September 30, 2010, 5:51 PM

Channel Intelligence offers manufacturers a new direct-to-consumer shopping cart

Manufacturers now have the option of selling directly to consumers on a Magento e-commerce platform.

Channel Intelligence Inc., which launched a decade ago to provide manufacturers with web sites that forward sales to their online retail partners, now offers manufacturers two versions of shopping cart platforms for selling directly to consumers as well as through online retailers.

Channel Intelligence first offered its manufacturer clients a shopping cart for selling directly to consumers last year, when it acquired assets of Vcommerce Corp. But while the Vcommerce technology offered a platform for both customer-facing order management and back-end order fulfillment for large companies, Channel Intelligence is now offering a new and easier-to-deploy customer-facing order management and shopping cart system through the open source Magento Enterprise platform, says vice president of marketing Vic Murty.

Channel Intelligence is offering the Magento shopping cart as part of its new CI Commerce e-commerce software suite. The Magento system, which Channel Intelligence hosts for its clients, is designed to integrate with the vendor’s back-end order fulfillment technology, says Channel Intelligence product manager Rus Miller. He adds that Channel Intelligence chose Magento because its open source technology can be configured more easily than other technology platforms to support new applications, such as mobile and social media applications.

CI Commerce also features a Magento-based mobile commerce site platform that Channel Intelligence is currently beta testing for the iPhone, BlackBerry and Android mobile operating systems, Miller adds.

With set-up fees for CI Commerce starting at about $10,000, clients also pay fees based on a percentage of sales. That percentage declines as the client’s e-commerce sales rise, Miller says.

With CI Commerce, the product search results pages on manufacturers’ web sites can now include a Buy button link to the manufacturer’s own shopping cart alongside the links to the shopping carts of its retail partners. Manufacturers also have the option of operating a completely separate e-commerce site featuring only their own carts, but most clients have expressed interest in sharing the results page with retail partners, Miller says.


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