Despite the fact that it is now 2011 and the internet has been in full swing for over 10 years, you would not think so dealing with some suppliers. Â I frequently come up against the following problems:
- “Sorry but we don’t sell to online only retailers”
- “Sorry but we don’t allow our products to be sold on eBay”
Last week we even got ‘sacked’ by one of our suppliersÂ who had decided they no longer wanted to sell to an online only business. Â All very tedious.
So what exactly is wrong with online only businesses? Â Whilst I can sympathise that brands don’t want just anyone selling their stuff, having a shop seems to be a prettyÂ arbitraryÂ distinction. Â I think that the reasons are as follows:
- Online only retailers are people working out of their front rooms and so are not reputable businesses (I exaggerate, but there is more than a touch of this)
- Online only retailers have a lower cost base and so can undercut businesses with a physical presence
- Online only retailers offer a worse level of service. Â With no shop people cannot try before buying and can’t get proper advice on fitting etc
Naturally, being an online only retailer, I do not agree with the logic behind any of these points.
- Reputable business. Â Obviously on the internet, nobody knows that you’re a dog. Â Whilst I can sympathise that brands don’t want just anyoneÂ sellingÂ their stuff, in my view there are better ways of selecting resellers e.g. VAT registered, Ltd company
- Undercutting. Â In my experience the worst offenders are the companies with a physical store e.g. Argos, Kiddicare etc.
- Level of service. Â With feedback systems on the web, bad service is much more easily exposed. Furthermore, if you live in Dundee and buy a pram some a company in Peterborough, you are hardly going to visit their shop if it goes wrong.
Finally, with the internet still showing strong growth, ignoring companies who only sell through the web is rowing against the tide………