N2Surplus Inc., a distributor of surplus products ranging from office supplies and eyeglass frames to industrial valves and materials for scientific laboratories, did 75% of its $680,000 in online sales last year through the Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and NeweggBusiness e-marketplaces, N2 Surplus founder and president Neal Brenner says.
Now N2Surplus has figured a way to generate even more of its sales through online marketplaces, he says. In addition to selling surplus goods, the distributor is now offering to sell the new products of small manufacturers as an authorized reseller and to offer a one-year warranty with a full price refund or product replacement for damaged goods.
Linor Technology Inc., or Linortek, a manufacturer of Internet-connected electronics products, is the first company to sign on for the program, Brenner says. N2Surplus has begun selling Linortek products under the Koda and NetBell brands, including Koda Ethernet I/O controllers and NetBell web-based bell systems. Linortek describes its Ethernet I/O controller as “an all-in-one system with the hardware and software you need to control and monitor your electrical devices or equipment over the Internet.” Its NetBell bell systems are designed to let users access, control and schedule through a web browser the ringing of an electronic bell used in schools, offices and factories to sound schedule changes or alarms.
“N2Surplus is helping market these smaller manufacturers’ product lines,” Brenner says. “We’re able to market their materials not only on N2Surplus.com, but also on Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and NeweggBusiness.”
The distributor is also offering manufacturers 360-degree photographic technology and services to better display their products online. When viewing an electric circuit breaker, for example, a shopper can view it from multiple angles and zoom in close enough to view the voltage and other specifications printed on a label. Since deploying the new photographic system in March, Brenner says the number of customer inquiries to N2Surplus’ contact center with questions regarding product specifics have decreased by 45%.
To have their products included in the imaging system, suppliers must deliver them to N2Surplus’ Roanoke, Va., warehouse. N2Surplus rotates the product on a specially built turntable, snaps photos using WebRotate 360 software and shares them with the client via DropBox, an Internet-based file-storing service.
Launched in 2013, N2Surplus is on track to do $800,000 in business-to-business e-commerce sales in 2015, up nearly 18% from $680,000 in 2014, Brenner says. 75% of these sales are processed through e-marketplaces, and those web portals have allowed N2Surplus’ to expand its customer base overseas, Brenner says. About 10% of N2Surplus’ business customers are located outside of the United States.
The other 25% of the distributor’s sales come through its own e-commerce site, N2Surplus.com, which receives about 7,000 unique visitors monthly. N2Surplus.com is built on Bigcommerce software, which the company chose for its ability to integrate product and order data well with e-marketplaces, Brenner says.
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