The recent holiday shopping season spawned a new Web animal: the vendor shopping portal.
Not only were retailer sites such as Wal-Mart and Target challenging established e-tailers like Amazon and Shopping.com, but manufacturers themselves got into the game - with good results.
Case in point: Disney saw traffic and sales growth at DisneyShopping.com in the "20 percent range," according to David Barad, VP of marketing and business development for DisneyShopping.
The site, a full-fledged e-commerce portal with over 8,000 SKUs for sale, is part of an ambitious plan by Disney to simplify its Web retailing.
Disney's ambitions are being echoed by other brands. SonyStyle.com and PioneerElectronics.com are both well-stocked e-commerce portals looking to compete with established Web retailers.Some marketers see DIY e-tail as an intelligent response to mass-retailing pressures. But others see a downside. "There's the danger that consumers will figure out that pricing, or whatever terms, is not the best available," says Ian Schafer, CEO at Deep Focus. "Then the vendor site becomes a retail pariah. Selling directly online represents new risks."