Branding is a very important part of a company’s marketing efforts. As companies grow, oftentimes “swag” or promotional products are used to further brand awareness via both customers and employees. Depending upon the size of your organization and the amount of items that you wish to offer, managing the ordering process as well as the fulfillment process can take up a great amount of time. Even if your company is smaller in size, you may not have idle staff time to devote to these tasks. For these reasons, many companies opt to outsource the entire process – from ordering of promotional items to the creation and execution of an ordering and fulfillment platform.
What Are My Options for Ordering Promotional Items?
There are a couple of options for ordering promotional products. Of course, we’re going to assume with your limited time or staff that sourcing items on your own isn’t an option. First, you can find a promotional products company. They specialize in procuring swag items and can have your company logo imprinted on them. Because they specialize in this business, they can get the job done well and they will likely be able to get you some of the best rates. Second, there are some fulfillment companies that also offer promotional items services. Usually, these companies either have their own promotional products division or they create a partnership with promotional products company. There are a couple of things to consider when using a fulfillment company that has promotional products capabilities:
- Make sure that the company is good at both services. Oftentimes, fulfillment companies are great at fulfillment and then might not be quite as good at helping with promotional products – so just be on the lookout for great service in both areas.
- Be aware that a fulfillment company will most likely not be the cheapest option. Oftentimes, they will mark up their costs so that they can earn a profit – which may end up costing more than if you went direct to the promotional products company. This isn’t always the case, but it does happen quite frequently.
My Swag is Ready to be Shipped to Customers…Now What?
Once you have your promotional items imprinted and ready to ship, then you’ll be ready to get it into the hands of your customers and employees. For many companies, offering an online web store where either customers or employees can order is the best option. Many promotional products companies and fulfillment providers can help you with building a web store for ordering. And sometimes promotional products companies will offer to ship your product for you to customers and employees. Be careful, however, when making the decision on fulfillment and distribution. Here are a few factors to consider:
- Promotional products companies may not have the best infrastructure to perform near flawless order fulfillment, especially as your needs grow or change.
- Consider using a third party web store or shopping cart solution so that you’re provider agnostic if ever you decide to change vendors.
On occasion, the best solution is to use an ‘all-in-one’ provider. However, avoid the urge to jump right in with both feet – do your due diligence. While it might be a good situation, separating these two distinct functions has a number of advantages and may be more cost effective in the end.