CIBC eShops open for business

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada (CIBC), recently made a foray into the e-commerce arena with the launch of CIBC eShops (, one of the first online shopping communities offered by a Canadian bank.

In partnership with Montreal-based online transaction processing and support services provider SureFire Commerce Inc., CIBC eShops is a virtual shopping mall that allows CIBC-branded cardholders to purchase books, electronics, jewellery, music and more from participating Canadian vendors. Using Canadian merchants eliminates typical duty and exchange costs normally associated with international online shopping, according to CIBC.

Shoppers will be able to buy from any of the participating online merchants and pay at one final checkout point. CIBC eShops’ online shopping community currently features a variety of Canadian merchants such as Benix & Co., Collingwood Sound, Dynes Jewellers, Toys@play, and Great Niagara Outfitters and Clothiers. According to CIBC, returning or exchanging products on CIBC eShops will be easy, as all stores will carry a 30-day guarantee.

“CIBC eShops is a unique shopping experience with the latest online advancements – simplicity, security and value,” said Christine Croucher, executive vice-president for CIBC card products division in Toronto. To encourage online shopping, Croucher added, reward programs such as reward points, coupons and special offers are designed to encourage CIBC’s estimated 4.5 million credit card holders to consider online purchases.

This initiative is designed to be an online merchant-enabling and shopping experience, said SureFire Commerce president and CEO Rory Olson. He added that SureFire’s and CIBC’s goal is to boost consumer and vendor confidence in online shopping.

It’s a private-label deal where CIBCuses (SureFire) technology to create a fully integrated environment and shopping portal under the CIBC brand, said Daniel Kornitzer, senior vice-president, marketing and product management for SureFire.

“Our core expertise moves on processing payments both for online and offline transactions. We build our own proprietary technology and gateway which is basically connected to a variety of clearing networks and banking institutions so we can process credit card purchases…including electronic cheques where people can withdraw funds directly from their bank account,” Kornitzer said.

To address consumer concerns over the security of online transactions, Kornitzer said customers can open a Web-based account to make purchases without vendor access to confidential information.

“We’ve put a lot of effort in the areas of risk management and fraud protection,” Kornitzer said. “We’ve put in place different business processes that go from the minute we accept (new) merchants to the actual processing of real-time transactions. There is a real-time rules engine that basically checks a number of things before the transaction is authorized…We check things like the address to make sure there is a match between the billing address on the credit card and the address given by the consumer at the time of purchase.”

CIBC eShops will also allow participating vendors to build a virtual store complete with secure hosting, real time transaction processing, automatic order notification, billing, and shipping, Kornitzer said, adding that upcoming marketing programs are being developed to assist merchants in driving online traffic and increasing sales.

“Essentially we’re providing the underlying infrastructure both for the building of the online mall and the processing of the transactions. We also provide the customer service, with everything being branded CIBC. We basically leverage the name both in terms of the ability to sign up merchants and the ability of bring on consumers through CIBC’s base of 4.5 million Visa cardholders.”