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Merchant Brokering

After finding the right product or service, the consideration set moves from what to buy to where to buy it. At this stage, the consumer starts the process of evaluating the merchant itself. Price, convenience, availability, service, warranty, delivery time, reputation, security, and other factors all enter the merchant choice equation.

Comparison shopping agents such as mySimon (http://www.mysimon.com/) (see Figure 3.2) that compare prices from hundreds of different merchants; and Frictionless Commerce (http://www.frictionless.com/), which gives consumers the ability to search, select, and negotiate products; are two examples of merchant brokering.

Consumers can also get comparison information on merchants and their reputation. BizRate (http://www.bizrate.com/) rates merchants based on surveys that actual customers have supplied at the time of purchase. These merchant brokers are examples of another type of infomediary.

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