Pitching a fully functioning store before having products

Free Member
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 06 Sep 14
  • Karma:
23 Oct 14 07:27:02 am

I will start with the fact that I am brand new to this and hopefully I can word my questions so that they make sense.

I have recently found a great niche product and a couple suppliers willing to work with drop shippers. None of them are interested in adding amazon sellers but were open when I pitched them the idea of an ecommerce store.

However, they all asked the same question, "Can I see your store before moving forward?"

I have an aquaintance who has been great at giving me lots of vague information. When I questioned him on how to approach this question, his response was, "You should always have a fully functioning website launched and ready to show suppliers with demo products"

This obviously is great information to know but he doesn't show much enthusiasm when I get into details so I decided to ask for help here.

1) When he says demo products, does that mean any product so they can see what the website would look like? I imagine it would be better to post similar products

2) When he says "fully fuctioning" does he mean everything should work? How do I post "fully functioning" demo products that I don't have?

To me, fully functioning would mean that I have legitimate products to sell or at least the buttons are all functioning. This product is quite new to the market and very niche so the only picture examples I'm coming across are seemingly products from the suppliers I've spoken to. I did manage to find some photos on Alibaba but they all have watermarks on them. Can I use these?

My wife already owns an account on Shopify with the domaine name we like so I won't open a store up on salehoo for this particular product. I'm just quite confused how to start. They want to see a store but I don't have any real products to show them. I just feel like it's contradictory to own a store for a product you're trying to tap in to.
I guess I just don't really know what the suppliers expect to see. I just don't want to lose out on this opportunity because the supplier is expecting one thing and I produce something different.
I hope this makes sense.

Any advice moving forward would be greatly appreciated.
I'm sorry if this thread exists already or if it's in the wrong place.

Site Admin
  • Posts: 6496
  • Joined: 27 Jul 07
  • Karma:
23 Oct 14 10:58:14 pm
Hi Miles and welcome to the forum

If suppliers are cautious about seeing an active store before committing to a supply agreement, they are wanting to make sure that your branding is something they want their product to be associated with. So I would suggest looking at the supplier websites themselves to see how they market the product, I'm not suggesting that you copy it exactly, but it can give you some ideas on what they have identified as important to them and can offer you some ideas on impressing them with your own branding.

You essentially need to create an environment where they feel comfortable having their product being marketed.

Are you only going to specialize in these specific products?

If for example you are going to be marketing a wider variety of products than just these, then you can of course get the store up and running with those products first. If you are thinking more about specializing in these products, then maybe the best option would be to build the site to spec, listing detailed descriptions and so on. Regarding images, well if you are unable to source legal images you can always just use the "no image" image for demo purposes.

You would still have to set the site live of course, but you can easily create a landing page with a message informing anyone who does happen upon it, that the site is currently in a development phase and not yet open for business.

So it really comes down to your product profile as to the best way forward. If you are going to specialize in this particular range, then you can really focus your branding on this range and possibly really impress the suppliers or if you are going to have a much wider stock profile. then you'll have to build a much more generic branding and perhaps not have the ability to impress the suppliers as much.

One thing to remember, while there is of course some extra expense involved in having more than one online store, it's a lot easier than having more than one bricks and mortar store. So perhaps if this/these suppliers are really cautious about making sure how their product/s are marketed and you have the confidence in running with it or them, then maybe the focused branding option is the best avenue for you.

Mark (fudjj)

Community Manager

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