Tips and Tricks
About Inventory-Sharing Etiquette
WarehouseTWO believes in unstructured inventory-sharing. That is, we prefer that our users decide for themselves whether or not to conduct business with other users. While we do not have a formal member rating system, we understand that many members have their own systems. This article offers suggestions on how to maintain a favorable reputation among peer distributors at WarehouseTWO.
Etiquette for Sellers
- Honor the Price You Posted
Isn’t it reasonable to assume that the price that you’ve included for each item that you’ve posted is your committed sell price? That’s what distributors who find your items in search results assume. So when they call you to place an order, why would you not honor that price? We think that this is the fastest way to earn a reputation as an undesirable inventory-sharing participant.
Suggested ways to ensure that you can honor your posted offer prices:
- Automate your inventory data uploads. This will let formulae determine offer prices, and reduce human errors in calculating offer prices.
- Train your customer service people to honor the prices you’ve posted to WarehouseTWO, even if those prices do not appear at order entry in your ERP system. Empower them to overwrite default programmed pricing.
- Direct inquiries from other WarehouseTWO members to one or two individuals trained and empowered to override pricing policies to honor the prices that you offered at WarehouseTWO.
- Include in your “How to Order” instructions at WarehouseTWO the statement, “Indicate that you found this item at WarehouseTWO.” That should prompt the inquiring caller to identify himself as a peer distributor, and that he has seen your posted price.
- Disclose Surcharges and Other Transactional Fees
Many wholesaler-distributors have embraced “strategic pricing” practices in recent years. This practice may include miscellaneous surcharges and transactional fees that fall under a “pain threshold” of your end customers. But these fees may have significant impact on the profitability of the transaction for the distributor who is buying from you. In the spirit of cooperation, we recommend that you waive all such surcharges when selling to peer distributors. But if you intend to enforce such policies, clearly state them in your “How to Order” instructions in your WarehouseTWO account. Also, offer ways on how a peer distributor can reduce or avoid these fees. One example is to waive such fees for orders placed by the peer distributor directly on your company’s web site.
- Keep Your Posted Inventory Data Accurate
If you let your posted inventory data linger without frequently updating it, you will not have in stock what your postings show that you have, when a peer distributor contacts you. The more times that you disappoint an inquiring peer distributor, the less likely that he will trust the accuracy of your posted data. And you may not get a call the next time one of your items appears in a search result.
Suggested ways to keep your posted inventory data accurate:
- Automate your inventory data uploads. Our system accepts data files as frequently as every ten minutes. But once each night is good enough.
- Limit your “expiration period” to “After 30 Days”. Yes, we offer settings of “After 90 Days” and “After 365 Days”, but we do not recommend that you use them.
- Just before you manually upload fresh inventory data, delete all previously posted inventory data. New files do not overwrite old files. Rather, newly posted item records overwrite the data for the same items. But if your new file does not contain an item that you had previously posted but had since sold off, that record will remain on your account until it auto-expires.
- Post Only AVAILABLE Quantities
When calculating the quantity of each item to post, deduct from your on-hand inventory quantities any quantities that are already allocated to other customers’ orders and to other branches within your company.
- Be Willing to Sell Your Posted Quantities
We understand that many distributors like to “protect” their inventory against stock-outs. To avoid disappointing inquiring distributors, post only quantities that you are willing to sell. Don’t include your “protected” quantities. Sure, distributors will understand if you’ve just sold out of something that you posted just a few hours ago. But saying that you have these items, but you’re not willing to sell them at this time, will drive away potential buyers for other items that you’re desperate to get rid of.
- Offer for Sale New Items Only (or Items in Like-New Condition)
- Don’t Substitute Items Without Prior Consent of the Buyer
Buyers are expecting to receive exactly the part number you posted. They’re not expecting a functional equivalent, nor a competitive brand. If you intend to ship a substitute item, get the buyer’s approval first Better yet, use WarehouseTWO’s “Related Items” functionality to link your substitute items to items that you think others will search for. With “Related Items”, your substitute item can appear in a search for the desired item. And with an “Exact Match” search, the screen will identify your posted item as a substitute.
Etiquette for Buyers
- Pay the Seller’s Invoice Within Terms
This is the only thing that a buyer has to do to be a good “inventory-sharing” citizen.
Got a Question or Suggestion?
Got a question about this article, or a suggestion on how we can improve it? Contact us:
Call us at 1-650-329-1592, US Pacific time zone.
Post your question/comment to our LinkedIn group, WarehouseTWO Users Forum.