Channel Intelligence (CI) announced today the publication of a study conducted in partnership with Forrester Research to highlight the critical role of manufacturers’ web sites in online and offline transactions and the web site elements that drive those transactions. The July 27, 2007, study, titled “Must-Haves for Manufacturer Web Sites”, surveyed 14,700 consumer visitors to 38 manufacturer Web sites to determine characteristics, intentions and expectations, and how well those expectations are being met.

The study reported, “58% of survey respondents stated that they began their entire research process on manufacturer Web sites.” In addition, “The survey found that visitors to manufacturer Web sites exhibit several noteworthy qualities. These consumers: believe that manufacturers are authorities; are brand loyalists; and are primed to purchase.”

The joint study also found that “when consumers visited manufacturer Web sites, they categorically expressed the need to have a few critical elements on those Web sites.” The report states, “Despite the clear reasons why consumers visited manufacturer Web sites, many manufacturer Web sites do not deliver.”

“This joint study with Forrester offers insight into the role that manufacturer Web sites play for consumers in the purchase cycle,” commented Channel Intelligence SellPath® Manufacturer Solutions Vice President Vik Murty. “While manufacturers may face many obstacles in creating a Web presence that satisfies consumers’ expectations, this report highlights several important opportunities that manufacturers can address more easily than they might think.”

The report offers suggestions on how to improve the customer experience. Forrester writes, “To grow their online presences, eBusiness executives at manufacturers should focus on better, deeper information; clear paths to purchase; service for the most loyal customers; tools that instill passion for the brand; and content syndication, where possible.”

In its recommendations, the report states, “Because purchases can happen in multiple channels, it is incumbent upon manufacturers to facilitate the sale through whichever channel a customer prefers — online, phone, or store. While a direct-to-consumer eCommerce strategy makes sense for some brands, passing leads to other dealers, retailers, or distributors in a seamless fashion should be perfected first.” The report adds, “Vendors such as Channel Intelligence also facilitate the challenges of cross-channel inventory visibility by passing retailer inventory availability on to manufacturer Web sites.”

The Channel Intelligence SellPath® Manufacturer Solutions suite offers a line of services designed to help manufacturers harness these opportunities and work more effectively with channel partners to maintain brand image and increase sales, whether through connecting a manufacturer’s product pages directly to a retailer’s points-of-sale or building brand showcases to provide the product information consumers are looking for. Find out more about SellPath® Manufacturer Solutions here: http://www.sellpath.com.

To view the “Must-Haves for Manufacturer Web Sites” report summary or purchase the report, visit: http://www.forrester.com/Research/Document/Excerpt/0,7211,42822,00.html.

About Channel Intelligence
Powered by the CommerceIQ™ technology platform, Channel Intelligence (CI) web-initiated commerce solutions make it easy for online shoppers to find and buy products whether they start at retailer sites, manufacturer sites, destination shopping sites, or mobile shopping applications. Using a series of robust data optimization techniques offered through the CommerceIQ platform, CI significantly improves the quality of product data and the placement of products on the Internet. Every day CI manages and syndicates millions of products valued at over $3 billion dollars through its three primary services – SellPath® Manufacturer Solutions, SellCast™ Retailer Solutions, and SellCore™ Publisher Solutions. CI customers include hundreds of the world’s best known brands including Best Buy, Black & Decker, Canon, Circuit City, Fujifilm, LG Electronics, Logitech, Mitsubishi, Neiman Marcus Group, OfficeMax, Olympus, Palm, Panasonic, PETCO, Skechers, SmartBargains.com, Spiegel, The Stanley Works, and Target. Channel Intelligence, a partner company of Internet Capital Group (NASDAQ: ICGE), is based in Orlando, Fla., with offices in Europe. http://www.channelintelligence.com

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Contact:
Vik Murty
(321) 206-5855
vik.murty@channelintelligence.com

Published on: 12:00AM on 17th September 2007