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Some Autograph Dealers Don't Own Any Autographs

Posted 3/15/2011 18:50 | Filed under General | Comments (0)
Read the title again -- it's not a mistake. Some autograph dealers own no autographs. How so? One of the dirty little secrets of e-commerce is that some retail companies rely almost exclusively on wholesale companies that are willing to "drop ship" products to the end customers.

In the wacky autograph business, "wholesale" is a relative and sometimes meaningless term. Prices can vary wildly on the same or very similar autographed items, depending on how, when and where the autographs were obtained.

Some of our competitors simply establish wholesale accounts with one or more of these companies, upload products from their catalogs and add a percentage markup that serves as their profit margin. If you see a really stupid looking price like $56.43, you can bet that some intern or temp at one of these companies typed in a wholesale price into a spreadsheet and that was the price after the markup. You can also bet that if you order the product, the company will try to place the order with the wholesale company, and as long as it's not sold out or the price hasn't increased, will ship it to you . . . eventually. doesn't drop ship except for 1) display cases, 2) custom or special orders, or 3) in emergency situations where there was an inventory mix-up or the product was found to be defective or damaged. Many years ago, I did drop ship a small percentage of products, but found that the negatives outweighed the positives. Too often the product had sold out without notice and the customer was disappointed. Or the wholesale price had increased without notice, erasing most or all of my profit. Or the drop ship company screwed up the shipping and I had to clean up the mess. Or the drop ship company's actual product didn't match the quality of the image they provided.

So I put an end to drop shipping autographs. I'd rather provide better and more consistent customer service than sell a few more products here and there. If you order any autographed item from, it will be shipped from here directly to you. If you have a question about any autographed product, call or e-mail and I will personally answer your question, even if I have to dig it out of inventory. Try getting that kind of personal attention from one of our drop shipping competitors.
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