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Discussion Starter #1
I will have the cart ready soon.

Please PM me or respond to this thread indicating that you/your business would like to participate.

The program is simple.

1. Enter into agreement to drop ship
2. FNForum/Iceline Internet LLC collects the money and sends a monthly ro weekly check - whatever the agreement may be
3. I will sell anything except receivers of anything that goes bang.
4. Your business will receive shipping address with item and quantity.

We have to be able to collect at least 10% on anything we sell, plus 3% processing fee - so that should tell you if the product has that kind of margin to support it.

If we end up not having any participants in this, I still plan to sell at least some shwag mugs and stickers and what not.

Cheers,

-TH
 

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After thinking about this, I'm willing to list some products not offered elsewhere on the FNForum shopping cart. Sounds like a good opportunity to increase sales and support the forum.
 

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I feel this is a huge conflict of interest on the part of the forum to sell anything that is sold by the paying vendors. I feel that such would undermine the relationship between the forum and vendors, and would create an atmosphere that doesn't promote a good relationship between the forum and those wanting to bring their products to market.

Vendors already pay for the ability to advertise and promote their products; further taxing them by taking percentage of sales is just out of line. That's not even getting into the logistics of it. I carry other manufacturer's merchandise at a large cost to me so that I can take care of my customers without having to send them through many different sites. Shipping starts to add up when you have to go to several sites to get what you want.

Mike
 

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A conflict would only exist if a vendor choose to list their items for sale thru the shopping cart and thru seperate ads on the site. No statements have been made that imply such practices are encouraged and nowhere has it been said such shopping cart participation is mandatory. It seems the intent is to host a place for some vendors to list their items with a secure shopping cart as a convenience to them and for the benefit of forum members of having a better selection with secure ordering. It does create a larger market place for buyers to choose from and allows opportunity for some vendors who have small or dedicated operations to have their products hosted on the web with that secure payment option. I don't see a problem with a variety of more offerings here, the shopping cart would be perfect for specialty items and competition is always a good thing for the end users. Might not be a viable option for a middle man type operation, but perfect for a small specialty manufacturer or service provider. No one is saying a vendor has to participate, but it sure provides additional opportunity for more products to be sold by many vendors here. Having some vendors participate and others not is no different than the market place that already exsit here. In the end the selling price is still determined by the offeror. And when you add up what designing a website cost, hosting that web site with a shopping cart, it is a great deal and very convenient for some vendors to participate in.
 

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Ken,

I knew you'd be a proponent of it as you have no website. That's not a big deal if you prefer to sell via email, but I'm sure you've seen you can't run a retail business that way.

The cart is a bad idea because it's not a store; it's a central processing area that does NOTHING for the customer and only hurts the sponsors. Just about every single item will have to be drop shipped--you're talking about a logistical nightmare. I don't think there is one selling vendor with current infrastructure that would rather someone else take their money, take a percentage of it, delay the receipt of their funds—and to what benefit? Again, there is nothing wrong with the way that most of us process sales, and I can’t see adding to my overhead to only gain a headache. It’s two negatives to which neither the customer, nor the vendor benefits.

I really see no reason why anybody would want to be taxed 10% of their sales after they already pay for the privilege of using the forum. This would triple the time it takes my company to process orders, and it would cause me to have to manually enter sales into my database. I’m sure there are several others out there whom would also be harmed by this. I couldn’t imagine what would happen to a site like GlockTalk or AR15.com if they went the same route. I’m actually very surprised that this was even offered seeing how much it would alter the course of the forum’s intention.

Mike
 

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Well, Therm will have to be the one to address this. I think originally - the plan is to sell mags for FN products, and maybe t-shirts, stickers, etc (with the FN logo).

You are correct - it would create a problem for sponsors who already take payment on their own site. But, this could benefit sponsors, or potential sponsors who do not have that capability - or if they had 1 product that they didn't mind selling exclusively here.

I don't think Therm means to compete with sponsors here - and as this is voluntary, if sponsors don't want to participate, they need not.
 

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Jason,

If a vendor doesn't have a site, and cannot keep up with selling via email, perhaps they should either revisit their business strategy or actually use some of the money they take in to further their business along. A website is an expense of time and capital. It's a cost of doing business. I feel that it's neither the forum’s responsibility nor duty to sell the products of a vendor who cannot meet their business responsibilities. Doing such would infer an indirect preference on the side of the forum for a particular product or vendor.

The fact that a company would consider themselves a vendor, yet have no store front, speaks for itself. The cost associated with a product is based on everything that goes into the product and business, and not just the manufacturing. If an organization wants to spend their time trying to undercut and copy everyone, but can’t market or sell their product efficiently—well that’s a problem that’ll right itself in due time.

I do think that Milos should have some FNForum shirts, hats, etc... done up as well as offer FN apparel if it can be acquired from FN, but leave the marketing and sales of products to the paid vendors that have supported and helped drive the site.

Mike
 

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Businesses are as diverse as individuals, everyone has specific needs and unique approaches. My approach is somewhat different than the normal internet vendor in that I cater to large production orders and development with most sales having nothing to do with internet advertising. I see such a shopping cart as opportunity while others may view it as nothing but more competition. I can understand the concern of other vendors trying to compete against a manufacturer on the same forum when the manufacturer has the capability to offer a similar rail for under $5 for instance. If my main focus was retail sales, I would have websites, catalogs, and the staff to back it up, but in reality the PS90 accessories I make only account for less than 4 % of my overall sales and most of that has come from Govt & LE sales. Such a shopping cart is a perfect outlet to test the marketing of new products, offer proprietary or specialty products, or liquidate inventory. My plan is not try to scratch out an existence by offering similar products, anybody can sell rails with a website, but to slowly build a line of proprietary products second to none. Some of us can make & sell our products, while others have to buy and market their line of products, it's like comparing apples to oranges and has nothing to do with the comparison of business strategy. As far as being a sponsor or vendor of the FNForum, it makes no difference as to what your business practices are, how much time and money you have in your own website, or even if you sell anything here or not, or even if your a business or just a individual. Websites do require investment of time and money, and sales thru a forum hosted shopping cart are the perfect way to validate the investment of building a website if needed. But as of this day, my intent is to continue to focus on manufacturing and only offer direct sales of certain items not offered elsehwere, I already have enough manufacturing work and make a good living doing that alone. The last thing I want is to be associated as, is being a solely internet vendor, some people are confused as to that being my primary business focus when it's not even close, just goes to show what they know. If I wanted to take the easy greedy way I would flood the market with less than $10 rails & accessories and I don't need a website or forum shopping cart to do that. If the shopping cart doesn't happen, it doesn't affect me I'm still making parts every day, it only affects the end users of FNForum.net and that is where the consideration of hosting the shopping cart should be focused, not a greed driven debate of who's selling what & where. I have to believe that this forum exist for the end users of FN products, not as a marketing outlet for vendors of aftermarket accessories.
 

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I pretty much summed it up with the following...
The cart is a bad idea because it's not a store; it's a central processing area that does NOTHING for the customer and only hurts the sponsors. Just about every single item will have to be drop shipped--you're talking about a logistical nightmare. I don't think there is one selling vendor with current infrastructure that would rather someone else take their money, take a percentage of it, delay the receipt of their funds—and to what benefit? Again, there is nothing wrong with the way that most of us process sales, and I can’t see adding to my overhead to only gain a headache. It’s two negatives to which neither the customer, nor the vendor benefits.
It would end up driving prices up, which is not to the end user's benefit.
 

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Again, not all business practices are the same.
The shopping cart actually fills the void in some infrastructures where direct sales are not the main focus of the business and that is only one of many benefits for some vendors.
As far as it being the cause of higher prices, total fiction. Nobody is making vendors particpate in the shopping cart and there's no need to use the shopping cart to host if you already have your own on a website. So if you don't need to use it, why worry about it? The prices on the items I host thru the shopping cart will be the best available anywhere on that specific item and a true bargin to the end users of the forum. Now how can anyone say that there is no benefit?
Innovation is key to the forums success. If no one uses the shopping cart it can always be deleted.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Guys,

this does not have to be a war. It is simply a proposal and everyone has a valid point to some extent.

I have to disagree with Mike on a couple of issues. One being that a shopping cart is somehow damaging to the current sponsors.

1. I do not FORCE anyone to advertise.
2. I do not force anyone to have their items in the shopping cart.
3. If it's too inconvenient - no need to participate then.
4. It's a HUGE benefit to the forum member to have items they wish to buy at their fingertips.

There are plethora of models like this out there, Amazon, Newegg.com, Buy.com and so forth.

Running a cart is not free either. Someone has to make it, put up the catalog, maintain the catalog and pay for hosting, gateway provider, transfer fees, monthly fees, per item fees and so forth.

The cart just spits out an email with the customer and item ordered to the appropriate seller.

Our sponsorship fees are amongst the least expensive in the gun forum industry given the amount of traffic we get. The ads in and of themselves are worth 5x what we are charging.

If this proves to be a rift amongst sponsors, then we will not involve the sponsors and just sell shwag - which is not a conflict of interest whatsoever.


More discussion is necessary.

:?

-TH
 

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That's what I like to see. I can't believe more aren't chiming in. I know it doesn't affect some, but it does affect others.

While not requiring a vendor to have something on the cart, just the mere existence of it shows an impartiality on the part of the FNForum. That is something that should be avoided at all costs. Based on the responses of Ken, I’d almost begin to think that this is something that he’s pushing since he doesn’t have the means for a store front.

Trying to compare the “cart” to something of the likes of Amazon or Buy.com is an exaggeration. Forum members do have everything they need at their fingertips; all they have to do is click a link to the respective merchant and they can order what ever they’d like. Having them order it through another gateway is no different than visiting websites, except they’ll have to end up paying more in shipping. There’s no way to have drop shipping and not charge for each shipment that occurs.

By the end of next week, I will have no less than 7 other vendor’s products on my site. These will be in-stock, in a single location. This is the only way to effectively help the customer while keeping costs down. The cart is trying to be promoted as something that fills a void—yet I see no void to be filled. I haven’t seen a single person complain about not being able to obtain accessories.

As far as site statistics are concerned; I watch them very closely as I have really good software on my servers. I watch all of the traffic and where it comes from. Obviously I don’t get to see where the inbound traffic is coming from on the FNForum, but I do get to monitor who and how many are coming. This particular site can’t be looked at in the same manner in regards to traffic and page views. Traffic isn’t business when it comes to the fact that a person must first own one of the weapons that the site appeals to. Most of the members on the site don’t own the guns. This has been illustrated in polls and when trying to give away gun specific accessories. When someone asks where to get a PS90 for instance, they’re generally directed towards Tanner’s (who isn’t sponsor). As a business, I have to look at specifics and avoid bloated numbers that have nothing to do with the true base of my customers. With this in mind, I’d have to say the pricing for vendors is in the appropriate range considering the number of people whom the advertising is applicable to.

This (cart for accessories) will do more harm than good.

Mike
 

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Therm actually planned on doing this, and his original idea was to sell swag and maybe some magazines for various FN guns. Crit Dimensions had nothing to do with that.

In order to justify some of the expenses, I believe he wanted to make the offer that if someone wanted to make use of our site as a way to accept payment for certain items, then they were free to take advantage of that offer.

I think too much is being worried about here.

If one doesn't wish to participate, they need not.
 

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I've had nothing to do with this shopping cart proposal but think its a great idea and am very much pushing for it now. The negative comments and badgering directed at me have done nothing but motivate me to increase my production of PS90 Accessories, which is well with my means. I plan on offering laser engraved FNForum logo merchandise in addition to a full line of unique accessories to go along with the planned higher end accessories we have coming, ALL ON THE SHOPPING CART if available. A shopping cart at the finger tips of the members couldn't be a better deal for them and me. The void it fills belongs to those who use it as a host and to those who take advantage of the unique offers found only on the FNForum shopping cart. As far as the shopping cart making a buyer pay more for shipping, how does that work??? :roll: My shipping cost will be the same as if I took the order direct and I only charge actual shipping cost, I'm still shipping the product to the same buyer from the same place.
I'm interested in discussing specifics such as payment & % of sales details and exclusive marketing details. Also interested in offering products of other gun industry OEM's that I have working relationships with. The increased sales will benefit the forum greatly and maybe I'll be able to afford a website of my own instead of buying a CNC swiss or a wire EDM. :?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I feel this is a huge conflict of interest on the part of the forum to sell anything that is sold by the paying vendors. I feel that such would undermine the relationship between the forum and vendors, and would create an atmosphere that doesn't promote a good relationship between the forum and those wanting to bring their products to market.

Vendors already pay for the ability to advertise and promote their products; further taxing them by taking percentage of sales is just out of line. That's not even getting into the logistics of it. I carry other manufacturer's merchandise at a large cost to me so that I can take care of my customers without having to send them through many different sites. Shipping starts to add up when you have to go to several sites to get what you want.

Mike
Mike, this is not and never will be a democracy in terms of telling me what I can or should do or not do here.

Second, I simply asked if you( any sponsor) want to participate, let me know. I am not interested in YOUR problems or logistics. It will be a huge marketing benefit and tool to some and not worthwhile for you. One thing that I will not do is to cross-sell items from different sponsors.

IceLine Internet services is taking on HUGE liability with this. If the product is defective or never arrives, we will have to be the ones to take the heat.

Work in progress!

-TH
 

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I still don't see if someone orders a vest guy sling, a magparts brass catcher, and a REM 2, how those 3 items, which will all be shipped seperately, will not have to incur additional shipping? That's 2 seperate shipments which both have their own shipping charge. The customer will have to pay more. How is the compound shopping cart going to calculate such shipping?

You don't expect the vendors to eat the bill on shipping while the forum "takes its share" of profits? That's a double whammy cost to the vendor. Vendor has to pay the shipping and fees to the forum? How does this benefit anyone except for the forum?

I have valid concerns here that aren't being addressed.

Ken, as far as you go-- You have no ability to market goods. That's affected me very little. Making goods and selling goods are two different ball games :lol: But this isn't about you--it's the conflict of interest and the headache it will cause us vendors.
 

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Magpart - as you have your own site and take your own sale - there probably isn't any point in you selling anything thru the site. No sweat! :?
 

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Mike, it's good to see that you finally realize our two businesses are very different, like apples and oranges, even though that fact was clearly stated several posts back. Since you say I don't affect you, please kindly direct your derogatory comments elsewhere.
Funny, but I think my ability to market certain products at the retail level just found me. :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D
 
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