A Web Tale of Two Countries

The Internet is becoming an important tool for the major Japanese watch brands, both in Japan and in the United States. But the big three—Seiko, Citizen, and Casio—are driving in very different lanes on the information highway. The major watchmakers are using the Internet to sell watches—albeit in a limited way, for now—and to collect market data. For the past five years, Citizen Watch has had a Web site (in Japanese only) called "My Creation." Japanese consumers can custom-design watches online and order them directly from Citizen. More than 50,000 people have used the program since it began. (Though Citizen officials say it's limited to Japan, at least one German Web surfer recently ordered a watch.) In the process, Citizen has gathered useful data on Japanese consumers' likes and dislikes in watch design as well as their tastes and ages. "It is a good customer database," s

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