fabulousyarn - 2:55 pm on Jul 19, 2010 (gmt 0)
I will chime in here - I have a real problem with my suppliers selling direct - AND selling thru me - a very good (bad?) example of how bad this is can be seen in shop-a-tron - where manufacturers can set up this really complicated process whereby THEY sell their stuff but YOU ship it - you have to go in manually and 'bid' and well, it sort of works, but its really a ridiculous time suck. How much better would it be if they simple pointed to their list of retailers - gave me link juice, and allowed me to compete openly in the marketplace against other web retailers. One of the ways some of the retailers in our business deal with this is to make their prices a tad higher than their MSRP, so that savvy consumers will do a 'google' and find the same product elsewhere, for instance, on my site. But its' very hard to compete against the brand itself. So I am basically against it - unless you go completely on your own - which some specialty retailers do.
In general though, I would say manufacturers should stick to one side of the fence. Drop-shipping is another matter entirely, and if you are prepared to sell via the web, why not just enhance your relationship with your retailers and offer to drop ship?
Being of both generations, mentally and age-wise, I hold with the separation of church and state, in this case.