business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The Wall Street Journal reports that nascent e-tailer Alice.com is introducing a new service “providing merchandising, checkout and shipping services for companies that want to sell products through their own Web sites.” According to the story, “Companies are accelerating their investments in Internet selling because it provides direct access to consumer data, a gold mine that has long been controlled by retailers. With retailers aggressively developing and promoting private-label products that compete with brand names, getting first hand information about shopping habits has become even more important to manufacturers.”
KC's View:
Can you say “disintermediation”? Because it sounds like that’s what happening here...with manufacturers ranging from Procter & Gamble to General Mills looking at such services as a way of reaching out directly to their consumers, controlling more of the supply chain and gaining a greater amount of intelligence.