I've had a site that sells widgets for many years. I do not inventory my widgets, but the cost of adding them to the site and makings sure the site is current is becoming cost prohibitive. Here are the facts:
- I sell a single class of widget. I have about 50,000 widgets on my site.
- I have about 100 vendors that create and dropship the products when they get an order from me via email.
- Each vendor carries from 50 to 5000 types of widgets.
- Vendors all have websites with images and descriptions of their products.
- Each widget is produced in limited supply and usually sell out in 1-5 years.
- Prices of the widget often go up, sometimes more than 50% before they sell out.
- My vendors aren't very tech sophisticated. They have websites with their products, but most can't supply an api or database dump. Their websites usually display retail prices to the public, but I login or refer to a price list (usually excel) for wholesale prices.
As it stands now, I hire local people to add and describe each widget to our website. It usually takes a person 4 minutes to add a widget to the site. This doesn't include moving to a new vendor. I feel like the upload/edit process is as good as it can get via a form/website.
The problem is that it is getting very expensive to upload and keep the widget inventory current. I often get orders for something after it's sold out from the vendor or the price is wrong.
This seems like it would be a problem in many industries. Can anyone suggest the cheapest way to upload inventory and ensure prices are current from my vendors? I'm assuming it will involve outsourcing, but I would like ideas on how to setup the compensation model.