Vendor Relationships

Successful Vendor Relationships are Crucial to Your Online Business

By Mark Alford

Whether you’re looking to jumpstart your ecommerce startup business or increase your business’ online presence, getting connected with the right vendors is a key element for any successful business venture. First, a word of caution. There are a seemingly endless number of online vendors to choose from today, offering flexible options that can provide supplemental to vital support and capabilities for your business. Unfortunately, as the World Wide Web continues to expand and offer a growing number of helpful resources and tools, the number of potential pitfalls continues to rise as well. Deciding which vendors to trust can easily amount to a full-time job. With many vendors requiring sensitive information, both your wallet and your identity need to be carefully safeguarded. An effective method that businesses can employ to protect their wallets and identities is to avoid vendors who offer rates that are a mere fraction of industry standards. While there probably are a few honest vendors simply trying to grow their startup companies or create a wedge between you and their competitors amidst a tight market, ludicrously low prices typically indicate fraudulent activity.

Bootstrapped business owners are especially vulnerable here and need to fight the temptation of too-good-to-be-true pricing. But this doesn’t mean that you will have to figure out how to squeeze an out-of-price-range option into your tight budget either. Bootstrapped businesses and small-business owners should first review online forums for feedback and reviews direct from other consumers and fellow entrepreneurs. Online forums provide the perfect platform for Internet watchdog efforts, helping others avoid fraudulent, low-quality, and ineffective vendors. And it always helps to research the age of a company as well. It may cost more to do business with the vendor that’s been around longer but the higher quality of service they can provide will eventually help you more than make back the difference.

For businesses with bigger budgets, the most efficient and cost-effective approach to finding the best vendors is to go through a service that specializes in vendor relations or contract a company that has naturally developed an extensive network of vendors throughout the course of their business. This grants the most direct path to getting connected with trustworthy and reliable vendors. In addition, those who have longtime, ongoing relationships established usually receive some degree of discounted pricing, and a percentage of this savings is then usually passed down to their clients. Additionally, businesses achieve larger profits when they have an optimal amount of inventory in stock according to their individual inventory control ledger accounts; profits shrink with too little or too much inventory in stock. Leveraging existing vendor relations may help your inventory control efforts. This is because businesses with solidly established vendor relations tend to receive some flexibility with their ordering, allowing them to slim down or catch up on inventory according to customer demand.

Certain vendors also offer drop-ship capabilities which allow you to have your items shipped directly from their warehouses to your customers; no need to handle any products. This allows you to save a significant amount on inventory costs. And your customers are completely unaware of the middleman; the item is delivered exactly as if it were shipped directly from your own facility. You can also increase your revenue potential through vendors that offer wholesale opportunities. Wholesale vendors allow you to purchase items at significantly discounted pricing when bought in bulk or when minimal recurring sales numbers are satisfied. This cost savings can give you a very competitive edge in your market.

In addition, you can also grow your business through an excellent variety of innovative and intuitive tools provided by media, marketing and advertising vendors. Leveraging quality vendor relationships verifies the quality of the ads, the reach and exposure of their ad placements, consistent timing, and the marketing deliverables. And having the right vendor relationships will also grant you flexibility in defining your target audience, allow you to take advantage of geo-targeted marketing, and expand upward into niche vertical markets as well. The most advantageous vendor relationship help power your business and expedite its growth. Carefully research your options or contract someone who specializes in this area for the best chance of dominating your market and setting your business up for long-term success.


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