NEW YORK -- Even though it has only been on-line for two months, www.inretail.com, a product-based, retailer-only Web site, already lists a wide variety of products from 15,000 to 20,000 manufacturers, including food and health and beauty items.
Tom Findlay, president of Birmingham, Ala.-based InRetail.com, believes the number of manufacturers in the site's database will more than triple by the time the company completes a public relations effort for an "official" launch in January 2000, reaching the 50,000 to 75,000 range.
"The only promotion we've done so far is banner exchanges [with other Web sites], but we've still had thousands and thousands of people hit the site," said Findlay. He did not have exact figures on the number of visitors to the site.
Retailers can search for a specific manufacturer or use the site's search engine to bring up a category or product type, and the site also contains a new products showcase. "Everything is in alphabetical order, including product and category names and manufacturer names," said Findlay. "With other search engines, the more you pay, the higher up you go toward the front."
InRetail.com does not charge manufacturers for basic listings, which include a product description and site links. Manufacturers wanting to put pictures of a particular product, or an entire portfolio, do pay some fees. Findlay is trying to keep these fees low, however. "We're looking to get everybody on there, even small manufacturers and wholesalers, so we want to keep the cost relatively inexpensive," he said. "The Internet is a global tool, so we're going for quantity."
Findlay plans to support the site with advertising, so he hopes to increase traffic to the site and charge advertisers on a per-visit basis. "They don't pay until the ad gets seen, so at the end of the month we would say, for example, 20,000 people saw the ad and charge the company appropriately."
InRetail.com also offers vendors help with the mechanics of posting a product photograph on-line. "We walk them through either scanning a photo, using digital photography or taking the picture to their local Kinko's," he said.
Vendors can place their photos on the InRetail.com site themselves once they have received a password that allows them to log in, said Findlay. The site is hosted by Metatechnics Information Technology, New Orleans, which also assisted Findlay with the site development.