We English are a nation of shopkeepers. Napoleon said so.
As just such a shopkeeper, I have to say that I do love my work. I get up early every morning to check how sales went overnight. How many customers came in? What did they buy? Did they ask for anything that I havenít got in stock? I then check money Ďtakeí to confirm whatís selling well and whatís not. My shop, by way, is a Ď24/7í Internet enterprise.
My next joys are to replenish shelves of my shop with fresh products and remove any old stock. This isnít a manual labour of love though. Itís just a matter of visiting several wholesalers on Ďnet (the affiliate network sites) and ordering stock. These sites offer shopkeepers like me a growing number of RSS product feeds.
I simply select merchants I want to do business with and products I want to stock. The degree of product selection available to me depends on way RSS feeds have been set-up. Sometimes, I must take every product a merchant offers me (or none at all); often I can take a group of products from various merchants; usually, I can opt for a specific product with high value to my customers.
Having made my selections (of merchant and product), I download RSS feeds. This is an elegant process, whereby software checks to see if I already have ordered products in stock at desired levels, fills my shelves if I havenít, and removes any stock thatís past its Ďsell-byí date. There are no delivery drivers to monitor; no pallet trucks to push; no returns documentation to fill in. Whatís more, my merchants do most of merchandising for me: offering me up-to-date photographs, product descriptions, prices and so on, as part of their feeds.
Within an hour, Iíve re-stocked my shop with fresh, desirable produce. Of course, thatís not end of my joy. Oh no, rest of my day is spent in gleeful bookkeeping, marketing and so on; kind of pleasures undertaken elsewhere in retail management. Thankfully, my wholesalers do much of data management for me, which makes bookkeeping easier. The suppliers meanwhile send me special offers by email, which is akin to entertaining sales reps. in real world shopping, I suppose.
Iíve just painted a very rosy picture of modern English shopkeeper. It sounds like an idyllic way to earn a living. Yet, being an English shopkeeper largely reliant on RSS feeds does have its frustrations.