Online Stamp Sales Surge

A boom in online postage sales powered Stamps.com into the April Top 20 site rankings of the NextCard eCommerce Index, a monthly listing of online merchants with the greatest number of e-commerce transactions by NextCard customers.

“It looks like consumers have accepted the ‘stamp from home’ concept,” NextCard vice president of e-Commerce Lisa Subramanian said. The Internet-centric NextCard focuses its marketing efforts on people who are Web-savvy and likely Internet shoppers. The company has exclusive promotional relationships with Amazon and Priceline.com, and operates a network of more than 40,000 online affiliates.

Based on data from those consumers — who may or may not be representative of the millions shopping online each month — NextCard proclaimed America Online and Amazon the Web’s most popular shopping sites.

By comparison, independent e-commerce research firm Media Metrix places Amazon as the top e-commerce site and AOL fourth, behind Blue Mountain Arts and eBay.

Heading Up

The U.S. income tax deadline in April helped Intuit maintain its hold on the NextCard index’s third slot, and 1-800-FLOWERS.COM benefited from the Easter and Passover holidays to improve 10 spots to number 17.

Meanwhile, Internet service provider Juno debuted on the list in the 25th slot. Online gaming sites, which NextCard considers “e-commerce” ventures, posted a 150 percent gain in purchase volumes.

Downward Trend

Despite growing recognition of its sock puppet mascot — which the company is achieving at considerable advertising expense — Pets.com dropped 12 spots in April and out of the e-commerce site rankings. Barnesandnoble.com, meanwhile, continued its slide from a high of third in January to reach the 11th spot in April. However, neither of those sites were the biggest losers of the month, NextCard says.

Healthshop.com, PCH.com and Priceline’s hotel reservation purchasing service saw huge transaction volume losses of 85 percent, 84 percent and 82 percent, respectively.

The biggest gainers were hosiery retailer One Hanes Place, with a 739 percent transaction volume improvement, Musictoday.com, which jumped 733 percent, and Toysrus.com, up 463 percent.

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