Comparing Gear4Covid to other Online Marketplaces
Given below is a discussion about comparing Gear4Covid to other online marketplaces:
1. “Why would Gear4Covid be better than the numerous other marketplace websites? What benefit does being PPE specific deliver, when it is easy to search for PPE on e.g. amazon?”
a) Gear4Covid is online platform that will include a distributed management and control system, which is designed to work with social distancing rules in place This includes allowing our staff to work from home and enabling our suppliers to receive and fulfill orders online.
b) Our system can enable many thousands of very small to large producers of PPE to sell their products to people who need it. For example, our system could accelerate the process of enabling millions of Canadians to obtain non-medical face masks made by many thousands of Canadians with sewing machines so these buyers can wear them when taking public transit and going shopping.
(Note: The federal government is already requiring that people who take the train should were a face mask. If this rule is expanded to anyone taking public transit or going to a busy public place such as a grocery store, this will require millions of Canadians to obtain masks quickly.)
c) Using Gear4Covid, customers can communicate with a customer service agent about their problems and needs. This will enable small PPE producers to focus on production and not have to deal with customer service.
d) Producers of PPE that fulfill many orders will have direct access to our “orders administration” panel. Our system will calculate the cost of shipping and generate a shipping label complete with tracking number. The shipper only needs to print this label, affix it to the shipping box and ship the associated product or products.
e) Small producers of PPE that may only have one or two orders a day would receive an email from our customer service person that would include a shipping label with barcode that they can just print. Then they would affix it to the shipping box and ship the associated product or products.
f) Some of our customer service people working from home would be be able to receive bulk orders of PPE items and parse them into smaller shipments based on customer demand. For example, we could send on one of our customer service people 10,000 face masks that could then placed in smaller boxes as smaller orders come in and then ship these orders out from his or her place.
g) Since we plan to also help people in developing countries, we some of our customer service agents could be graduates of international development programs. After they are fluent with our business processes, they could help us to expand and train people in selected developing countries. In addition, they could use the grant writing skills to help apply for funding for medical offices and long-term care facilities to purchase PPE in these countries.
2) Can larger online marketplace such as Amazon obtain significant price discounts from suppliers and sell at lower prices than Gear4Covid?
a) It is possible that large online platforms can but so far, we have not found this to be the case. For example, one importer has offered to sell us 300,000 face masks per week at the same price they would sell 2,000 masks per week.
b) When it makes business sense, we plan to sell through Amazon. For example, we understand Amazon will facilitate sales of PPE to medical facilities and government organizations at no charge. See:
Amazon Waives Seller Fee in Hunt for Urgent Supplies, April 3, 2020
“As part of our continued response to COVID-19, Amazon is prioritizing the supply of key medical supplies to hospitals and government organizations.
“You may have offers on one or more products (ASINs) that will now be available exclusively to hospitals and government organizations, which are in urgent need of high-demand medical products like N95 masks, surgical masks, facial shields, surgical gowns, surgical gloves, and large-volume sanitizers. Select ASINs of these product types will no longer be available to the broader public on Amazon.com and AmazonBusiness.com.
“For ASINs subject to this change, we have eliminated our standard referral fees through June 30, 2020, to encourage our selling partners to make additional inventory of these products available at competitive prices to these customers with the greatest need.”
If this is correct, we will use amazon to sell PPE to the medical facilities and government organizations
c) The Shopify administration panel for Gear4Covid already enables use to sell through Amazon. Therefore, will expect it will be easy for us to sell through Amazon. We are in the process of testing this out.
3) Will our planned donor facilitating function of Gear4Covid be a distinguishing feature this online marketplace compared with eCommerce sites such as Amazon?
a) Yes, we plan to really use this feature and encourage our supplier to gift some of their product to vulnerable segments of society such as elderly care facilities.
b) We plan to enabling the “Gifting of PPE”… To enable and facilitate the gifting of PPE to medical, assisted living, and/or nursing home facilities, a special section on the website would be provided to enable customers to order and pay for PPE for a selected facility. If welcomed by these facilities, a “gift registry” would also created to enable customers to learn what supplies are desired by these facilities. Once a customer decided on what they wanted to donate to the facility, they could then use this registry to quickly order and pay for these items they wanted to donate.
4) Is there a difference between how Gear4Covid buys and sells PPE compared to large online marketplaces like Amazon?
a) Yes. Our online marketplace is focused on PPE, provides responsive customer service and can operate with social distancing rules in place. As we expand to other countries in the world, our marketplace can help accelerate the production of PPE in these countries and efficiently facilitate the sale of it to the people who need it.