February 27, 2003, 12:00 AM

Appliance makers on the web learn to walk a fine line between retailers and consumers

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“We’ve heard from some manufacturers that these increased rates of conversions have resulted in up to 30% increases in sales of particular products,” Wight says. Channel Intelligence, which launched its service with Panasonic in December 2001, is working with 50 manufacturers and about 150 retailers. Many of the retailers connect with multiple manufacturers.

Channel Intelligence uses web services technology to integrate manufacturer and retailer web sites, an approach that enables it to get a manufacturer connected with about 20 retailers within a few days, Wight says. Web services use data integration standards that enable disparate applications to link without extensive writing of programming code.

Depending on the amount of products and retailers involved in a manufacturer’s web-selling strategy, Channel Intelligence charges manufacturers as much as $25,000 per month to host the integrated transactions with retailers, though small manufacturers with limited products and fewer retailers may pay as little as $1,000 per month. It charges nothing to connect the retailers. Other than a JavaScript connection Channel Intelligence builds into the manufacturers’ web sites, its clients are not required to build anything onto their own infrastructure.

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