September 20, 2002, 12:00 AM

The new Whirlpool.com links shoppers to local retailers

In a sales program launched this week, Whirlpool is allowing shoppers on Whirlpool.com or KitchenAid.com to find and select a product, then enter a ZIP Code to find locations of Whirlpool-authorized retailers.

 

Whirlpool Corp. is taking a new step in fixing an online dilemma faced by manufacturers: how to leverage direct contact over the web with consumers without alienating their retail partners. In an e-Partner Online sales program launched this week, Whirlpool is allowing shoppers on Whirlpool.com or KitchenAid.com to find and select a product, then enter a ZIP Code to find locations of Whirlpool-authorized retailers. The program covers more than 5,000 retailers, including national networks Brands Direct and Brands-Source as well as local and regional stores.

"By connecting our customers with our local retail trade partners, they are assured personalized service and attention from qualified trade partners dedicated to complete customer satisfaction," said Alan Shaw, Whirlpool`s vice president for customer relationship management.

The program also supports comparison shopping. A customer who chooses a model can find the manufacturer’s suggested price, then local retailers and their prices. A selection made from a Chicago-based computer of a particular Whirlpool side-by-side refrigerator, for instance, displayed a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,899, which Brand-Source offered, and also prices under $1,700 by Brand Direct and local retailer Abt.

 

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