Author Archives: rickmarlette

Right Swipe

Bored Woman Swiping Men Profiles on Dating App Website

Look, I get it, change is tough, but we only have two choices: Embrace it and move forward or give up and fall into decline. I’m not a quitter, and I don’t think you are either. Sometimes we just need someone or something to kick us in the ass and get us moving in the right direction.

My wife Jill died last year after a 5-year struggle with cancer. It was devastating. We did everything together. We sat within touching distance of each other at work for almost a decade, and not once were the cops called. We truly were the epitome of soulmates.

Last summer, my daughters invited me to spend a long weekend with them in a mountain cabin. Spending that weekend talking to them, in that secluded environment, and in this new phase of my life, was an eye-opening experience. I realized that I had been completely oblivious to how much things had changed when both of my daughters insisted, I start dating again. What does dating have to do with anything? Let me explain.

If you’ve never seen one of the more popular dating apps called Tinder, prepare yourself. It’s a mind-numbing, lightning-paced, wooden rollercoaster experience. I guarantee you’ve seen someone using Tinder, you just didn’t realize that was what they were doing.

In one second or less, you’ve been swiped-left and tossed in the dorky loser pile. A girl will go through over 100 guys in just a few minutes looking for that one, that one guy, who gets the prized swipe right. It’s super-fast paced, instant decisions, with no second shots. No one gets resurrected from the dorky loser pile.

So, I asked my daughters “is this the way your generation does everything?” “Of course, dad.” Now, both of my daughters are adults. One owns her own business and the other is a schoolteacher. Both shops online for personal and business.

My next question was “would you buy from a company with a click-here-to-shop link?” In unison, they yell “Left!” Alright then, “would you buy from a website that said login for price?” Again, “Left!” “How about not mobile…” Didn’t even let me finish, “Left!” I was going to say, “not mobile friendly.”

Instant decisions, no second chances, in the dorky loser pile, never to be seen again.

I hate to tell some of you, but Doris and Otis have retired. They’ve been replaced by Jaden and Katlin. You must provide the experience this generation demands. That means top-of-the-line website, mobile responsive, open-site and competitively priced. Scrimping and cutting corners here will cost you, not save you money.

So, let’s speak honestly about reality as my daughters did for me. You think “I don’t want that fickle internet shopper; I only sell to businesses.” Reality is, she is a young, up and coming, business owner in your area. She spends thousands of dollars a month on supplies. She woke up pissed off at her current supplier and knows she can do better. She picked up her smart phone and started looking for a better boyfriend. Guess what happened next?

It’s either one of two things, all too often, for most independents. She couldn’t even find you, or your site was so poorly designed and implemented, she couldn’t figure out how to do business with you. You have no idea how many times, after telling people what I do for a living, I hear “I would do business with a local independent, if I could find one.” This is killing independents at a crucial time in history.

Not caring is the easiest thing you can do. You can sit in your comfy chair binge watching Netflix, convincing yourself that it’s too much trouble. Sure, I used to chase after that girl, when I was young, but now I’m old. It’s a lot of work. I’m not sure what to do. I’m afraid of being a dorky loser. And that’s when my grown daughters said, “quit your whiney-ass bitching, and man-up.” “Sure, it will be scary, sure you will make mistakes, but it’s the only way you’re going to learn.” “We need you not to give up.”

I guarantee there are people in your life, right now, that need you not to give up either. “I” need you not to give up. We’re not the dorky losers. We’re just sometimes oblivious to what’s happening all around us. If an old fart that was married for 30 years can overcome his fear of dating again (it was truly terrifying), then you can get over your fear of change and make those right-swipes happen.

NOPA Amazon Data Feed

File Specifications

The file format is CSV (comma separated values). These files can easily be imported into Excel or other applications.

Two files are provided, one for Essendant first-call dealers and one for SP Richards first-call dealers.

It is important to choose the appropriate file for your dealership.

All prices are converted to the selected wholesaler unit of measure. There is no need to perform any additional price conversions or calculations.

Data Columns

The following data columns are provided in the file:

Prefix: Your selected wholesaler’s prefix
Number: Your selected wholesaler’s item number with no special characters
UM: Your selected wholesaler’s unit of measure
List Price: Your selected wholesaler’s list price
Amazon ASIN: Amazon Standard Identification Number
Amazon Price: Lowest seller price for the item
UM Diff: Is there a unit of measure difference between Amazon and your wholesaler
Prime: Is the item available for Amazon Prime
Prime Price: Lowest prime sell price for the item
Verified Date: The date the price was verified
Amazon URL: URL directly to the item on the Amazon site

Item Selection

The wholesaler items selected for inclusion in the file are our “A” list of items. This “A” list is the top items as determined by activity on the OPSoftware websites. There are over 400 current and active independent dealers utilizing these sites.

The list is subject to change monthly as activity changes. The “A” list typically ranges between 1500 and 2000 items depending on activity and the wholesaler selected.

How We Match Items

The exact same item can be found on the Amazon site several times, if not dozens of times, under different and unique Amazon Standard Identification Numbers, or ASINs. Just go to the Amazon site and enter AVE5160 and you’ll get two Prime versions of this item plus many more unique ASIN listings for this item.

We choose from this clutter what we think an informed consumer would choose. The following considerations go into our matching process:

  • Prime Items
  • Lowest Price
  • Free Shipping
  • Number of Reviews
  • Number of Sellers

In addition, we also make sure the manufacturer is the same, the unit of measure is the same (or as close as possible), and the item is available and in stock for delivery.

As with any such endeavor, this is a subjective process and relies on the industry knowledge of the person making the matches. All of these matches were verified by someone with over 40 years of experience in the office products industry.

Update Schedule

The data is currently refreshed three times a week. You can expect new versions of the files to be posted on the following days and times:

Monday, 12:00 Noon, Eastern Time
Wednesday, 12:00 Noon, Eastern Time
Friday, 12:00 Noon, Eastern Time

Sometimes there are delays due to changes on the Amazon site and these times cannot be guaranteed. Delays are typically minimal, but can occur unexpectedly. Look in the file at the “Verified Date” column to confirm the latest data feed.

Reporting Issues

You can report general issues and individual item issues by filling out the NOPA Amazon Data Feed Issue Report located at the following URL:

https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=6YEXioazKUaJjncu9-u-pNwbMj-xJhhOpTaiJMox9zNUMjlPWFY0VjNTUlgwWU9QQjVXUE1aQ0xQUC4u

Additional Resources

If you need more data, or have additional needs, please contact sales@opsoftware.com. We can provide independent dealers with complete lists of all your wholesaler items matched to and pricing for:

  • Amazon
  • Staples
  • Office Depot
  • Quill
  • Costco
  • Sam’s Club
  • Walmart
  • Grainger
  • And more

We also have interfaces to all popular back-end computer systems allowing you to create match-or-beat contract pricing for your entire website or individual customers.

 

NOPA Teams with Rick Marlette

Is Amazon after your business?

Now you can fight back educating your customers with hard facts about Amazon pricing.

US Communities has signed a contract with Amazon Business to allow local government agencies, schools and others to buy on the Amazon Business Marketplace. Incredibly, there is no special pricing for this contract. The agency is simply allowed to buy on Amazon Business at the same price anyone else pays.

Amazon recently announced they would be raising the prices on low-dollar items to cover the costs of “free” shipping. Amazon is already very high on many common office supply items and this move will make many more office supply items even higher.

The opportunity to inform and educate your customers and potential customers with the facts has never been greater. It’s time for independents to be proactive, even if you don’t perceive Amazon as a current threat to your business.

This is why NOPA has teamed with Rick Marlette of OPSoftware to provide NOPA members with an Amazon Pricing Data Feed, updated three times a week. This data is downloadable from the NOPA website and is not temporary or a promotion. Our intent is to maintain this data feed for as long as possible.

You are encouraged to use this data to show customers how independents are cheaper on many, if not most, of these roughly 2000 top selling items.

  • Post it on your own website – Our Price – Amazon Price (w/date verified)
  • Cherry-pick items you look good on and promote, promote, promote! It’s what Staples does!
  • Use the data in your marketing materials
  • Construct your own timeline of wild price fluctuations
  • Use it to create a match-or-beat contract in your back-end system.

Be creative, and be sure to let us know if you come up with great ideas on how to use the data so we can share with others. There are no limits or restrictions imposed on what you can do with this data.

All the pricing is factored to your primary wholesaler unit of measure with full URL’s to the Amazon item.

Essendant Amazon Data

S.P. Richards Amazon Data