Home Forums Selling online Distributors refusing to supply online business?

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    I have found allot of potential suppliers for an online business I am contemplating would refuse to supply an online business if there is no bricks and mortar shop.

    In terms of law, I have looked but cannot find a very specific example of the legality of this. I understand that suppliers are legally within their rights to choose who they supply but there are conditions etc

    Does anybody have any firsthand experience or outcomes of the above?

    The business I am looking to set up would supply motorcycle parts/ clothing and accessories.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Total posts: 4,485

    I think you will find there is no law saying you must supply to just anyone, in fact a lot of suppliers have exclusive retailer deals with some. There are a couple of suppliers I have tried to become a distributor for, and they have said no, so I just move on and find the next.

    Its like me in my full time business, if you ask me to quote on your garden, I can say no.

    Jason Ramage
    • Total posts: 3,161

    Hi Pappa,

    Apologies, although you will not get anywhere with this challenge. Its one that man online businesses face in many spaces and distributors all forms of reasons as to why they will or will not sell to online only. That is a completely dif debate and would open up a massive thread i feel…

    Also, if you were to tackle this problem with a legal or fundamental obligation challenge – i would feel that you would be burning bridges within your chosen field and many other suppliers would potentially look to ‘disassociate’ from you as well :( – unless you had the $$$$ to be a power player and that would develop a completely different strategy.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: hello@lucasarthur.net.au   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    • Total posts: 840
    • Total posts: 37

    I encountered issues like that initially and find it quite disheartening, but I do find many of such suppliers also appear in the stores of many big retailers.

    To give myself a competitive edge, I now source unique products from smaller boutique suppliers, both locally and globally.

    • Total posts: 11,465


    I hope the info the community has shared so far proves helpful for you, and that you find a supplier you can work with.

    In the meantime, welcome to the forum,

    • Total posts: 2

    Hi Pappaclart,

    Sourcing suppliers for motorcycle stores / online retailers is sometimes very difficult (my family have owned motorcycle stores for 30+ years).

    The importers / distributors have very “clicky” relationships with the retailers they supply within Australia, and it is very, very difficult for any new person to crack through – often the distributors own stores / online retailers themselves and don’t like the competition.

    Having said that, nothing is impossible, so you just need to keep chipping away at it! My assumption is that if you want to go down this path, you must already have existing relationships within the industry so I would leverage on this.

    I’m not very helpful, but I understand exactly what you mean!


    Stuart B
    • Total posts: 1,073

    Sometimes this kind of thing is motivated because suppliers don’t want to irritate their other wholesale clients. If you’re running an online store and have lower overheads then you can undercut many physical retail stores so they make a rule that they won’t supply online only operations.

    I’m not saying that’s what’s happening to you but it’s a common example.

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