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TWF In 2014

Discussion in 'Forum Support & Feedback' started by Jed, Dec 29, 2013.

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  1. Volantary

    Volantary

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    I'd like to start off by saying I appreciate some actual contact from someone other than Erik; I don't think you should've put him in the position where he ended up being the spokesperson for whatever entity is making the decisions though as the poor guy clearly doesn't have much more information than we do, yet cares enough to try and at least say something. However...

    I'm not sure where you got that information from but I'd wager there are almost literally no satisfied TWF users. There is nothing positive about this situation for anyone involved; sellers got shafted by not being allowed to advertise or having their advertisements pushed down by the automated SS posts and the buyers therefore have no-one to buy from. Pete, thanks to the reputation he built, is still getting referrals when randomers come from the internet seeking a dropshipper, aside from that no-one is making money from TWF any more and the place is empty (which makes those who only come on recreationally dissatisfied). Those automated threads are getting 40-70 views looking at a few pages back in "new posts", so I'd question whether it's even worth it for SS.

    This paragraph worries me greatly. There should be far more urgency than "well, I guess if you're saying there's something wrong we should have a look, but we don't really want to" which is what that paragraph boils down to. We have been making these points clear before the SS merger even happened, if you're still at the point where you're not 100% sure there's a problem you need to start actually reading what's posted.

    To say you have listened in the past is not the whole truth by a long way. As we said before and just after the merger/advertising membership changes (and I'm going to go and find that thread after I've finished this to back this claim up) we explained that exactly this would happen. That happened many, many months ago. Yet nothing has changed at all; rather than quickly looking at the whole concept when things went south, your focus on what are honestly small details like fees. The larger issues: the platform not being suitable for TWF sellers, the lack of a human or even corporate presence on SS, the fact that non-VAT registered users can't use the platform effectively at all and the automated threads wrecking the forum have been completely ignored. Look at TWF's traffic figures compared to this time a year ago and then tell me if reducing the buyer fee has mitigated the damage done.

    I truly don't believe you think TWF is a valuable resource, nothing your company has done has benefited this site for the reasons stated above. What it seems like to me is you've introduced a huge amount of corporate bureaucracy and ideas-men to a system that simply can't be run in that way. You can get away with that sort of thing if you're running Tesco where you can take ages to decide to change the price of a banana and see if it sells well, if it doesn't the customers have other things to buy and you can sit and think whether to change it back. On a forum, there are no bananas, it's entirely human based and if you do something that upsets people, then show complete apathy for what you've done, you simply won't have a forum any more, and no amount of "well we're having a meeting in a month" will change that. Running a forum and running SS are two very different management styles, maybe you should keep the bureaucracy out of it and let Anthony run the forum the way it was because he seemed to understand this concept.

    Firstly, why did no-one click that building a wholesale platform called stockshifters is lunacy? That's like opening a fresh fruit and veg cart and calling it "leftovers." The people who come for cheap stuff won't buy and the people who actually want the quality, expensive stuff won't go near it because it has the wrong name. For the same reason I don't go to PC World to buy curtains.

    Is a name change on the cards out of interest? Maybe you'd get more out of your alliance by calling it The Wholesale Platform or something like that and using a similar logo to TWF.


    Again, there are not a diverse range of wholesalers and retailers on TWF. There were never retailers (this is a wholesale forum... not sure where you got that from!). The only people left doing transactions through TWF are sourcing agents, because it's quite easy to at least generate interest from randomers who visit looking to buy from China by responding directly to their posts. The services providers and physical goods sellers can no longer conduct any business because they simply can't get any exposure.

    Please stop discussing types of products, that is completely missing the point! Again, types of products is a small detail in the scheme of things, to sort that all you have to do is add new sections to the site.

    What I think is clear from that last paragraph is you don't know what TWF was like before the merger. The reason the forum was successful was almost exclusively through small sellers. The biggest we had were a clothing wholesaler and Pete, and even Pete started as a small seller. This is why I have no idea where you got the idea that there was a diverse range of sellers on TWF that made it difficult for you to cater for all of them. There wasn't, there was one kind of seller! What the merger did was take a system designed specifically for big sellers, impose it on small sellers whom it didn't work for, and now you're presenting it as "well we couldn't cater for everyone." You didn't have to, you had to cater for a very specific type of seller!

    I really don't mean to jump on the "lets bash stockshifters" bandwagon but all this beggars belief. To have silence for months, then a CEO appearing and giving nothingy and dismissive answers (albeit focusing on product types! which misses the point) isn't good at all.

    The solution is simple, put it back to how it was and decide a less intrusive way to monetise TWF for the benefit of SS. I don't begrudge the merger as a concept at all, if it benefits both companies I'm all for it. But it isn't, and I have a personal (previously financial, now sadly just emotional) interest in TWF and it's staff. These problems have been pointed out to you for a massive period of time but you seem unwilling to acknowledge or care.
    TheDevil, Dave, SimonN and 3 others like this.
  2. Volantary

    Volantary

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    Well that got long!

    tl;dr: Wishy-washy answers are inadequate, the powers that be are skipping over huge issues to focus on small ones, from Helen's answers it's clear SS are pandering to the wrong target market. And the name is incorrect, if 70% of transactions are not shifting stock it's silly that it's still called StockShifters!

    Just to be clear, whenever the above post said "you" it meant the management as a whole, I'm sure you personally weren't responsible for everything! Interestingly, I have no idea who the management at Recoverex are, yet they seem to be having a huge influence on both companies...
  3. planner

    planner

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    Is that Erik, Mods, Andy777, Anthony? I think the phrase horse has bolted & someone shut the gate behind it comes too mind.
  4. Gary

    Gary

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    Alex, not meaning to jump on your response but it seems that a couple of points may have been misunderstood, Helen has mentioned that non VAT registered sellers can sell under the auctioneers scheme (although agreed, many simply did not know that), she also mentioned products in response to Dave Casuals and was not the one to bring it up, but to make changes, even bigger ones, the smaller details need to be looked at, and I personally took "I think that there is a diverse range of groups of wholesalers and retailers on TWF" as in a diversity of stock being offered to be the wholesalers, and the diversity of stock being sought as the retailers (at least that's how I took it).

    Not taking sides mate and as you know I have also made a few suggestions myself, just saying how I understood it.
  5. planner

    planner

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    Hi Helen,

    when Anthony jumped ships to join SS this forum was left with people like Erik, Lace, Gary, Andy777 & other Mods. Anthony did make a few guest appearances but that was it.

    If there is one thing I can take away from TWF its this "communication" When dealing with people see how they respond to emails telephone calls etc.

    The communication to the members on this forum has been disgusting. ( Not aimed at Erik, Lace, Gary, Andy777 & other Mods ) Members have been screaming for answers. Then on 09/01/14 you pop on Helen & reply to a thread. Why was the thread started because they want answers.

    As a few others have said, there are other forums.
    Dave likes this.
  6. Gary Ashe

    Gary Ashe

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    non VAT registered sellers can sell under the auctioneers scheme

    anyone got a link to this info please.
  7. Volantary

    Volantary

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    Please do jump on the response, I'd rather it be factually correct and clear!

    Until two hours ago I had no idea a thing called "auctioneer's scheme" even existed. In fact I brought this up in one of the threads last year, I think it was even the one where it was announced that things were being made better for non-VAT registered sellers. I was certainly not alone in asking apart from childrens' clothes sellers, what had changed? Again, I'll dig up the thread at some point. This was a long time ago, to take a thread like this to bring it to the fore highlights the disconnection between what SS expect of TWF members and what members expect of SS that I highlighted in the post before. To be honest it all sounds a bit shady anyway, Helen mentioned it essentially being a loophole and she'll check with HMRC if we don't believe it to be valid? I'd definitely like some more information on that.

    My point about product categories was supposed to be more general than that, I was basically saying there is no point discussing details when the fundamentals don't work. You're absolutely correct, the details do need to be right, but if we had a platform that was generally suitable with small details to work on we'd be in a much better situation than talking about details belonging to a system that doesn't work. Kinda like deciding what colour to paint the house before you've laid the bricks.

    I guess you could interpret that sentence that way, I took it literally which probably isn't the way to take these PR style responses! But even so, there really wasn't a diverse range! There were electronics, games and clothing, that was mainly it. But having re-read the sentence, she goes on to talk about VAT registered sellers vs non VAT registered sellers so I think my interpretation was correct.
  8. Volantary

    Volantary

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    I'd like to link this post http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...ith-stockshifters.170147/page-12#post-1203024

    From this thread (the whole thing is worth a read, note I also use the word "lunacy" in one of the first posts! apparently I like that word...)

    http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk...date-on-our-merger-with-stockshifters.170147/

    Still need to find the one that was posted before the merger though
  9. Gary

    Gary

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    I had heard of it but didn't know what it was fully, or that it was on SS, or that it gave non VAT registered sellers free range until Helen mentioned this earlier (these changes also came in after I last sold on SS), as you know I too was stating about the VAT before the merger several times, like I said here I think it would be a very good idea to make this clearer

    This could be looked at from both angles, because once you know a full picture of what is needed you can then look at what can be done / changed in the system in order to implement it (you being figuratively speaking of course)
  10. Volantary

    Volantary

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    I'm aware that there are two philosophical schools of thought when designing a thing: start with the basics and build on them or start with what you want the dream end result to be and work out how to get there. I think they've tried the latter (the end result being a happy marketplace where everyone makes money) and forgot to evaluate the fundamentals before they went in guns-blazing and changed the system. Which is ironic considering how long a fix is now taking!

    So I think we're both saying the same thing in essence :p It doesn't really matter which one you focus on first, as long as you get both right, which is where things have gone wrong. Personally I think it'd be better to get a basic plan in place that benefits everyone then work on the details like product categories and fee amounts and added systems for people who want to make bespoke things and stuff like that. At the moment we have a system that caters almost exclusively to those who didn't use the TWF marketplace.
    Gary likes this.
  11. Gary

    Gary

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    Seems that way mate :)
  12. Pete

    Pete

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    How many schools of thought on "reboot"?
  13. Nick-D

    Nick-D

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    Its good to see a bit of dialogue between SS and members of TWF.

    I don't understand why the two marketplaces couldn't run together, with SS as the forum sponsor they could funnel buyers and seller over to the SS marketplace.

    SS is ideal for shifting job lots / end of line clearance etc where the seller just wants to sell it and get whatever they can.

    TWF is perfect for sellers wanting to develop a relationship with their customer base and are willing to put in the time to help others on the forum (The sellers that do well on here do so because they are active members, not just sellers)

    Personally I have never sold on either but I miss having a busy forum and I can't see a way of reversing the decline with no marketplace.
    Pete likes this.
  14. Dave Casuals

    Dave Casuals

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    S/S should have its own rolling adverts in it's own market place. Even if (& i say 'if' cautiously) because it will never happen, but if the forum ever went back the way it was, those S/S adverts in the market place will not stop as really thats what this forums is being used for now...to funnel people over to their platform. Unfortunately, unless S/S had it's own area within the forum, I still would not pay to advertise on here, only to have my advert in the market place sitting amongst hundreds of S/S adverts then dissapear within 15 minutes.
    Dave likes this.
  15. Import Expert

    Import Expert

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    I've tried to stay out of this as frankly it hasn't affected me too much, but I would like to just say that unless I'm missing something, there seems to me to be a very obvious solution that would benefit pretty much all involved (Both SS and TWF users).

    Simply revert back to treating registration for the two as separate entities, but give the option of a 'package' registration as you have now.

    If people want to register for SS alone - they can still have their job lots shown on TWF as an added benefit. Regular TWF users who do not have an interest in these can simply block these posts as most have done already. Everyone wins?
    If people want to register for TWF alone - revert back pretty much to how it was. No need to list stock offers through the SS system. Everyone wins?
    If people want to register for both - they have the OPTION of listing stock offers on TWF via SS platform or as they did before direct on TWF. They get a slight reduction in total registration cost for having both. Everyone wins.

    With the scenario above you would simply need a holding company of sorts that both platforms would come under (Recoverex?). Revenue coming in would be the same if not higher. It would suit all modes of trade. You would attract more paying members who might be put off by the high SS fee and the system as it is. 'We' would not moan, so no negativity putting off potential new members for all to see. Would not cost much at all to implement in either time or money. Market the 're-launch' to attract more business. The world would be a happier place.
    Volantary and TheDevil like this.
  16. Gary

    Gary

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    Although this would not be the case, as there wouldn't be as many SS ads if TWF members were back to advertising on TWF, due to the majority of Stockshifters ads being "TWF Advertiser", these would or could revert back to posting on TWF, leaving only staff pics and featured ads from stockshifters, although I agree, this is very unlikely to happen.

    This has been mentioned some time ago sadly mate, Stockshifters do have an option for Stockshifters only (Bronze), they have a package for both as you know (Gold), then they have their platinum package, but if from TWF and wanting to advertise then the first option is gold (to list via Stockshifters and have the bundle), but several people (myself included) have mentioned the p[ossibility of a TWF only option, or even a mini advertising membership which would be like a stepping stone between member and full blown package advertiser (similar to before but maybe with more limitations in some areas but more benefits in others as has been suggested on several occasions (including by myself several times openly and privately). Though again, who knows how likely this or anything like it may be to happen? Seemingly no-one :rolleyes:
  17. Helen

    Helen

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    I think it's good to understand what people thinks the ideal solution is. Everyone obviously feels strongly about this. I know it's frustrating people not having an answer to the plan going forward , but we are going to do adjustments/changes, we just need to make sure we don't make another big change which doesn't answer the fundamental issues, so this thread is good - as seeing where the different places those are. This helps with looking at options, and I've contacted a few people asking to have a call to discuss things in more detail that are specific to them. If anyone else is willing to do this, let me know, always good to talk. And, am always staying involved on this thread and others.

    Specifically to Voluntary, because you have clearly put alot of effort and energy in to writing your thoughts - I can assure you that there was no takeover. It was a merge, and I think the issue in the planning was a mis-perception about what the community needed, rather than not considering their interests. And sorry about the tone in general being perceived as 'PR speak' - genuinely how I write! But, am keeping an eye on it!
  18. planner

    planner

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    I done that as I was sick of sifting through it all.

    Helen, if alot of people disappear from this forum the ads you place will become white elephants. So in fact the money they pay for advertising could be a waste of time. Because as you can see mentioned by Darren, import/export alot of members have done that already.
  19. Gary

    Gary

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    and in doing so most have probably also blocked the TWF advertisers that they are claiming to support (if they have also blocked the "TWF Advertiser" account)

    In seriousness, I haven't blocked any of them, and don't personally believe blocking to be the answer, but instead hopefully working together to find a more rounded solution which caters for a wider spectrum of members (old and new).
  20. planner

    planner

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    Gary, you could be right/wrong we will never know. But the point was iy was like when Andy777 (no offence) use to reply to almost every welcome & other threads. He got slated for it becoming the Andy777 forum.
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