April 13, 2010, 12:00 AM

Foreign suppliers can provide an edge to retailers who know the ropes

OnlineStores.com’s Kevin Hickey, vice president of marketing, will speak at the Internet Retailer Conference about effective strategies retailers can use to source a wide range of products in international markets.

Zak Stambor

Managing Editor

By sourcing products internationally, retailers can gain access to the best mix and quantities of products, but they first need to learn how to find worthy overseas suppliers and build relationships with them, says Kevin Hickey, vice president, marketing, at OnlineStores.com, a web-only retailer that operates several niche web sites. The retailer’s product mix includes English tea, American flags, workplace safety gear and baby furniture.

Hickey will address how retailers can decide which products they should buy from overseas suppliers and how to find the most appropriate suppliers for those products in foreign markets, in a session entitled Sourcing products: The many options.

“Retailers need to know how to find an overseas supplier they can trust, and how to control quality with product samples,” he says.

Hickey also will discuss other crucial steps in global sourcing, including how to place an initial order and more complicated matters such as whether retailers should visit foreign suppliers and ways to ensure product quality.

Why the editors asked Kevin Hickey to speak:
Kevin Hickey, who founded Online Stores Inc. in 2002 with his wife Lisa, is responsible for overseas product sourcing as well other areas. The company has grown to $24 million revenue in 2009 and it operates a number of niche retail web sites including United-States-Flag.com, EnglishTeaStore.com, Stroller.com, ConstructionGear.com, DiscountSafetyGear.com, DesignerBaby.com and SafetyGirl.com.

Full details about the conference and registration information are available at IRCE2010.com.

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