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Niche E-Commerce to $5M: Dan Dillon, CEO of (Part 7)

Posted on Wednesday, Mar 6th 2013

Sramana: Are there other companies similar to yours that you compete with directly?

Dan Dillon: There are a lot of national players who are behind the scenes. An average consumer would not know about them, but they are doing stuff every day with larger accounts. They are calling on steel mills, medical buildings, and hospitals. They are not brand names, but they are national companies and they are the big players in this space. The Staples, Office Maxes and Office Depots of the world are going after the small and medium sized businesses. They are trying to capture the cleaning supply business when those customers are in shopping for office supplies.

Sramana: The bulk of your business is corporate and commercial. Your audience is buying from somebody, right?

Dan Dillon: Absolutely. The vertical that I am in is a very, very competitive vertical. There is enough business out there for everybody. You made a good point earlier. We are just scratching the surface in terms of what is actually out there. I truly believe that as the younger generation becomes more involved in making purchases and take on purchasing roles, comparison shopping and selection shopping will be online. That is where I am hedging my bets.

Sramana: It looks like this is a pure pricing game. There do not seem to be many other ways to differentiate.

Dan Dillon: I don’t necessarily agree. We are growing fast because of trust. The price may be good, but customers are not necessarily sure they can trust the website they are shopping on. What happens when a package gets damaged? Can they get their orders in time? What happens when they are not quite sure about a product because the picture on the website is not what they were expecting it to be? Those folks want to speak with someone. They want professional advice.

If you try to call Amazon or a big national firm to get that information, you will get a headache. Our niche is customer service and trust. That is very, very important to us.

Sramana: So, you compete on price and trust?

Dan Dillon: Absolutely. If you see our website, you will find trust signals all over. We have our phone numbers all over, a live chat available, and there is even a video of me. That lets customers know there are real people behind this company.

Sramana: What are some of the personal obstacles you have faced?

Dan Dillion: Not everybody believes in you when you go to start a business. My own family and wife had a lot of doubts about what I was doing. if you let that negativity get to you, it will slow you down. You have to shelf that and stick to it. I fell down many times. You have to dust yourself off and get back up. No risk, no reward. You have to ignore the naysayers. If you believe, then you will make it happen.

Sramana: Congratulations on your success, and thank you for sharing your story with other entrepreneurs. Best of luck!

This segment is part 7 in the series : Niche E-Commerce to $5M: Dan Dillon, CEO of
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