June 20, 2005
ReStockIt.com is a fairly new website, but it competes directly
with some much larger and older, more established players. The eCommerce
site could be defined as a sort of 'Internet warehouse club', similar to
an outlet for bulk purchases targeted at the small business market--a
bit like Sam's Club.
"We're like Costco, except we deliver right to your door," said David Redlich, the site's co-founder.
ReStockIt inventory is geared for restaurants, churches, schools and small institutional buyers. The site offers bulk buys on everything from a case of wine glasses to a carton of office paper.
In an effort to be a David to the big warehouse clubs Goliath, the site works to offer a better online alternative than those of the well-established brick and mortars.
Unlike some of those big discounters, ReStockIt doesn't make opportunistic buys of wholesale merchandise. In some warehouse clubs, "you buy something, and you go back three months later, that item is no longer there because they bought it at a great cost and they didn't get it again," Redlich said. ReStockIt focuses on maintaining a consistent inventory of 50,000 items, keeping its bestselling items in stock at all time, and using a network of suppliers to fill orders for products that sell at lower volumes.
As for those items it drop-ships, "Finding the right partner-vendors is part of any business, and if you are shipping it from them, make sure that your cost is not being sold to consumers," Redlich recommends. Based in south Florida, ReStockIt uses a network of 50 warehouses to fill orders on demand.
Focusing mainly on B2B
Unlike many big discounters, ReStockIt does not go after the consumer market — it takes care to position itself as a B2B. For example, ReStockIt offers $11.95 flat rate shipping on all orders less than 75 pounds. Shipping is free for orders over $169 (if they're less than 75 pounds).
The $11.95 shipping fee is an amount many small businesses would be comfortable with when ordering in bulk. But "a consumer who wants to order one thing — that would flush them out, they don't want to pay $11.95 for shipping," Redlich said.
The site has no membership fee, a feature of most warehouse clubs. "Our business model is about the repeat business," he said. Revenue comes not from membership fees, but from the site's high-volume sales.
Redlich is a huge believer in tracking and analyzing Web data. "Everything in this industry is about math, and about tracking and statistics," he said.. The site uses Omniture analytics software, "to track everything that goes out."
ReStockIt.com doesn't market itself to consumers and instead focuses on specific markets such as restaurants and bars.
Part of what Redlich tracks is the site's pay-per-click budget, which is sizeable. "We do a tremendous amount on Yahoo and their affiliates with pay-per-click, and it's successful for us," he says. The site spends equally on Google and Overture.
ReStockIt also posts its inventory in the comparison-shopping engines, including Shopping.com and NexTag. "And of course Froogle — we sell a lot on Froogle, and it costs us nothing."
Source: eCommerce Guide
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