerings was to make the process of building and updating an online storefront as simple as a few clicks and keystrokes," said Julie Mantis, vice president of sales at EarthLink. "Running a small business is a tough job. EarthLink has made it so easy to run the site itself, businesses can concentrate on other important things."

Flexible Features; Reasonable Prices

All e-commerce offerings include use of the Store Builder Wizard, including pre-designed templates and the ability to import customized graphics and backgrounds. They also feature a shopping cart, automatic tax and shipping calculators, an automatic email order responder, secure connection ability, and more. Each e-commerce package also adds: o Kiosk -- For $20 a month (in addition to the $19.95 for a

StarterSite), members can build a 10 MB, 10-item catalog and site

management reports. o Store -- For $40 a month, members get an additional 10 MB of

space, a 50-item catalog, online credit card handling and

processing, enhanced site management reports and the ability to

download back-end information to a spreadsheet-compatible format. o SuperStore -- For $80 a month, members get an additional 20 MB of

space, a 100-item catalog, import and export of inventory

information to database, a custom discussion group setup, online

credit card handling and processing, detailed site management

reports, and the ability to download back-end information

directly into QuickBooks.

Other "a la carte" options include additional domains and storage space (sold in 5 MB increments), SSL SecureLink, WebSite Garage, email aliasing and additional boxes, more catalog items, third-party payment processing, and more. For more information about e-commerce, StarterSites, or any of EarthLink's award Internet-related products and services, please call 800-395-8425 or visit www.earthlink.net/business/ecommerce/.

About EarthLink

EarthLink is the world's largest independent Internet service provider. Through its unified EarthLink Sprint Internet access service, the company makes the Internet relevant and productive to hundreds of thousands of individuals and businesses every day. Headquartered in Pasadena, EarthLink provides a full range of innovative access and hosting solutions to thousands of communities internationally from more than 1,500 points of presence. EarthLink and Sprint Corporation (NYSE: FON) have formed a broad business relationship to create an Internet service with the potential to reach millions of new customers. Sprint is a global communications company and one of the world's largest carriers of Internet traffic. Information about EarthLink and EarthLink Sprint services is available by calling 800-395-8425 and through EarthLink's Web site at www.earthlink.net.


Copyright 1998, Business Wire



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