MSN Ramps Up for Consumer Demand This Holiday Shopping Season

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 4, 2000 — The MSN® network of Internet services today announced a new consumer-friendly initiative to help the increasing number of online shoppers have a positive experience this holiday season. MSN will feature a centralized Return Center to simplify the return process and minimize frustration experienced by online shoppers. To further address online shoppers’ needs, MSN also today reinforced its commitment to providing consumers with a secure, private and service-oriented shopping experience by highlighting the MSN Shopping Pledge. These efforts are part of the MSN focus to deliver the most informed online shopping experience this holiday season.

“MSN shopping had a phenomenal inaugural season last holiday, and it has helped us prepare for this season to ensure that every shopper has a positive experience,”
said Sarah Lefko, product manager for MSN.
“We’re adding a centralized Return Center as part of our ongoing commitment to offer consumers a premier online shopping experience on MSN, where there are more tools at your fingertips than any other shopping site online.”

The Return Center, which will be integrated into MSN eShop later this fall, is designed to help simplify the return process for online shoppers. Shoppers will be able to find the return policies of each MSN eShop merchant clearly identified as well as other information and resources, such as local shipping locations, to help make returning merchandise easier.

As part of its continuing commitment to ensure that consumers can shop and buy online with confidence, MSN renewed its dedication to security, privacy and service through its MSN Shopping Pledge. To provide assistance and education about online shopping in a central location, MSN in effect created a virtual customer service desk in the help section. The service desk gives shoppers the option of sending e-mail to an MSN representative 24 hours a day to assist with online shopping issues. The MSN Shopping Pledge also will be sent via e-mail to MSN users to inform them about security, privacy and customer service protections and policies on MSN.

Since its initial launch last holiday season, MSN has demonstrated its commitment to protecting shoppers’ privacy and security by working with only the highest-quality merchants. All MSN merchants have agreed to conduct consumer transactions securely, and they must post clear and understandable privacy statements on their sites. In addition, MSN has dedicated an entire section of its site to help users find key information on all its merchants, including toll-free customer service numbers and tax and shipping information.

MSN shopping has experienced phenomenal growth over the past year with double the number of shoppers. During that same time, transfers to merchants have increased 500 percent, which means that MSN is helping more consumers than ever find exactly what they are looking for online. Last quarter alone, MSN experienced nearly 50 percent growth in the number of consumers using MSN to shop online.

MSN eShop offers consumers the most complete array of decision-making resources and tools to help them easily find what they want and make the right buying decision. These resources include Power Searching, Epinions Consumer Reviews, Expert Reviews, detailed product information and side-by-side comparison shopping. MSN eShop’s recently enhanced Gift Center offers additional resources including occasion-based Gift Finders, gift guides, personalized reminders and
“save for later”
gift ideas.

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) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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