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Small Ecommerce site - do i get B&M shop as partner?

is it wise to use a B&M shop as a dropshipper type agreement



4:02 pm on Nov 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I run a small hobby ecommerce site (selling about 5 widget accesories) that has a modest few orders a month, nothing to shout about turnover wise, but very nice margins.

In my town there is a red widget B&M shop (Brick and mortar shop) selling a huge range of products, now as it is a little family business do I approach them and offer the typical dropshipping agreement, they get orders from the internet aswell as their exisitng customers and foot traffic customers (so no conflict there), and I increase my product range and hopefully turnover (obviuosly it wont be very high profit for me but no one has the right to high margin)

If this worked for Red widgets I could probably try and find Blue, Green and Yellow widget shops and set up a similar agreement.

Ideas and opinions please

many thanks



4:10 pm on Nov 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Nice idea and it would not hurt to ask. However, what would stop them from starting their own web site once they see you having success? From our history we have found that our relationships with companies that sell both wholesale and retail (what you are asking them to do) never works out in the end.

Possibly you could find their distributor and see if they are willing to drop ship. In this economic climate they might be willing to take you on.


6:34 pm on Nov 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I think Mattb has the right idea. It could makes sense and cents for you. It will mainly depend on if they want to get into the online game or not. Find their distributor and setting up a dropship arrangement would probably be best.


4:23 pm on Nov 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Our experience has shown that B&M shops are not particularly interested in such types of relationships, because their core business is exactly runing B&M store, not drop-shipping or on-line sales.

Even when they expressed interest, it never came to a real agreement.

From the other side, it sometimes has worked with wholesales/manufacturers.


8:17 pm on Nov 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Cheers for you replies guys

I had a feeling some of you would say B&M shops wouldnt be interested and thats fair enough.

As I believe the manufactures are big companys and PLC's I dont think they'll be interested in dropshippin for little me.

No harm in me still asking them and seeing what they say.


1:47 pm on Nov 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My experience has been the same (frustrating) trying to purchase from even local manufacturers to sell online has been a complete failure.

Failure 1: a great miniature train amateur wanted to sell his high end creations. After selling $5000 / year for him he decided he didn't want to sell to me anymore. He has now opened his own web site.

Failure 2: A computer recycling plant wanted to sell pulled parts to me. Management changed and the parts (mostly motors) are no longer being pulled, printers are being shipped directly.

Failure 3: A candle manufacturer wanted to sell to me wholesale. Whenever I sold a candle, it wasn't in stock (they had to make it) lead was 1 to 5 weeks - too long. Then they sold the company and it was impossible to get. Had to refund clients.

Failure 4: A local manufacturer makes recycling bins for institutions. I politely offered to sell their products. A year have passed they have not responded. They implied that they already have a web presence and somehow my presence would hinder their efforts.

I have grown frustrated in approaching individuals, companies to offer my expertise in selling stuff. Now, the best combination (for me) is to keep doing what you do, if you buy special stock for building your products - why not break the lot and sell that / unit. Example: I make and sell safety widgets but I buy the safety tape by the case (600 meter) why not sell the safety tape by the yard too? - I do that.

Simply put, if you have something on the shelf for your own use, which you use all the time for making your widgets, sell that item too by the foot or dozen or unit. You may get a 10 fold profit margin by doing so.

What is most frustrating is that you depend on the success of those places to succeed yourself. If they decide something which may affect you, you have very little say.

This approach makes a slow but stable growth for me and I do not have to sell millions to make a salary. For me it is manufacture, and sell retail. Profit margins are really good and it is possible to get a decent - stable - salary.


7:23 am on Nov 30, 2009 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I don't think it would hurt to ask :)
Even if it doesn't last forever, $5000, $20,000 or even $500 is still that much more than you would have without doing it. It all depends on how you look at it I guess.

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