Chase Manhattan Bank's Web site development deal with Seattle-based ShopNow.com is a twist on the big-name portal marketing agreements that some other banks have struck.
Other banks have paid essentially to be showcased on major sites, mostly to acquire customers. Such deals include Bank One Corp.'s with Excite, Citigroup Inc.'s with Netscape Communications Corp.'s NetCenter, and Bank of America's with Yahoo.
In contrast, the Chase-ShopNow.com deal involves creation of a separate co-branded site whose main purpose is not to attract new customers but rather to help holders of Chase and other cards make Internet purchases.
Chase's strategy seems to be in line with a December report from Forrester Research that analyzed the value of various types of portal deals.
"The brand of the future will be less about image and more about the quality of the entire customer experience," Forrester said. Offering services that support a site's purpose "allows customers to interact with more than a name and a logo." Card services on a shopping site would seem to fit that bill.
Eytan J. Lombroso, a senior vice president in Chase's card member services division, said the agreement with ShopNow.com could translate into "significant new revenue streams."
Chase was looking to the Internet for ways to capitalize on its position as the world's fourth-largest credit card issuer and largest merchant acquirer, Mr. Lombroso said. The $360 billion-asset bank has 22 million credit card customers, 35,000 merchant-processing customers, and 350,000 small business customers.
Chase selected ShopNow.com for its robust aggregation capabilities and end-to-end technology platform, Mr. Lombroso said.
Four Web sites-ShopNow.com, Chase.com, ChaseShopNow.com, and MyShopNow.com-are involved.
The last site is a customized section of ShopNow.com that displays preferred merchants and payment methods.
On the ShopNow.com site, which lists 29,000 merchants under 27 categories and attracts two million consumers a month, Chase will be highlighted as the "preferred provider" of financial services. Chase's credit card will also pop up automatically at the point of payment, though other cards will be accepted.
From that site as well as from Chase.com, there will be a link to ChaseShopNow.com, a site expected to be in operation by yearend.
There, Chase credit card customers will be presented with special offers. In addition, Chase merchant customers will get assistance in building a presence on the site.
Over time, Chase says it intends to use its customer information and data-mining capabilities to create a personalized shopping experience similar to MyShopNow.com.
A fee structure for Chase is still being determined, Mr. Lombroso said. ShopNow.com will receive a fee for each buying customer it sends to the merchant.
Just last month, Chase formed Chase.com to spur faster development and better coordination of its electronic commerce efforts. The ShopNow.com agreement is "just a starting point" in electronic commerce, Mr. Lombroso said.