More Internet Retailing Announcements

Spotting another online niche, Hifi.com announced the debut of CustomHifi.com last week. The new site is aimed at custom installers. HiFi.com claims that CustomHifi.com is the first "comprehensive national, Internet-centric marketplace to offer custom electronic design and installation professionals access to leading audio/video products, information, and installation support."

The new venture, which HiFi.com says builds on its business-to-business initiatives, is planning to offer in-wall speakers, multi-source/multi-zone systems and amplifiers, speaker selectors, in-wall controls, and accessories. Once they are registered and approved, CustomHiFi.com is planning to offer custom installers reseller prices of up to 50% off retail. Hifi.com's Michael Sullivan explains that, "to date, the custom install professional, who has a need to purchase high-quality audio/video products at discounted prices, has not had a one-stop alternative. CustomHifi.com was built on this premise and offers the first true e-commerce–enabled business-to-business custom electronic product procurement alternative."

In other e-tailing news, KnowledgeLink (see previous story) announced last week that it has secured $10 million in financing from Hewlett-Packard to further the development of KL's software technology platform, called DNA. According to KnowledgeLink, the DNA software "links manufacturers and their distribution partners with consumers through vertical portals, providing a 'clicks and bricks' collaborative business model which resolves distribution channel conflicts." KnowledgeLink also announced that H-P is providing software-development services to further industrialize and create products from KL's DNA software.

Hewlett-Packard's Stephen Helper explains that "we were impressed with KnowledgeLink's execution in this new 'bricks and clicks' collaborative space with GetPlugged.com. Distribution-channel conflicts are a big problem in today's Internet world, and they have a solution. We like their technology and the value proposition they bring to their partners and customers." KnowledgeLink's Lew Eisaguirre adds that "this relationship provides us with resources to take our technology to the next level—an industrial-strength, productized software platform that will fulfill the distribution needs in many vertical markets."

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