ReStockIt.com Bulks Up on B2B Market

by James Maguire

eBiz Profile: This new business-to-business operation competes with the warehouse clubs by focusing on specific core markets and making heavy pay-per-click buys.

Although relatively new, ReStockIt.com competes with some big, established players. The site is an online "warehouse club," an outlet for bulk purchases aimed at the small business market, along the lines of Sam's Club.

"We're like Costco, except we deliver right to your door," said the site's co-founder David Redlich.

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 price, 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 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.

Tracking and Then Tracking Some More
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 industries such as restaurants and bars.

Redlich also tracks the site's pay-per-click budget, which is sizable. "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."

Adapted from ECommerce-Guide.com, part of Internet.com Small Business Channel.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!
This article was originally published on Tuesday Jun 28th 2005
Mobile Site | Full Site