E-Commerce · Retail

What are some reasons why companies hide their suppliers?

Bjorn Linder Building software and building teams

Last updated on June 11th, 2017

I'm starting a new E-Commerce site where our core product is produced by a single supplier. Why is it standard practice in many retails industries to hide supplier details?

The only reason I can think of in this case (supplier located in America) is price - people could go to the supplier website and see the margins we'd make on sales. If our prices are in line with what other similar retail stores in the industry charge, would this necessarily be a bad thing?

The advantages to sharing supplier details is 1) we could direct people to their website for more information on the products / production process, and 2) more transparency in business practices.

Mark Wilson CEO

June 12th, 2017

People don't want to pay the middleman if they can avoid it.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

June 12th, 2017

Adding to what Mark Wilson said for clarity, if others know who your supplier is, they will go around you and directly to the supplier. Finding a good supply is half the battle of purchasing. Unless you have exclusivity with that supplier (meaning no one else is allowed to purchase directly), then there's little reason to do business with you. Commodity business is all about supply relationships. If your supplier for example does not sell in small quantities, that's another reason for a customer to deal with you. Look at the business models of manufacturer's rep, regional distributor, and product line sales. These arrangements are protected for the seller (in this case you), but in other circumstances, there is a significant risk in letting anyone know who your suppliers are. Either customers will go direct, or another company who wants to compete with you will copy your business and take your supplier and be happy with slightly slimmer margins to steal your customers.

Mike Hosley ex telecom veteran, executive at telcos, moved to tech and startups in the 90s-

June 12th, 2017

1) is not a reason, it's a reason why you should include the information on the product on YOUR site. and 2) does not translate into more sales in any way.