Manufacturers test the Web for direct sales

By Jessica Davis, InfoWorld |  Business

Or how about this one: desktop productivity software -- word processors, e-mail, and spreadsheets that allow you to select the functionality you need, making only a small footprint on your PC.

Some manufacturers are mitigating the channel-conflict threat by working with third-party vendors to create solutions that still enable them to sell via the Web sites of their retail channel partners. By choosing this option, manufacturers control the look and feel of their merchandising message and can avoid getting into the hassle of creating fulfillment operations for single orders.

Whatever option a manufacturer chooses to sell online to consumers, it's clear that this is an evolving market. The way things are today won't be the way they are tomorrow. Manufaccturers and retailers will continue to test different approaches.

Just like the consumer or business PC market and the travel industry, the consumer products market will undergo profound changes as more manufacturers explore the power of the Web for both promoting and selling their products.

The introduction of more technologies such as Web TV and online devices for the general consumer market will only hasten the rate of change, bringing more consumer dollars to the online sales channel.

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