Never an easy thing to do, but over the past week I have purged a few suppliers from the websites. (There may still be some residue of their presence on a site or two.)
Most of these suppliers have been on the site for 2-4 years. They were good suppliers. They shipped promptly. They provided tracking information once the items shipped. And, they were easily available by phone and/or email. So, why were there products removed from the websites….
- Lack of sales – I would love to say every supplier that allows me to put their product on my site is guaranteed LOTS of sales. Unfortunately, this is not the case. My websites have been around a few years, and despite the efforts of my SEO folks, some keywords just have never gained traction. They know the right way to attach this dilemma, but after a few years of uncooperative sales, it is time to retire the suppliers. In most cases, I have maintained the category and referred the web customer directly to the suppliers website.
- Infrequent orders = Ineffective Process – This may come down to some degree of laziness, but it is a fact that cannot be ignored. Both my assistant and I “dread” the order coming in from a supplier where the last order was more than 3 months ago. In many cases the margins may not be as high due to the product being a less expensive item. And, with the additional effort needed to “remember” how to place the order, the profit margin on the product goes down even more. The supplier this most strongly applies to was a good supplier, but when the profit is less than $10 per item, it is hard justify.
- Web Maintenance – There are two parts to this problem…both revolving pricing. When orders are placed infrequently, the supplier does not think of you very quickly when they have to raise their prices. When an order comes in, often customers need to be called back to make sure they still want to make the purchase. And, of course, once the NEW price sheet arrives the web pricing needs to be updated. If the price sheet is over 800 items, their is considerable time to update ALL items. If only we knew which items were to be purchased, we would only up date those….
- Ineffective Marketing Efforts – As I seek to use blogs and Facebook and articles etc to highlight the products I carry, SO many products make the marketing inconsistent. My goal continues to be marketing the products where my margins are highest. My incentive goes WAY down when I make so little on each sale. This is more an indictment of me then my suppliers.