October 9, 2003, 12:00 AM

InFocus learns how to sell on the web as a manufacturer

When it realized that retail stores would not produce the sales growth it desired, InFocus decided to start selling its digital image projectors and related products directly to consumers over the web. But first it had to learn what customers wanted.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

When it realized that retail stores would not produce the sales growth it desired, InFocus Corp. decided to start selling its digital image projectors and related products directly to consumers over the web. But first it had to learn what customers wanted. “We realized that the first thing you have to learn in the e-commerce business is that, if you can’t understand your online customer data, you can’t run your business,” Greg Mills, manager of Americas e-commerce, says.

“We went online two years ago because we realized there was only so much growth in accessories sales to our regular customers, so we’re looking at direct-to-consumer sales as an area for incremental growth,” he says.

Working with a hosted e-commerce platform from Escalate Inc., InFocus constantly monitors visitors’ buying patterns, and how they react to merchandising displays. “Today, the InFocus X1 projector is major feature on our home page, because that’s what’s been getting an uptick in orders. We look at order data to see how we’ll display products,” Mills says.

“There is always a class of customers who will naturally gravitate to a manufacturer’s web site,” he adds. “We capture some of those as incremental sales, but we’re always evolving as a marketer, and our merchandising strategy changes with the products we have on the market.”

Since going online in 2001, InFocus has expanded its available products from simple items like lamps and accessories to high-ticket projectors that sell for $2,000 or more. But it maintains the same pricing online as is generally available in retail stores.

 

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