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Jenny Spring
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iWin, post: 202647 wrote:
So I’m considering starting an online retail business, aimed at a market relating to hobbyist-level equipment for a niche segment.

One of the things I don’t want to do is end up bottom-feeding the market, and competing on price. I’d rather compete on product quality and my own customer service. I specifically don’t want to buy lots of cheap product from Alibaba or similar.

The challenge I’m having is that having tried to contact multiple local wholesalers of established brands, they want evidence of a business such as a web site or physical premises. I have neither at this stage, and without any customers yet, don’t have any specific order quantities in mind, leading them to think I’m just a consumer trying to get cheap goods.

Low budget, small likely order quantities and lack of dedicated business premises are all an issue at this stage.

Does anyone have any advice on how to establish supplier relationships as a poorly-funded e-commerce startup?

I can understand they don’t want to waste their time, but at the same time, I don’t want to waste my own time, or sour potential future relationships.

You are thinking of this fom your own perspective rather than from theirs. Walk in their shoes, and you’ll understand and be able to give them what they want.

Pull out your ABN, put some confidence into your voice (or email), and tell them what you are doing, when you will launch, and what you need.

i.e. My online store will cater to this specific profile, I will be stocking these styles of brands. I need your minimum quantities and wholesale price list.

Remember they get approached by lots of people who think they want to open a business and who never get there.

Get there — and ask them for details.

Get your website up and running and show them you exist.