By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
SEATTLE —There's no grass growing beneath Amazon.com's virtual feet. Within the past few weeks, the mother of all cyber stores announced a seemingly non-stop series of online partnerships and site enhancements. These include the creation of a Wireless Phones store offering service from AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS and VoiceStream Wireless; authorization to sell multibrand DirecTV systems and subscriptions; and a deal to provide Consumer Reports product reviews to customers. Amazon has also teamed up with RepairNow.com, the online arm of National Electronics Warranty Corp. (NEW), to provide troubleshooting tips and service-center referrals.
DAYTON, OHIO —247Showroom.com, an e-business developer servicing CE, appliance and furniture retailers, has added R.C. Willey Home Furnishings to its list of brick & mortar clients. 247 president Charles Palko said his company will help Willey launch its e-commerce site, www.RCWilley.com within the next three months using 247's content infrastructure and its Online Merchandise Interface System (OMIS) to manage the operation. Recently, 247 launched the website of fellow NATM member American Appliance (www.AmericanAppliance.com), which is currently servicing cyber shoppers in Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
PORTLAND, ORE. —Just as the holiday selling season was getting into full swing last month, online CE specialist 800.com received authorization to sell 14 additional manufacturers, bringing its fully vendor-sanctioned assortment up to 70 brands. Among the latest to join 800's product parade were Aiwa, AT&T, Atlantic Technology, Bazooka, Canon, Carver, Cobra, Hafler, JVC, Onkyo, Polaroid, Samsung and Uniden. "We are delighted to solidify our brand lineup," said CEO/founder Greg Drew. "Authorizations are key to our full-service business model…and allow 800.com to offer our customers exceptional service and selection."
BEVERLY, MASS. —MobileToys.com, a mobile electronics information resource and referral service, has changed its name to MobileToys dot. The move was designed to better distinguish the parent company from its two online subsidiaries: consumer site MobileToys.com, and the b-to-b MobileToys.net, which licenses content to other e-tailers and provides business management and installation software to independent retailers. In other news, the company has begun to offer its independent dealer network extended-service contract programs through an alliance with WarrantyNow.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. —GetPlugged.com, the high-end A/V retail portal, is abuzz with activity. Just last month the site was sanctioned by Sony to act as an "authorized internet infomediary," which allows it to provide consumers with information on the manufacturer's product line and refer them to the nearest authorized dealer within its retail network. More recently, the site launched a GetSales Referral Service that, for a monthly fee of $19.99, will direct GetPlugged shoppers to subscribers'stores.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.