Developers of the HomeAppliances.com Web site are looking at ways to "customize" the content of the online appliance site, allowing the white-goods manufacturers that support the site to link specific product offers to up-to-the-minute market conditions.
John Sullivan, president of JGSullivan Interactive, which developed the site, said that by next year air conditioner manufacturers affiliated with HomeAppliances.com could put rebate coupons on dealer links in geographic areas where room air sales need a boost, for example.
Through the password-protected business-to-business area of the Web site, manufacturers could also feed information on derivative models to members of buying groups carrying the various derivatives.
The HomeAppliances.com site offers links to appliance suppliers and to retailers' home pages, which in turn are linked to buying groups' sites developed by JGSullivan.
The site offers an interactive shopping cart feature on many of its dealer links so consumers can buy appliances online. "Through this site appliance manufacturers can close the sales loop by referring consumers to their dealers to demonstrate, deliver and install the products," Sullivan said, adding that a product-comparison feature will be added to HomeAppliances.com next year.
"We estimate that by 2002, 6% of appliance sales will happen over the Internet," he said. "And how many of the consumers buying those products online will have gone to an appliance store for a demonstration, then bought the product over the Internet, eliminating that store from the transaction? Through HomeAppliances.com, appliance manufacturers are using the Internet to help independent retailers get their part of that 6%."
In addition to its appliance site, JGSullivan operates a Web site for kitchen and bath designers. Two new Internet sites -- one for consumer electronics, the other for home furnishings -- should be up and running within six months, Sullivan said. -- Cathy Ciccolella