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    5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 5, 2007 11:40 AM by CorpCons08

    Internet Sales, The Digital Store Front,  "No, I don't need a License, It's just a small Hobby."

    Toucan Birds Newbie

      I started a Pet Store in Apirl of " 07 ". We specialize in exotic birds. We have been struggling ever since we've open the doors because i'm learning that their are ( I'm going to possibly offend some people, but hear me out ) people selling the same stuff I do on the internet in the auctions and websites that do not have the licenses that I have to get. I am required to have wild life license. an occupational license and with that i need a store front and then people to run it so that means payroll and payroll tax, pay state & local taxes. and collect state sales tax and file everything through the IRS. They have no overhead and they go through some of the same wholesalers that I do? Oh, And I love their catch phrase " I'm just a small hobbiest"
      How can I compete? Yeah, I going to get a hundred responses....... " Get a Website " their selling it a third cheaper because of no overhead....... I'm thinking of turning them in, but theres more that are behind them thats just going to move in when their gone....
        • Re: Internet Sales, The Digital Store Front,  "No, I don't need a License, It's just a small Hobby."
          CorpCons08 Ranger

          Toucan Birds,

           


          I think one of the most important things you said is just that, you are licensed. Make sure people are aware of that. These internet resellers are not licensed, and chances are, do not know how to handle the merchandise (in this case exotic birds) that they are selling. You have the knowledge and background.

           


          People are more interested in that than you realize. When I buy a product, I look to make sure it is coming from a reputable source.

           


          Yes, I do agree that having a website drives additional sales that you may not get just operating a store front. You may want to look into options of obtaining a website and begin advertising that way.

           


          I really think though that that whole "licensed reseller" is very important. Put that everywhere. Let people see how you are different from these bargain basement online resellers.

           


          Regards,

           

          CorpCons08
          • Re: Internet Sales, The Digital Store Front,  "No, I don't need a License, It's just a small Hobby."
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            CorpCons is right on target, your credentials ARE important to consumers. I dated a lady whose daughter had parrots, and she absolutely would not have bought a bird from anywhere other than a reputable shop. When I decided to buy an African Grey to give her as a gift, anyone who knew anything warned me to stay away from the lower-priced on-line sellers.

            Your second sentence holds the key to competing effectively: "We specialize in exotic birds." Your competitors specialize in other things -- like exotic Google ads. You DO need a website (if you don't have one) -- not to sell birds, but to promote your expertise, educate customers, and to support your related revenue streams (assuming you also sell bird-related items).

            There are two kinds of exotic bird buyers -- one is a knowledgeable person like the daughter I described above. The other is essentially "ignorant" about exotic birds, but decides one day for some reason that he wants one, so he shops for it like he shops for anything else - i.e., cheaper is better.

            You want to leverage your credentials and expertise to keep that first type of buyer, because they come back and buy other products from you with higher profit margins (cages, toys, food, etc.). They may even buy more birds someday, or recommend you to other potential buyers. You want to educate the second type of buyer (if possible), and since they're already looking on-line anyway, that's the venue to do it. Anyone who refuses to be educated is probably going to decide in a month or so that he didn't want a bird after all -- so you've only lost a one-time sale (and who knows, your visible expertise may help you pick that bird up from him for way below wholesale on the back end!)

            Bottom line, I don't believe in your business that lower prices from your "competition" should be a significant business problem if you use the same medium they are to leverage your credentials, knowledge, and expertise -- making sure you stand clearly above all them in a buyer's mind. I wish you the best!
              • Re: Internet Sales, The Digital Store Front,  "No, I don't need a License, It's just a small Hobby."
                CorpCons08 Ranger

                Thank you for that Lighthouse24. You gave me another thought when I was reading through your post. A lot of times if these individuals are going into business without the proper licensing, they may not know the merchandise they are selling. They may turn around and say "yeah here's a parrot" and then you find out you have a parakeet. I'm not saying thats necessarily the case, but you get the idea. By flaunting your expertise; the competition has no way to compete with you. They cant easily say, "hey, we know more than she does." If thats the case, let them show the licenses to back it up. :)
              • Re: Internet Sales, The Digital Store Front,  "No, I don't need a License, It's just a small Hobby."
                LUCKIEST Guide
                Toucan Birds, You have received 2 great answers and you seem to be doing
                everything by the book. As you said you are required to have wild life license.
                an occupational license store front and payroll, pay state & local taxes.
                *and sales tax and file
                everything through the IRS.*
                That is the American way and the way to grow.
                Hopefully you are succeeding and by doing all of the above, sleeping at night.
                I am a SCORE Counselor, and Score helps people in business, FREE both in
                person and online. We help with Business and Marketing Plans.
                Good luck and keep SCORE in mind. LUCKIEST