New to ecommerce: coordination with the real store

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by ricroma, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. ricroma

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    Feb 21, 2012
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    Hi all,

    we own a store for design products in Perugia (Italy), I've already posted a "noob" question in the general section, but now I have a more specific question about ecommerce activity.

    So: we opened the "real" store in 2010, and recently we also launched a online store. Just like the original store, the online store is quite small and it was completely made by myself: ok it can look better, but considering that right now we cannot really hire any expert to do it and I'm happy with it! :)
    But this is not the point.

    My problem concern the coordination between the online store and the real store. Let me explain better.
    Due to the characteristics of the store itself, and to the recession, we cannot afford right now to have large quantities of products in stock. This is not really a big problem for the real store: most of the items are in display, and in general we sell few pieces of each items. In case a consumer request a larger quantity, we can place an order to the supplier and wait for delivery.
    Now, my question is this: is this practice usual for online stores? An example:

    We sell cups.
    In stock we have 3 left (or we simply out of stock).
    Someone in the online store buys 6.
    We order other 6 from the supplier and then we ship them to the internet consumer.​

    Of course, the internet consumers are told that "in case the requested quantity is not in stock shipping may be delayed".

    So, is this something usual, or onlines store only sells stuff in stocks?

    I don't know, I'm struggling with this dilemma: if we only sell the stuff we actually have in the store, we won't be able to offer a large supply. If, on the other hand, we can sell also "out of stock", I'm worried about the shipping times (usually a couple of weeks for the items to come to us and 3/4 days for the delivery to the final consumers, let's say 3 weeks in total).

    I don't know if this question makes any sense, sorry to bother you but: a) this seems a wonderful supporting community and b) these days the "real" store is quite slow, and I'm bored so I'm bothering you guys! :)

    Thanks a lot!


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