January 28, 2005, 12:00 AM

Black & Decker beefs up its links to retailers

Seeking to convert its rapidly growing base of web site visitors into buyers, Black & Decker is employing Channel Intelligence to create links that enable customers to purchase power tools, hardware and home improvement products from online retailers.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

Seeking to convert its rapidly growing base of web site visitors into buyers, Black & Decker Corp. has added links that enable customers to purchase power tools, hardware and home improvement products from online retailers.

Shoppers can scan the Black & Decker site for product information and then click on a “Buy Online Now” icon to view a listing of merchants that carry specific items and learn which retailers have the inventory in stock. Customers are able to load items into a shopping cart after selecting a seller.

Black & Decker is using Orlando-based Channel Intelligence’s SellPath Product Links Service to connect to 15 merchants, including Sears, Wal-Mart, The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target and Kmart. The Towson, MD-based manufacturer previously just provided standard links to its largest retail distributors. The system went live Jan. 6. Internet Content Manager Ryan Schemmel won’t reveal sales figures or projected growth, but says early activity has exceeded expectations.

The company’s move to online selling was triggered in part by the results of a web survey last September in which Black & Decker customers listed the ability to purchase products and get pricing information as the top features they wanted to see added to the site. Black & Decker does not sell directly to customers to avoid competing with its merchant partners, Schemmel notes.

Channel Intelligence receives a monthly fee from Black & Decker for SellPath and provides the company with online transaction reports.

Black & Decker had 7.5 million web site visits in 2004, up 25% from the prior year. Schemmel attributes much of the increase to the “Beat Boomer” promotion that ran from Sept. 14 to Jan. 2.

Site visitors during that period were able to predict the winning teams and their margin of victory for that week’s National Football League games. Persons that scored better than former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason won a $5 rebate on their next purchase of a Black & Decker laser product.

The top-10 scorers each week also were awarded higher-value prizes, including a trip for two to the NFL’s Pro Bowl all-star game in Hawaii, power tools, sports memorabilia and cash.

Esiason advertised the contest on his New York radio show and during appearances on other programs. Black & Decker also attached “Beat Boomer” information stickers to its products, and used point-of-purchase displays and advertisements at ESPN.com to market the promotion.

 

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