Business planning · E-Commerce

A new way to help support small/budding businesses?

Anonymous

February 18th, 2021

Hey everyone! I’m currently developing a website that would operate like any typical eCommerce store, but would sell only items from product entrepreneurs and small businesses alike. The main appeal of this idea for customers would be a great way to see the newest, most innovative things on the market all while being able to support these smaller businesses. The appeal to the sellers who’s products would be listed is that there is a website purely dedicated to helping their business grow in brand, and sales. The website would alleviate the cost marketing and would serve as an eCommerce Dropshipping store for purchases. In return the company would take a percentage of the profits leaving the entrepreneurs and business owners with more than a significant majority of profits as it’s more of a middleman connecting you to customers while not charging you the egregious prices and fees of FBA or the hassle of starting and maintaining your own selling platform. That’s the idea but i’m having trouble with some practical things that only you all could help with! So of course a massive benefit of Amazon FBA is the fact that they handle storage and shipping and naturally a dropshipping store can’t directly do that because it handles no inventory. While this reaps benefits in terms of fees and profit margins it is a cause for longer shipping times, and the inability to offer inventory management of course. For this reason i think that the main group of entrepreneurs and businesses that contact us will have very limited inventory which naturally poses a sales/supply problem. If anyone could attest for a reason to use this eCommerce store as an entrepreneur (please also mention your inventory size bracket and the issues that may arise if any) or a customer please reply. I’m not looking to be coddled or let down easy if there are glaring problems that i’m glossing over, I need constructive criticism above all else. I appreciate you giving me your time and i look forward to talking more!

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

February 20th, 2021

Constructive criticism...well, there are a lot of things to criticize here, and I would like you to prove me wrong by way of having done the market research and validating your strategy with future customers.


Mostly this sounds pie-in-the-sky, because it's stating the problems new products face too simply. You have a big chicken-and-egg problem with an aggregated market like this. You can't attract merchants if you don't have an audience and you can't attract an audience if you don't have merchants. It leaves a glaring hole as to the incentive for any buyer to come to you instead of finding new products literally anywhere else.


Why are buyers not satisfied with the way they discover new products now? Why is your marketplace an improvement in the way they spend their money today? Why do they care who made the product or where it's coming from if it's what they want?


These are all things that small companies launching a new product have to deal with in telling their own story. They lose the opportunity to tell their story when they put all their faith in a marketplace that says "no marketing required." It sounds like no marketing wanted, not no marketing necessary.


We're trained to think all marketing is evil and to avoid it, but that too is not reality. We like marketing, but only when it's doing what we want in bringing us things we need/want in a way that isn't obnoxious. So, annoying marketing is evil, but good marketing is helpful and we don't even see it as marketing.


While some entrepreneurs struggle with distribution and logistics, that's not universal. And yes, having a crappy e-commerce site is bad, but what makes you the expert in e-commerce? And how am I as a merchant going to have any chance of standing out and being found in your marketplace if there's no marketing component?


It's possible, and you'd have to test this, that you could not do a good enough job for the merchants in your marketplace, without charging them almost the same amount of money they'd pay if they had to do it on their own. At that point, you'd be just another service provider like the hundreds offering to help small businesses become e-commerce businesses.


You have a steep hill to convince entrepreneurs that your marketplace is going to be the only place buyers will want to go or find their products.


Good luck! I think you would benefit from doing a lot more research with your future customers.