To Launch In October

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0, the online major appliance buying site, has pushed back its launch date and will now begin selling white goods over the Internet on October 28.

After internal testing of, the site will be available for "soft launch" sampling by a few outsiders by the end of September, a spokesperson said. Consumers will be able to access the site and begin buying appliances online a month later.

The founders of are Whirlpool, The Hearst Corporation (whose Good Housekeeping Institute will provide product information for the site) and The Boston Consulting Group.

Full launch of the web site was originally slated for late September, after a trial period in August (TWICE, June 28, p. 1). Initially, the site will offer major appliance product data and sales in six categories: ranges, refrigerators, microwave ovens, washers, dryers and dishwashers. Consumer electronics products such as TV sets and audio equipment are expected to be added later.

The site will allow consumers to search for and compare products and features as well as test results, then either purchase their choices online or obtain a guaranteed price from retailers in their local area. It will list products from virtually every appliance manufacturer, according to officials.

Retailers will pay a fee to be listed on the site. The spokesperson said the company is still talking with buying groups, chains and other appliance retailers about signing up for the program but is not yet ready to announce names of participants.

Once the consumer makes his or her selection, the appliance purchase can be made online or at a local store, using the customer's ZIP code to locate participating retailers in the area. The list of retailers presented will include their own prices for the specific model in question, guaranteed for a specific time period.


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