I've Got An Idea! N...
 
Notifications
Clear all

I've Got An Idea! Need Input Please.  

 

Stxdreaming1
(@stxdreaming1)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 43
May 18, 2020 5:48 pm  

Hi all, 

I have this idea and would like some input. I first initially got the idea about a year or so ago and didn't really think about it again till recently. I will list the idea below and welcome your thoughts, positive or negative. 

My idea was to make a handful of US major retailers available the residents of the VI. Imagine having Costco, Target, Best Buy and their products all readily available? I have been working through the logistics which is one thing, but what I am trying to establish is if there would be any demand for these products? Would having these stores be at your fingertips make life easier living in the VI?

In a perfect world, the person in the VI would place an order for the product(s) they want. Worth noting these would not be inflated in price. The order would then come to STX once a week/once a month (depends on demand). 

Unlike other forwarding companies where their addresses are blocked etc, we would be working directly with the stores so there would be no issues of rejected deliveries. Also, we would have a system in place where you would not pay the State sales tax. I am working through the import taxes. Initially, I am thinking we would charge a flat fee based on box size. So if you order a bunch of small household items, and they fit into a small box, it would be a small fee. 

So, what are your thoughts? If something like this was available would it be of interest? 

Many thanks!


Quote
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2574
May 19, 2020 5:20 pm  

Its hard to determine how your concept would work from the description. Stores like Target and Best Buy don't black list freight forwarders because they don't want to sell to people in the VI or PR. They black list freight forwarders because they often have agreements in place with their suppliers that prohibit them from actively trading outside of the contiguous US. Many manufacturers consider the VI and PR as part of the Latin American or South American region, not the US. They have distributors in place to cover our area although we may never know about them.

As a frequent online shopper, I will say that I'm not loyal to any retailer and don't really care where the item I want comes from. After living here for 15 years, getting what I want has become almost a game to me. I almost enjoy the chase more than the catch! It very rare that I can't get what I want one way or the other. I think most of us who live here are much the same. There are several "reshippers" that can be used to forward purchases from any US retailer. The most recent I've used is https://www.reship.com/ which was great.

Keep us posted on your concept...I'll try anything once!! 

This post was modified 6 months ago by vicanuck

ReplyQuote
Stxdreaming1
(@stxdreaming1)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 43
May 20, 2020 2:21 pm  

@vicanuck

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I wasn't clear in the description. See if the below helps;

Say you had one online store, something like Google Shopping. You put all the items you want from the various stores into one shopping cart. You pay. A few days later, maybe a week later, everything arrives on St Croix. Simple and easy. Yes, there are companies that you can send items to and they charge rates that are so high, it almost makes it not worth it. My solution is to combine all the orders to make the shipment much more cost-effective for everyone. Does that make sense?

I have a lot of logistics to work out, and this idea is simply at the concept stage. However, it is the demand that I am trying to to get a feel for. If there will only be one shipment worth of stuff a month, then it is not viable. If there is a container worth of stuff coming down once a week, then maybe. 

 


ReplyQuote
stxdreaming
(@stxdreaming)
Advanced Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 65
May 21, 2020 10:14 am  

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I wasn't clear in the description. See if the below helps;

Say you had one online store, something like Google Shopping. You put all the items you want from the various stores into one shopping cart. You pay. A few days later, maybe a week later, everything arrives on St Croix. Simple and easy. Yes, there are companies that you can send items to and they charge rates that are so high, it almost makes it not worth it. My solution is to combine all the orders to make the shipment much more cost-effective for everyone. Does that make sense?

I have a lot of logistics to work out, and this idea is simply at the concept stage. However, it is the demand that I am trying to to get a feel for. If there will only be one shipment worth of stuff a month, then it is not viable. If there is a container worth of stuff coming down once a week, then maybe. 


ReplyQuote
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2574
May 21, 2020 10:54 am  
Posted by: @stxdreaming1

@vicanuck

Thanks for the reply. Sorry I wasn't clear in the description. See if the below helps. 

That could work! I'd give it a try.


ReplyQuote
stxdreaming
(@stxdreaming)
Advanced Member
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 65
May 21, 2020 12:39 pm  

Thats positive.

 

Anyone else have any thoughts?


ReplyQuote
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 906
May 22, 2020 3:20 am  

A large part of my job for our company is logistics.  It can be extremely frustrating at times.  To me, it seems like if you were going to give this a go you would also want to expand on your services a bit to help make it more worth your while.  People ship things here every day directly through ocean freighter companies and they still need to get their shipments cleared.  For me, I hire someone because it is actually cheaper for our clients to pay a broker than it is to pay me to handle it.  So you may want to look into that as well.  If you are already dealing with the clearing of your own container, you are already going to be at customs anyhow so you may as well clear as many other shipments as you can and make a few extra bucks.  You also are going to have to find a good consolidator/logistics company in the states to handle the receiving, recording, and loading of your containers unless you want to rely on the ocean freight company to handle it.  And none of it comes cheap.  I have a rack or container coming in almost every week and the ocean freight cost to STJ for 20' is $3,200 - $3,600.  And now that I think about it.... you may want to even look into buying refurbished containers and selling them once they arrive.  That helps cover the ocean freight costs for us a lot of the time.


Alana33 liked
ReplyQuote
Stxdreaming1
(@stxdreaming1)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 43
May 24, 2020 12:58 pm  

@stjohnjulie

 

Was going to do this. Sound advice!!! Appreciate it. 

 

What I keep going back and forth with is the demand. You can have the best system in place for people to order, simple and easy. But will there be a demand? Are people on the island happy with what is currently available? Guess you don't know unless you try it?


ReplyQuote
Betsyshaffer
(@Betsyshaffer)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 31
May 24, 2020 1:04 pm  

@stxdreaming1 I think a lot of people would use the service. Especially those building or keeping a condo up to date. 


ReplyQuote
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 504
May 24, 2020 1:10 pm  

Here's my $.02 - Everybody is always looking for a way to get better quality items from vendors on the US mainland at a fair and reasonable price.  The problem that, regardless of the method used, shipping costs tend to add a significant dollar amount to the overall cost of a lot of items making them no longer worth what you end up paying.  That coupled with the delay in waiting for the items your want and/or need to be delivered adds to feeling that after a couple of "tries" it just doesn't seem worth the hassle.

If you can solve those two issues demand for your service will probably be there. 


Alana33 liked
ReplyQuote
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2402
May 24, 2020 7:04 pm  

If they ship to my PO Box I am fine with ordering things from Stateside suppliers. In an emergency need I have them ship to a family member and then it gets mailed but that is rarely the plan. If I did not have to clear Customs, Pay excise tax and go to numerous places to just buy something and get it here I would probably start lokking at that as an option. Is that demand?


ReplyQuote
jaldeborgh
(@jaldeborgh)
Advanced Member
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 326
May 24, 2020 9:20 pm  
Posted by: @stxdreaming1

@stjohnjulie

 

Was going to do this. Sound advice!!! Appreciate it. 

 

What I keep going back and forth with is the demand. You can have the best system in place for people to order, simple and easy. But will there be a demand? Are people on the island happy with what is currently available? Guess you don't know unless you try it?

There is little doubt of demand, if the system is easy to use, efficient and dependable.  There are so many people in the USVI’s that are hugely frustrated that there is no dependable way of accessing the power of internet shopping.  If you could enable that, the world will beat a path to your door.  The key is making it simple, efficient and dependable.  Best of luck.


ReplyQuote
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 906
May 25, 2020 4:46 am  

For me, I think I would only be interested if I knew there were weekly shipments coming.  So to start, I would probably be buying the containers and selling them once they arrived.  It always seems like there is someone looking for a nice container at a reasonable price.  On St. John, our St. John Hardware has a weekly container arriving and you can ship something through them.  They charge a minimum of $75 and whatever customs charges are.  It isn't cheap, but when I need something relatively fast I use them and they deal with clearing as well.  The thing is, not a lot of people know that they will do this.... so I think that marketing and branding yourself strong from the start would help you get your business off the ground a little more quickly.  


ReplyQuote
STTsailor
(@STTsailor)
Trusted Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 632
May 26, 2020 11:25 am  

So you will make shopping more convenient but how can you make cheaper, faster then freight forwarding and still make a profit? 

For now pretty much everything can be shipped to freight forwarder in FL. Freighters already provide logistics and service is reasonably satisfactory and priced reasonably. 

There maybe an opportunity in opening Amazon/Walmart affiliate agency for VI with exclusive brokerage rights. 

This way Amazon/Walmart would be ordered through your portal and ship all VI orders to your warehouse here whereupon your customers would pick them up from your warehouse. 

let’s say you would mark up prices by 8%
plus shipping and make this very convenient you could start braking even when moving $10M worth of goods annually. Let’s assume 25000 active shoppers spending $500 annually and you are breaking even  

 

of course the moment you start making profit the local government will find a way to make your life miserable and unprofitable one way or the other. And then we have a hurricane season.  

 


ReplyQuote
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2402
May 26, 2020 7:18 pm  

Far more likely -- if you make it easier, cheaper and reliable -- to have 500 active personal shoppers and commercial accounts spending $25,000 annually.

25,000 shoppers here is 1 in 4 residents --unlikely!


ReplyQuote
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2574
May 27, 2020 7:59 am  

Paradise Freight and STT Cargo now offer local delivery.


ReplyQuote
Stxdreaming1
(@stxdreaming1)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 months ago
Posts: 43
May 27, 2020 12:49 pm  

Some good points raised...I'll try and respond to all below;

1 - Deliver to a PO Box address. Good idea but I need to explore and see if the Post Office would allow that. 

2 - Weekly shipments. To be honest, if the demand was there you could have daily shipments. And in a perfect would you could fly the stuff down daily...but now you're talking significant start-up costs. 

3 - Freight Forwarder - This is a different business model, and now we are seeing some stores refuse to deliver to them. 

4 - 25,000 shoppers. Also think that is a high number. Would be great, but I suspect you might only have 2000/4000 active shoppers. 

Great info and input. Am grateful for everyone's time. 

 


ReplyQuote
Close Menu