It is becoming more popular for individuals to open small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) using existing web stores or merchants. Companies like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, et cetera, allow individuals to have scaleable web stores with very little overhead or inventory. The merchant website generally manages the flow of goods through their websites under the name of the SMB. Vendor management, inventory management, sales analytics, marketing analytics, and payment gateways are all included in the web store interface which is what makes these services so attractive.
Companies like Etsy often use the pull model where the product is made once someone places an order; as products are generally handmade and can be customized. Companies like Amazon and eBay use the push model where ordered items are drop shipped from the manufacturer’s inventory or are locally warehoused.
Consider your desire to start a small business in your current location.
- What type of goods would your business sell? Which online platform would you use and why?
- Describe every step of the supply chain and its visibility (ability to track) from sourcing the products all the way through customer delivery.
- Consider your current location. What are your biggest threats to your supply chain (ability to deliver) and how would you address those threats using technology or other practices?