"1-800" numbers and live technical support are very expensive, but consumers—and retailers—won't settle for less.
Dealer locator applications on manufacturer's web sites can capture consumers when they are in the "dominant buying mode" and deliver them directly to a reseller's e-commerce Web site—or at least provide store directions and a map. Retailers benefit by receiving a steady stream of motivated buyers. This is a valuable component of dealer support, but it's extremely important that leads are distributed to all retailers in a fair and impartial way. This is a tough issue. Hats off to the suppliers who have successfully navigated this minefield.