The Tupperware Party Moves Online

It's out the living room and to the Internet for Tupperware Corp. The Orlando-based $1.1 billion manufacturer of food storage containers and other household items has announced it will begin selling its products directly to consumers on www.tupperware.com. While certainly not the first company to open a virtual store -- and indeed some would say the company is behind in its online efforts, Tupperware's move is significant for its symbolism. The company's products have traditionally been sold by saleswomen at home-based "parties" that have become part of the American cultural lexicon. In a statement, Tupperware's U.S. president, Betty Palm, says the company remains committed to the party model despite the opening of other sales channels online and elsewhere. "We are committed to defining the direct selling industry in the 21st century to the same degree that we helped define it in the 20th century," says Palm. "Our party-plan platform remains our core selling method. The Internet, our mall kiosk program, and the new venture with the Home Shopping Network are part of our integrated direct access strategy to attract more customers to our brand and direct new leads to our sales force." The new site has been created to appeal specifically to Tupperware's predominantly female customer base. "We want women to feel as though they are browsing through a favorite magazine, with updated regular features and service they can come back to often," says Susan Hight, manager of Internet programs for Tupperware. The site also contains information on sales force recruitment, distributors, and party planning.

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