The move is designed to provide the more than 40,000 merchants featured on ShopNow.com--including OfficeMax, Petopia.com, PetSmart and WineBins.com--a way to obtain goods and services without using up their cash, according to ShopNow.com chief executive Dwayne Walker.
"[Bartering lets companies] use their surplus of stock to pay for merchandise," Walker said.
Keeping merchants happy is crucial in this highly competitive online market--which for ShopNow.com includes business and consumer e-commerce. ShopNow.com, along with rivals Go2Net.com and CyberShop.com, depends heavily on popular brand names to draw customers and other businesses to their sites.
This, combined with the current focus on business-to-business e-commerce, is prompting ShopNow.com to continue its expansion in the market, Walker said.
"Right now, over 85 percent of our revenues come from [businesses transacting with other businesses]," he said.
Under the deal, ShopNow.com merchants will be able to log on to Ubarter and trade for merchandise and goods. This is the second acquisition the Seattle-based ShopNow.com has made in the last two days and the third in the last month.
On Monday, the company announced that it had acquired WebCentric, owner of a Web site that lets Internet shoppers compare prices and products, for $50 million in stock. In November, the company took over privately held SpeedyClick, a Web community site for women.
ShopNow.com also generates revenues by helping stores set up shop on the Net, processing transactions and performing direct-marketing services.