The New Face of Drop Shipping Comes from Silicon Valley
Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and others have changed the game in how dead simple it is to create your own online store and become a seller. Buy a cheap subscription, add a skin to make the store look good, customize a few things from the admin panel, upload some pretty pictures and you’re good to go, right?
Perhaps. But to make it an actual store where customers can buy things, you’re still missing two key things: product listed on the store and somebody to ship them to your customers on your behalf, a.k.a. “drop ship” them for you.
Store owners have had to figure out how to load products onto their store by themselves, which can be tricky and time consuming. Data services like SEMA Data Co-op, ASAP Network or PDM can help or the dealer has to list products one by one by scraping data from the manufacturer’s sometimes spotty product data. Then, when it comes to fulfilling orders, they have to find reliable suppliers who can drop ship, which typically is done by wholesale distributors. It’s complicated, time consuming, it’s unclear whether sold items are in stock and worst of all, it’s an error-prone setup where it’s easy to make mistakes in addresses, pricing or part numbers.
But there’s a technology solution that solves all of these problems at once, created by a new Silicon Valley based distributor called Torqued Distribution. Founded by Tim Trampedach, a technology industry veteran with experience and patents in building large backend infrastructure for high growth startups, Torqued Distribution has taken a more vertically integrated approach to being a warehouse distributor.
Like many enthusiasts who come from a different career and turn a passion or hobby into a business, Tim took his experience and knowledge to embrace eCommerce automation in his own way. Being quite surprised about the amount of manual and relatively low-skill basic operational work is necessary in running a website and interacting with your partners, he knew that a better warehouse distributor could be build from the ground up.
His goal in being a warehouse distributor became “no emails, no PDFs, no humans involved in product data and order processing”. No, you certainly get humans on the phone when you call his company and you can send them a PO via email, but what he means is that whenever possible, there should be a durable digital connection between dealers and their distributors.
For example, instead of burdening dealers to source product data, inventory and pricing from disparate sources via spreadsheets and hard to use file formats, Torqued provides full product data for all of its products in simple formats ready to upload to a store. Crucially, the data comes from Torqued Distribution, not from a third party data service, and it contains key information a data service can’t provide, such as a dealer’s cost and the shipping costs. This type of vertical integration might seem obvious for a warehouse distributor to do, but it actually requires significant IT infrastructure. That’s why nobody has done this – most other warehouse distributors have underinvested in technology thus far, making it harder for them to work with newer “bedroom sellers” as Tim has described them, in the most positive sense of course!
And now for 2022, Torqued has now launched its new apps to truly build their Warehouse as a Service. Here, dealers can install free apps for popular eCommerce platforms and never have to deal with product data spreadsheets or pricing updates ever again. Their store’s inventory even stays in stock in real time with what Torqued Distribution has available and when an order comes through, two clicks will have it over to Torqued Distribution to send to the dealer’s customers.
This type of deep focus on the dealer experience that enables both established dealers and nascent digital native newcomer sellers to quickly list products for sale is pushing the boundaries of what’s expected of a warehouse distributor. They truly have become the Warehouse as a Service a dealer can rely on.