Printwear

January '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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5 2 P R I N T W E A R J A N U A R Y 2 0 1 9 Just as communication with custom- ers is essential, a clear line of contact with the promo product contracting dynamic needs to be in place. Essential- ly, a shop needs to be as transparent and communicative as the contractor they're working with. One way to ensure they're holding up their end of the dia- logue is by making sure all orders placed with the contractor are as detailed as possible. This includes core specs like measurements and dimensions, as well as other detailed information like in- dustry-recognized color swatches such as Pantone, mandatory delivery dates, and any supplemental weblinks to de- tails on the shop's page that a contractor can reference. Ackerman also suggests avoiding any abbreviations or short- hand, regardless of how familiar they may seem to the shop since there are no guarantees these are recognizable terms. "Make (your orders) so clear and or- ganized so that somebody who doesn't even work at that contracted company will understand what you're saying," he elaborates. Finding the right fit also means keep- ing a few different companies on deck for promotional products services. This is a multi-fold strategy. "For shops just starting out (with promotional prod- ucts), it makes sense to work with mul- tiple people to see who does a good job," explains Rofe. As the results come in and a decorator finds the best-performing promo products firms, they can narrow down who they choose to work with. Additionally, having multiple compa- nies to choose from helps avoid snags when it comes to unforeseen complica- tions. Challenges like weather events, ownership changes, general breakdowns in company logistics, and occasional de- Three Key Factors for Promotional Products Contractors CONTRACTING OUT ANY ARM OF A BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING, AND THAT INCLUDES PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS. HERE ARE THREE PRIMARY THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN SHOP- PING AROUND FOR A CONTRACTOR. • Satisfaction guaranteed. Parties recommend getting a full breakdown of a provider's customer service policy before signing anything to protect both the shop and its customers. "The last thing you want is to lose a good customer by outsourcing promo sales to someone that cannot service them," stresses Terry McGuire, HALO Branded Solutions. • Order tracking. Because of current e-commerce trends, sources stress that it's key to find someone who uses a crystal-clear order tracking system, so a customer knows where their order is every step of the way from processing to when it hits the truck and when it's en route. It'll also reflect positively on the shop. "Think about how Amazon oper- ates with their tracking system," notes Bruce Ackerman, Printavo. "If you build up that relationship, the customer trusts you even more." • Let the numbers do the talking. Just like reviewing a potential hire's work history, knowing a promo product com- pany's history is important. Asking for some basic profit history isn't out of the ordinary. "Ask for financial information [that] shows they are a stable and viable company," states McGuire. Plus, if a firm can promptly draw up these numbers, it shows that they're an organized opera- tion with all the gears in place to handle your business. Left: Even if a promo product order doesn't call for any decorated apparel, producers can seize the opportunity to add this on if they talk with the customer more in-depth about what their order is for. (Image courtesy Pic the Gift) Outsourcing also allows a decorator to offer its customers products outside of their usual in- ventory. (Image courtesy CustomHappy) PROMO PRODUCTS

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