Saturday, September 5, 2009

How do you see e-commerce fitting into your current and future business strategy?

If you are a retailer, is e-commerce part of your current strategy? If not, do you see e-commerce as part of your company's future? In either case, why or why not?

If you are a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler or distributor, do you currently sell to e-commerce? Do you see drop shipping as a viable way to support your current and future customers for small to mid-sized goods? If not, do you see e-commerce as part of your company's future? In either case, why or why not?

Thursday, August 6, 2009


9 A.M. EDT, August 7, 2009
SARASOTA, FL, AUGUST 7, 2009: Continents Apart, LLC, a new rep group has opened for business billing itself as, “The first rep group specializing in drop shipping for home and garden products.” They additionally will serve manufacturers, importers & wholesalers wanting to offer a drop ship program as consultants and serve as an Outsourced Strategic Sales Department for companies that need the service but not the in-house costs.

According to Steven Husak, CEO and a 29 year industry veteran, “Continents Apart already has several product lines lined up and numerous e-commerce and catalog retailers prepared to release our products. We will be making several announcements over the next several weeks. We have over 11000 skus in the pipeline scheduled to be released over the next nine months, and we are looking for more. The greatest advantage we have is that with that many skus to offer in our category, we become a very important source to the retailer.”

Services to be offered include:

• Free consulting to suppliers that have signed a representation agreement to get the suppliers up and running.
• Free access to proprietary sites to liquidate closeouts without ‘fire sale’ pricing.
• Training retailers on the use of ‘on demand’ buying to eliminate large warehousing, handling & inventory overheads.
• The flexibility to turn on a dime to satisfy any customer’s needs.
• Ability to add e-commerce to existing dealer websites or offer new sites fully loaded with Continents Apart products including shopping carts and search engine optimization through a strategic partnership.
• Free access to drop ship into international markets and military addresses without the normal paperwork through another strategic partnership.

Additional information can be obtained by emailing to or phoning (310)301-4121.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Just Browsing?

Just Browsing?: "-Click here to return to the main Online Retailers page-  You have..."

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's That Smell?

There's an old saying, "If you're not the lead dog in the pack, the scenery never changes." Neither does the smell.

Now obviously we cannot all be the lead dog in the pack...or can we? We can all be the lead dog, or at least use modern technology to strive for the front of the pack.

Have you seen erosion in market share in addition to the downturn in sales volume? Have you had consumers come into your showroom and when the salesperson makes a follow-up phone call they discover the customer bought on-line?

So, here is the provided the showroom for the consumer to touch and feel and get the warm fuzzies. Your sales staff showed the features, advantages, benefits of the product. And they bought on-line. And maybe even for the same price that you were selling it for.

They got free shipping, maybe you charge $60 to $125 to deliver. And forget about your opportunity to get add-ons like protection programs and lamps, wall art and other accessories.

The same price??? Why would they buy for the same price or maybe even a little bit more? Is it really more?

Your sofa
delivery 75
sales tax 84
Total $1358

Same sofa on-line
free freight, no sales tax because the website has no presence in your state.

Now there's nothing you can do about the sales tax...and that's unfair. And the fact is they are paying less on-line, but not by much. And they have no store to go for help if there's a problem.

So why did they do it? First, they went online looking for a lower price. When they found the same product for the same price they thought, "why drive back to the store, I'm already home and I will get that same, click."

Now, if you only had invested in that e-commerce site, the convenience of shopping on-line would be there to save your sale. You can even have your salespeople register their customers so they get credit for the sale. And you can actually show a larger selection, especially add-ons such as lamps, accessories, etc by selling drop ship lines in your site.

Still not convinced? How's the view...and that smell!!!??? Maybe the smell of losing a sale needlessly. And that stinks!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why aren't more small and mid-size retailers using the on-demand business model?

While store-based retailing grew an anemic 1.4% in 2008, the 500 largest on-line retailers grew 11.7% in 2008.This is even after factoring in that eBay reporting that U.S. gross merchandise sales (excluding autos) dropped 7.7% last year to $21.6 billion.

Here's the reason why, and how to apply the on-demand supply method to any retail business...

Let's say that like most Americans you live where the winter is cold. Gasoline is $4+ per gallon, there is snow or ice on the ground, and you have holiday shopping to do.

You can get into your 4 wheel drive that gets 14 MPG and drive in traffic to the nearest mall, risking your life on those icy roads.

The mall parking lot is very full, so you have to park a considerable distance away. You trudge through the parking lot in the freezing cold, fight the mall crowds, make your purchases over the course of four+ hours... Schlep your packages back through the mall parking lot in the freezing cold, put everything into your crossover vehicle and fight the traffic just to leave the mall parking lot...and then even more to get home, again risking a crash on the icy roads.

You get home, bring your packages into the house. You can gift wrap them now or find a suitable hiding place.

Now for the today's consumer's version of this story.

They go online. They can compare prices and see thousands of products in a few minutes, make their selections, even have them sent gift wrapped to the recipients in many instances. A few days later their selections arrive at their door, often at a perceived savings, because mall rent, store staffing and warehousing inventory is very expensive and didn't need to be factored into the price.

Wow, now they even have more quality time with their family during the holidays!

This was the scenario for millions of Americans during the last holiday shopping season, when over 25% of all retail purchases are made in a 6 week period. More to factor in...the majority of e-tailers do not keep inventory. They have the goods drop shipped from the manufacturer/wholesaler/importer's warehouse direct to the consumer. It has all of the e-tailer's tagging and packing lists. When new goods or improvements, price reductions, etc are made they can make the changes with a few key strokes, not paying store personnel to make those changes and waiting for the latest and greatest products to arrive. They also can take instant advantage of post-holiday price reductions without selling stocked merchandise below cost just to unlock valuable dollars.

This is the future of retailing.

How can that small to mid-sized "bricks and mortar" retailer (the industry term used to describe retailers with a physical presence rather than being on-line) compete with the Walmarts of the world in today's economy?

Well, one of my clients, a small chain of lighting stores now only shows samples in their showrooms and tells their customers that their order will come to their door within 5 days. They don't have warehousing and inventory costs, they don't get stuck with 'dogs' that will not sell until they are reduced below cost. They buy on demand.

They were so encouraged by the new business model that we developed with them with that they now opened a website carrying all of my products and it now accounts for 60% of their business, a business that grew 50% last year.

The future of retailing or the past, you choose. Can you spell D I N O S A U R ?