A Forrester report points out challenges faced by some business-to-business firms working online.
American Blinds, Wallpaper and More will offer its web customers interior shutters from Sunburst Shutters along with professional installation. American Blinds stopped selling interior shutters online early last year.
American Blinds, Wallpaper and More sells a range of window treatments and wall coverings-including blinds, shades, curtains, draperies and wallpaper-and most of its online customers install the products themselves, says CEO Joel Levine. But interior shutters are too complicated for most do-it-yourselfers, which is why American Blinds recently announced a deal to sell on its web site interior shutters from Sunburst Shutters Inc. along with professional installation.
“It’s like taking a race car into a local gas station and asking them to fix it,” Levine says. “It’s a product that’s best installed by a professional.” American Blinds stopped selling interior shutters online in January 2007 because too many customers had problems installing them, Levine says.
Visitors to americanblinds.com who want a quote on interior shutters put in their Zip code to get an average price for their area on the shutters they want. That price varies with the cost of shipping the shutters from Sunburst’s plant in Wisconsin and the local labor rate for installers, Levine says. The two companies will share the proceeds of the sale.
In the first two weeks, orders for the Sunburst products have been about three times as high as the two companies expected, Levine says, although he did not provide the actual number of orders.
American Blinds, No. 275 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, sells exclusively online except for one store near its headquarters in Livonia, MI. The company generated online revenue of $31.3 million in 2007, up 30% from $24.0 million in 2006.