Home – New Forums Logistics Online Business, 3PL, logistics & web questions

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  • #969245
    perla
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    • Total posts: 31
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    Hi everyone, I’m new here and I’m really glad I came across this site! I’ll be frequenting around here for months to come. I feel like I’ve learned a lot already by just reading all these posts!

    I have couple questions to ask and would really appreciate any advices. I’m in a process of starting a very niche bag line (distribution channel will be online). I’ve done some market researches and there seem to be a gap in the market and only very few people are in. Knowing the high risk of small start-ups, I’d like to think things through before setting up the actual business.

    This is going to be a very small business in the very beginning (with just a small decent amount of stocks – only a few hundreds at a time). I plan to manufacture the products in Asia (where I have local contacts) and import them here. Now my questions are:

    1) Import/Export: What would be the simplest arrangement in terms of importing these stocks? I read on other posts that it can be set up as simple as I purchase the stock from the manufacture and bare the risk of holding the stock here. Should I be hiring an Australian importing agent to help me with the process?

    2) Stocking/Warehousing: Personally I’d like to stock, pick, pack, and deliver the products myself as I suspect that the sales will be fairly slow especially in the beginning (while I’m trying to build the brand and gaining exposure). That way I can keep my costs down. However, I’m living in Tassie and I wonder if it’ll cost more just to get the products to ship to here while majority of the sales will be coming from the mainland. Would it make sense to hire 3PL to handle the logistic side?

    3) Web developer/Web designer: If things take off well then I’d really like to consider using 3PL option. If this is the case, then do I need a website that is coded specifically so that my website can communicate with the 3PL system (i.e., sending daily order summary to the 3PL’s system)?

    4) Website: I’m starting to see that a lot of people now are using a wordpress platform to build websites (including e-commerce). What do you think about it? One of the web designers I’m looking into is using this platform to design the websites. I know nothing about css/php and only a few bits on HTML. I thought it might be worth looking into?

    I apologize for a long post. Thanks so much in advance for bearing with me. I really appreciate all your insights!

    #1037658
    Anonymous
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    Hi Perla,

    Nice to meet you, and welcome to Flying Solo.

    Wow! That is quite a list you have there. I’m sure there’ll be quite a few people around ready to jump in with their 2 cents worth.

    Hope you receive all the info you need.

    Best,
    Jayne

    #1037659
    createdevelop
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    • Total posts: 171
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    1) Import/Export: What would be the simplest arrangement in terms of importing these stocks?Should I be hiring an Australian importing agent to help me with the process?

    Import/Exporting is an art in itself. I would say that, if you are still finding your way in this area, then YES you do need to get a shipping agent. There are a few around, but the ones I have used will definitely help with all these questions you have.

    2) Stocking/Warehousing: Would it make sense to hire 3PL to handle the logistic side?

    I think this would come down to a numbers game, and you will just have to sit down and work out what level of sales from the mainland will make it more meaningful to just ship there. If you are selling yourself, and don’t have a sales rep, then I would suggest it would make sense for the first six months to handle the picking and packing yourself, if only from a cost point of view.

    3) Web developer/Web designer: do I need a website that is coded specifically so that my website can communicate with the 3PL system

    Most proper eCommerce systems have a order/shipping summary built in. I don’t know about 3PL particularly, but I know that most systems you can tell it where to send the shipping sheet.

    4) Website: I’m starting to see that a lot of people now are using a wordpress platform, – I thought it might be worth looking into?

    Wordpress is great as a low cost CMS and blogging platform. If you are only selling one or two products then WordPress + WPeCommerce will cope.

    The problems will start to come when you want to use different shipping options, payment gateways or if you have a large catalogue of products. WordPress is just not meant to be a fully functional ecommerce platform. There are plenty of good, easy to use, ecommerce platforms like Magento, Zen Cart/osCommerce and so on.

    I hope that covers most of your questions.

    #1037660
    perla
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    • Total posts: 31
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    Jayne, thank you for a warm welcome! I feel a bit guilty for posting such a long msg ;)

    Createdevelop, thank you so much for taking time to answer all my questions! I agree with you on several points. I’ll look into hiring a shipping agent to help with the importing logistic. I also agree that it makes more sense to handling the pick & pack myself in the very beginning stage. I’m looking into having no more than 12 SKUs of fairly identical products in the beginning (the first 1-2 years) and being a very small business I’m tempting to go with the wp platform but I’ll do more research on this and will consult with the web designer to see what would be the best way to go. Thank you again for your advices. I really appreciate.

    #1037661
    John Debrincat
    Member
    • Total posts: 963
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    perla, post: 45437 wrote:
    Hi everyone, I’m new here and I’m really glad I came across this site! I’ll be frequenting around here for months to come. I feel like I’ve learned a lot already by just reading all these posts!

    I have couple questions to ask and would really appreciate any advices. I’m in a process of starting a very niche bag line (distribution channel will be online). I’ve done some market researches and there seem to be a gap in the market and only very few people are in. Knowing the high risk of small start-ups, I’d like to think things through before setting up the actual business.

    This is going to be a very small business in the very beginning (with just a small decent amount of stocks – only a few hundreds at a time). I plan to manufacture the products in Asia (where I have local contacts) and import them here. Now my questions are:

    1) Import/Export: What would be the simplest arrangement in terms of importing these stocks? I read on other posts that it can be set up as simple as I purchase the stock from the manufacture and bare the risk of holding the stock here. Should I be hiring an Australian importing agent to help me with the process?

    2) Stocking/Warehousing: Personally I’d like to stock, pick, pack, and deliver the products myself as I suspect that the sales will be fairly slow especially in the beginning (while I’m trying to build the brand and gaining exposure). That way I can keep my costs down. However, I’m living in Tassie and I wonder if it’ll cost more just to get the products to ship to here while majority of the sales will be coming from the mainland. Would it make sense to hire 3PL to handle the logistic side?

    3) Web developer/Web designer: If things take off well then I’d really like to consider using 3PL option. If this is the case, then do I need a website that is coded specifically so that my website can communicate with the 3PL system (i.e., sending daily order summary to the 3PL’s system)?

    4) Website: I’m starting to see that a lot of people now are using a wordpress platform to build websites (including e-commerce). What do you think about it? One of the web designers I’m looking into is using this platform to design the websites. I know nothing about css/php and only a few bits on HTML. I thought it might be worth looking into?

    I apologize for a long post. Thanks so much in advance for bearing with me. I really appreciate all your insights!

    Hello Perla,

    1. You have to balance cash with stock availability. If you sell online you need to establish and work to a delivery time. Most online buyers want the product now and so you need to be able to deliver in a timely fashion. So you need to have some committment from the manufacturer on how fast they can deliver. You might also want to look into payment to them only by Letter of Credit that is released when the goods arrive at your location.

    2. Do it yourself until you work out how much quantity you need.

    3. It is really important to get the shipping calculation correct and therfore shipping cost correct for the consumer. If your starting out then look at including the shipping cost in the price and offering free shipping. It is a big factor fo buyers. You can also look at shipping aggregators like Temando.

    4. I know I will get yelled at by a lot of people for saying this, anyway, WordPress is not a good eCommerce platform, just don’t go there. There are lots of good purpose developed eCommerce platforms available.

    Regards

    John

    #1037662
    AnaLucia
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    • Total posts: 112
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    Import/Export: go with an agent. It is a real nightmare if you try to do it yourself. This refering that you will bring your items by ship.
    If you start bringing them with UPS, etc… then they will do it for you, it is expensive though. As soon as you can bring it by ship do it.

    #1037663
    perla
    Member
    • Total posts: 31
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    Thanks so much for all the comments. I will definitely on a look out for a shipping agent!

    #1037664
    JohnW
    Member
    • Total posts: 2,642
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    Hi Perla,
    You have not posed the first and most important question for the success of your online business…

    How will I get my website information in front of prospective customers’ eyes?

    Finding a developer who can help you with this issue won’t be easy.

    Don’t focus on whether you want Word Press or any other system (there are thousands of them), focus on finding someone who can set you up with what ever system is needed to deliver prospective clients to your site and which delivers the management functions you want.

    Any web publishing system is only as good as the knowledge of the programmer installing it and you will find that each web developer specialises in a specific publishing system. Each has an inherent interest in saying that the system they know best, is best.

    The reality is, the best programmer using the worst system will do more for you than the worst programmer with the best system. I’ve seen Word Press sites set up by “experts” who installed them to exclude them from the search engines. No one came to these website… surprised?

    You do need to find a developer who is an expert in a publishing system and that can be difficult when anyone can claim to be one.

    A great starting question is, “show me.” In this case “show me” means the results you’re interested in – websites that delivered customers to them.

    Regs,

    JohnW

    #1037665
    perla
    Member
    • Total posts: 31
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    Hi JohnW,

    Thank you very much for your advice. I will keep that in mind when I start looking for the web designer. I know it won’t be easy but as you suggested that it’s very important! I really appreciate your thoughts!

    Perla

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