Home > Sell Online > Finding Manufacturers To Work With

Finding Manufacturers To Work With

If you sell online, just about the most critical thing you need to do is find products to sell.  While the mechanics of running your business probably consume most of your time, the highest value part of your time is spent finding good product lines to carry.

You’ve almost certainly come across manufacturers that won’t sell to online-only businesses.  I’ve always had a small percentage of these, but recently it seems to be happening more frequently.

I’m sure the motivation of many of these manufacturers is to protect their brick and mortar retailers.  Physical store retailers are at a cost disadvantage because they have high fixed expenses (retail space, employees, etc.) that online retailers don’t necessarily have.

What’s surprising to me though is that these manufacturers could instead implement and enforce a Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy, and still protect their brick and mortar retailers.  I buy from several manufacturers who implement a MAP, and it works out pretty well for everyone.

The biggest beneficiaries of implementing a MAP, instead of withholding products from online sellers, are people who live in smaller towns where selection is limited.  Refusing to sell to online retailers effectively denies these consumers access to a wide selection of products.  From the zip codes of my customers I know that most live in less populated areas.  For people who live in larger cities, the convenience of getting their purchase right away instead of having to wait a couple of days seems to be worth the higher cost to them.

The most effective solution I’ve found so far for manufacturers that won’t sell to online retailers is just to contact as many manufacturers as possible.  Volume works, but it is time consuming.

Another solution I’m considering (and will probably implement eventually) is to open a small brick and mortar store.  That’s expensive and time consuming, but it would open up a lot of product lines to me.  For the right price it would be a good trade off.


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