Welcome to our store for Chess Sets, Chess Boards, Chess Computers, Chess Software and Chess Clocks. We have hundreds of fine chess products from the world's finest chess store - ChessBaron. We ship worldwide. Our chess pieces are of the finest woods such as ebony, redwood (also known as bud rosewood and red sandalwood), rosewood and sheesham. Our boards are solid genuine wood products, not the veneer that most chess stores supply.

June 24, 2006

Chess Retail: Drop Shipping Chess Sales

Filed under: Chess Retailing — Baron Turner @ 10:34 pm

Theme chess sets, chess clocks, chess computers, all of these are periferal to our main business. So our sales of them don’t carry as much profit, but hey, we don’t have to stock them or handle the problems with purchasing, returns, etc. But if only the man blowing bubbles at the top of the diagram were really true. Is it? Well, after optimising our chess store website and attaining good position, importing most of our stock for selling as a conventional store, it’s the easiest part of our business to then include other chess products that we don’t actually stock - we’d kinda be crazy not to huh?

Chess Computers appear to have a very thin profit margin, so we don’t want to get involved in stocking them, let’s just drop ship them. It may suprise most readers to know that in the UK, most chess computers are funnelled through one company, who drop ship for most of the countries online chess stores. Good old Eric. Theme chess set suppliers already have mature defined programs for drop shipping, so we may as well take advantage of them, the margin can be quite generous - it would be madness to stock them. Chess clocks sales are low if steady, so the hurdle to stock them seems rather high, especially with Ebay being the automatic first stop for something like a chess clock.

To run a whole business on a drop ship basis is a much easier way to live, but exceptionally hard to really make the kind of margin needed for a successful business in chess retailing such as chess sets and chess boards. They therefore usually go for volume and a ‘Mall’ type of store, unless as in our case, it’s just perifery to the main stock. Once accomplished with enough lines and enough volume, it would be a relatively easy life. The destination retailer’s stock levels is always an issue (managable, coping with what they have in stock and out of stock) but the larger issue is that with increased web maturity and the subsequent difficulty in optimising a site for competitive phrases, the up ramp is steep indeed. Getting on the High street without paying through adwords is expensive, difficult and prone to great dissapointment with rogue SEO companies being difficult to detect among the many who have set up in this industry.

However, one important factor in favour of drop shipping is the superiority of the model over mere affiliate sites. Clicks go astray, other sites don’t want to link to affiliate sites, search engines take a dim view to affiliate sites, etc. At least with the drop shipping method, the funds are taken and neither the customer, the search engines, nor other websites and webmasters know that no stock is actually held. Not a bad life if kept in balance, the customer is well served, and the suppliers manage to make their profit too, something I often wonder about.

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