As our longtime customers know, we often run out of certain products. There are several reasons for this.
With new products we typically place a smaller first order. I want to know if the production quality is as good as the samples we saw. It's not unheard of for a sample to be the very best example from a run. I also want to know if a new product will be popular before committing to a large inventory. For example, I thought the Grand Cru long reach brakes would sell like crazy given how well they work; they have been a good, but not phenomenal, seller. The VO Stem Adapter, on the other hand, a product that I thought would be only a modest seller, has proven very very popular. Being a new company, we have a disproportionate number of new products. Of course, there are also occasions when I blow it and simply order too few of something.
Production delays often cause items to be out of stock. Some popular items are made in small factories that that take as long as six months to make and ship orders. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just ordering early. Our business is not static. VO continues to grow quickly so it is difficult to predict what we'll need in six months.
So why don't we simply take backorders? One of the reasons is that I try to keep this business simple and enjoyable. Another is that our software does not support backorders. But more importantly, we couldn't guarantee when, or even if, something will be back and at what price. Most people would be hard pressed to order something if they didn't know when it would arrive and how much it would cost; I wouldn't. And many folks will find a substitute in the meantime.
Our plan is to eventually have a function that will allow customers to sign up for automatic e-mails when an out of stock item they want is back.
14 October, 2008
Posted by Velo Orange at 10:19:00 AM