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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.
Merchandise fulfillment services are becoming increasingly popular for companies and individuals selling branded products, promotional items, and other swag. These services offer a one-stop solution for producing, storing, and delivering merchandise to customers and employees.
We discuss the different options available for producing and delivering swag and the pros and cons of each.
Merch (merchandise) fulfillment services and swag fulfillment refer to outsourcing the production, storage, and shipping of merchandise and promotional items (swag) to a third-party company. This allows businesses to focus on other operations while leaving the logistics of fulfilling merchandise orders to the experts.
Merch fulfillment services typically involve producing and delivering merchandise items such as t-shirts, hats, mugs, and other promotional products. Swag fulfillment typically involves producing and delivering branded items such as pens, notebooks, keychains, and other promotional items not necessarily intended for retail sales.
Both merch fulfillment services and swag fulfillment services involve the management of inventory, order processing, and shipping, which can be time-consuming and costly for businesses to handle on their own. By outsourcing these tasks to a fulfillment service provider, companies can save time, money, and resources while providing high-quality merchandise and promotional items to their customers and clients.
A company has several options for producing and delivering swag to employees and customers. The options can be broadly classified into three categories:
This option involves sourcing the swag items directly from manufacturers or suppliers, storing them in-house, and distributing them to employees or customers as needed. While this option may offer complete control over the production and delivery process, it can be time-consuming and requires significant resources.
This option involves outsourcing the sourcing and production of the swag items to a promotional products or t-shirt printing company. These companies have established relationships with manufacturers and suppliers and can often offer better pricing and a wider variety of options. The company can then either distribute the swag items themselves or use a swag fulfillment service to distribute them.
This option involves working with a merchandise production and delivery company that can handle all aspects of producing and delivering swag items. This company can either produce a bulk product at a lower rate or on-demand and handle orders’ fulfillment and shipping. This option can be more expensive, but it offers the convenience of a single point of contact for all swag-related needs.
In today’s competitive business landscape, companies always look for ways to build and maintain strong relationships with their employees and customers. Let’s explore the pros and cons of each fulfillment option to help you make an informed decision about the best approach for your company.
Pros of Doing it Yourself:
Cons of Doing it Yourself:
Pros of Using a Swag Fulfillment Service:
Cons of Using a Swag Fulfillment Service:
Pros of Using a Hybrid Option:
Cons of Using a Hybrid Option:
Marketing departments and Crowdfunders are looking for fulfillment partners who understand their marketing needs, help with their branding, and have access to creative reward options. Many fulfillment companies are equipped to handle transaction mailing but do not have printing expertise.
On the other hand, companies who are experts in printing t-shirts or giveaway items lack a complete fulfillment solution. To be your complete fulfillment solution, a fulfillment organization should have expertise in the following:
It is huge value add when you have a partner who has made the investments and connections to smoothly handle your needs for now and in the future. The right fulfillment partner can do more than just pick and ship.
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:
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:
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.
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