Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Supporting Suppliers

A super quick follow-up that dovetails into the previous post. After all, everything is a link in the chain. The chain of distribution.

We have a few core suppliers. We give them a lot of business. We give them a lot of money every month. You know what? I love it! I hope they make so much money from their relationship with Relentless Improvement that they can roll around in it. Why? Have I gone crazy? Did my business sense go out the window?


They provide high value to me and my customers.

And as long as they do that, they have my loyalty. And if the value they provide goes away, I am free to change suppliers at any time. It already has happened several times. It's business! I had no ill will, I didn't whine like a petulant child with an over-fed sense of entitlement. I moved forward, and sought solutions that met the needs of my customers.

You will notice I keep using the word value. Because if all I cared about, my single priority, was price- I could change suppliers tomorrow. We certainly are solicited enough. But price is way down my list. Quality, purity, integrity, availability, shipping, customer service, breadth of coverage, content; they all outweigh price.

See? It goes each direction. I seek to provide value to my customer, as my suppliers seek to provide it to me.

This is another way we are so much different from the warehouse supplements sites of the world. They seek 500 suppliers, milking the latest trend and fads. I will be quite happy with 5 of the very best suppliers in the world, and private labeling under the RI brand where it makes sense for my customers.

And we seek the clientele that appreciates us for that philosophy.

The AOR's and the GeroNova's and the Mera Pharmaceutical's, and the Therabiotic's of the world are unique, and we love 'em for it. Are they a buck or ten or twenty higher in price than some other suppliers? Sometimes (many times not!). But they earn every penny with the value they provide.

If you understand the concept of value vs price, we want to be your supplement partner. If we are not meeting your need, would you email me personally and let me know? Please include your name and where you are writing from, it's simple courtesy :-)

pete(the at symbol)

Different Kinds of Customers, Different Kinds Of Companies

We have a passionate customer base. I love it! Life is too short to be boring and not be the best that you can be.

But our customers are great in a different way too. They support our mission of building a better supplement business. They support a simple, secure purchase experience, superior quality, great customer service, and fair pricing.

They support, and indeed, are the mothers milk of our future growth. Because without repeat customers and the profits they generate, there is no growth, there is no improvement (Relentless or otherwise!), there are no new products, there is no testing. And the business eventually goes Pfffftt!

But we have one out of a thousand that is determined to force us to be what we will never be- the cheapest kids on the block. Or as I call it, leading the race to the bottom.

Not us. Never will be. Our race is to the top.

Adding value- that is our game. Providing a consistantly superb experience.

There are plenty of other shops willing to provide a different kind of purchase experience. A different standard of quality and service. Because no shoe fits all feet. Certain kinds of customers are happy to propel these businesses on their race to the bottom. And we say to them- glad you found a supplier that makes you happy.

This year we are looking at some ways to support those presently supporting us on our journey. I have a passel of ideas right now, but one thing is for sure, that it will involve a look-back analysis to identify those customers that made the greatest contribution of their support to our growth.

Stick with us (and we know who you are!). This year is going to be interesting.