Originally Posted by stevepra
I see a couple of problems for you:
1. I think most vendors will not want to update your site with current inventory. So, you would have to pull that data automatically somehow.
2. Why would a customer do this:
A. Go to your site.
B. Link to the vendor's site to read the specs.
C. Go back to your site to purchase.
Once you link them to the vendor's site, I assume a lot of them will just buy from the vendor.
3. Related to #1. How you send that info to each vendor may be different. So, you may have to work with them to define a bunch of different ways to communicate with the vendors. This can be time-consuming and expensive.
It sounds like you basically want to build an affiliate site, but you want to do it in a much more complicated way. Have you considered trying to work out affiliate deals instead?
1. The data is not online. Most of the vendors are still using some archaic form of tracking inventory, either a log book or an excel file, etc. That being said, they are already having to track inventory manually. That's why I was wondering if I could buy/develop some easy to use software that would help them easily track inventory and also automatically update my site. Basically, instead of manually inputting amount available into they're records and also having to input the data into my site, they would just use the software for their own records while it automatically updates my site.
2. The customer would use this site for several reasons:
A. The vendors do not sell the product on their website. Customers are forced to purchase the product over the phone or at the vendors place of business during regular business hours.
B. The business model allows for lower prices than the vendor themselves charge. Again, think orbitz, expedia, etc.
C. Overall, even during regular business hours, the site makes booking/purchase much more convenient for the consumer. It brings the vendors together and allows easier price comparison, easier purchase, etc.
3. Regarding the automation of purchase info back to the vendor. If we're talking MVP features, I would think an email would work. Ideally, they have adopted the software I bought/built to do their own record keeping, then the purchase info is directed back to the vendor's software just like the inventory info was automatically updated on the site using the software.