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Whirlpool Adds Enhancements To B-to-B Site

Whirlpool Corp. launched an enhanced version of its online order-management system, called Partner Store, which allows its North American retail customers to manage their appliance orders over the Internet.

Whirlpool’s Partner Store initiative eliminates the need for retailers to phone in or fax orders. Through the company’s Web portal, www., dealers can place orders from a full and constantly updated virtual catalogue of Whirlpool’s home appliance lines. The site also tracks deliveries from the factory, checks billing and submits credit inquiries, and provides these services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The system is password protected, ensuring each dealer’s privacy.

“Partner Store isn’t a typical project,” said Kathleen Wolf, business-to-business manager at eWhirlpool Group. “It is more like a product with continual improvements within its lifecycle. We aim to continue providing trade partners with products, systems and information that makes Whirlpool the preferred manufacturer.”

The company hopes to increase b-to-b sales through e-commerce by 5 percent to 10 percent this year. In 2000, electronic orders represented about $4 billion of Whirlpool’s total $10.3 billion sales.

“Initially, we had set a goal of adding 75 trade partners a month to the Partner Store system,” said William Hester, the company’s project manager of brand management information services. “But we have been averaging 138 new partners a month through the first half of this year.”