If the closure of big box retailers is any indication, the convenience of online shopping has reached Canadian consumers, but has it reached businesses?
One company, called StockintheChannel.com, wants to accomplish just that.
The web-based company founded in the UK calls itself the “Amazon of the channel” and is making efforts to expand to North America.
At its core, it is a freemium search engine for resellers and service providers who want to find and compare stock from various distributors. Sellers need to be certified, meaning not just anyone can be listed.
Currently in Canada the company works with Tech Data and IT Xchange, and is in talks with Ingram Micro and others for the market.
In smaller markets such as Canada where there are only so many distributors, there may not be as much a need for such a search engine, Mallory Mabe, company marketing manager, conceded.
Nevertheless, Stock sees its service as an evolution from the system of yesteryear, which required opening tabs of all distributors that a reseller might want to source from.
“Now you can do it all in one place,” she said.
Unlike other retailers, Stock in the Channel simply provides the listing and search service, which means transactions still go directly to distributors and suppliers – this way Stock doesn’t need to have warehouses and is able to keep costs down. Nevertheless, any volume-based discounts are still registered in the system.
For resellers, basic stock searches are free. For around $50 per month, users can upgrade to have price comparisons, and there are other options to create custom web stores, have personalized project managers, quote tools, private feeds and private pages for specific relationships.
While the company’s Canadian domain (in both French and English) was only launched in July 2015, the company has existed in the UK since 2009. Mabe claims that, globally, the company works with some 300 distributors, of whom 25 are in North America, and lists around 50,000 products.
So far the company has only added 2 resellers a month through word of mouth. The company hopes to increase its reseller base in Canada by 75 per cent over the next 12 months.
“Our goal is to actively change how the Canadian market sources stock and manages their ecommerce altogether,” Mabe said.