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Bosch enters drivers seat with Ram Truck

BY Ken Clark

Robert Bosch Tool Corp. and the Ram Truck brand announced a partnership at the 39th annual World of Concrete trade show, naming Ram the "Official Truck of Bosch Power Tools and Accessories."

Together, the two companies will jointly pursue sales and marketing opportunities in the automotive and tool markets. 

"At Bosch, we’re committed to developing power tools and accessories that deliver uncompromising quality and reliability to our customers," said Terry Horan, president and CEO, Robert Bosch Tool Corp., North America. "The Bosch team is truly excited to be working with a partner the caliber of Ram Truck. One thing that we’ve learned through the planning process is that our companies align well and complement one another." 

The strategic combination of co-branded events and joint advertising will keep the Bosch and Ram brands top of mind with American tradesmen. The partnership also will include cross-promotional sweepstakes and co-branded customer affinity programming at local, regional and national events. In addition, the two companies will investigate joint product development opportunities in the future. 

"Ram trucks offer construction professionals a full line of vehicles that deliver best-in-class fuel economy, capability, cargo capacity and the lowest total cost of ownership," said Fred Diaz, president and CEO, Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico, Chrysler Group. "A partnership with Bosch helps us further align with our customers’ businesses and livelihoods. This partnership leverages the natural fit between the two brands to help us drive value for the customer."

The companies are already promoting a consumer contest called Bosch Drillndrive Sweepstakes, during which a winner will get a Ram Truck.

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ECi predicts growth for 2013

BY Ken Clark

Fort Worth, Texas-basd ECi Software Solutions fourth-quarter sales were up 78% compared with same period last year. For the full year, sales were up 44%, the company reported Wednesday morning. 

Both sales figures were record highs. “This is very exciting because it shows continued improvement in the economic health of the industries we serve,” said Mike Gibson, SVP global sales and marketing for ECi. “We are confident that this will translate into even greater value and partnership with our existing customers and will drive even greater growth in 2013.” 

The number of new software system solutions sold in the fourth quarter increased 31% in 2012 as compared with the fourth quarter of 2011.

ECi sectors include manufacturing, office equipment, office supplies, contract office furniture, lumber and building materials, hardware and janitorial.

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Zillow enters home improvement space

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Zillow has launched an iPad app and a website focused on the home improvement marketplace to provide inspiration, price transparency and lead generation for contractors.

Seattle-based Zillow disrupted the real estate industry seven years ago when it introduced a home valuation service and it quickly because a household name in the real estate information world. The company’s new service, called Zillow Digs, looks to leverage the large number of consumers who are using the Zillow website and predisposed to home improvement projects to provide inspiration and connect them with professionals who can perform the work.

“Tens of millions of home buyers shop for homes on Zillow each month, and home improvement is a natural next step for us in consumer empowerment and transparency of information to help people make smarter decisions,” said Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff. “I’m also excited to introduce a revolutionary new tool for consumers: Digs Estimates. This first-of-its-kind remodeling cost estimate algorithm was created by Zillow’s industry-leading team of economists and data analysts who produce extensive housing data and research.”

The goal of Zillow Digs, beyond providing home shoppers and homeowners visual inspiration and an understanding of the cost of remodeling projects, is to show the estimated cost of thousands of real bathrooms and kitchens. Those costs are based on a proprietary algorithm which includes real-world data from local contractors such as size, materials, finish level, and regional labor and material rates. Armed with such information, Zillow contends home shoppers and homeowners will be able to create more realistic budgets appropriate for their specific market.

In addition, users can browse tens of thousands of photos and see actual costs for where they live of the projects being viewed. The platform also enables the creation and sharing of ideas and provides a way for people to connect with others, comment on projects and follow those with similar interests. Home improvement professionals can create a free Zillow Digs profiles with contact information, photos of past work and a link to their website. Professionals also can market their expertise and their business by creating Boards, commenting on others’ photos and answering questions.

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