Next to "show me the money," plenty of manufacturer/retail relationships are hinging on more of a "if you build it, they will come" philosophy. That's why Orlando, Fla.-based Channel Intelligence, a commerce data interchange service company, introduced SellPath, a solution that literally skips the middle step for consumers while simultaneously fattening retail pockets. In the most basic sense, manufacturers can implement the solution to direct consumers who may want to buy X brand to X retailers who sell it. Why this may be a lucrative solution depends considerably on online traffic patterns in general.
"The funny thing is that retailers don't adopt it. Manufactures adopt it and tell us what retailers they want to sign on," explains Alan Fulmer, co-founder and vice president of Channel Intelligence. "The retailers get highly qualified leads for free."
For manufacturers, Fulmer says that the impetus to adopt this type of solution is two-fold. On one hand, there's channel management. "The easier it is to shop, the more people will buy," he says. There's also the issue of inventory. SellPath's pinpointer service seeks out local area retailers and tells a consumer whether a certain product is in stock. So while partners participating in the linking service need to have an e-commerce module on their web sites, those included in the pin pointer do not. "This helps lesser-known retailers," says Fulmer.