On-line company stores featuring corporate branded merchandise don’t have to be limited to a stocking program solution. For many corporate partners, a web store with virtual images of pre-selected logo products that are not stocked on a warehouse shelf is a better answer for managing the purchase and distribution of promotional merchandise.
When does it makes sense to forego the inventory investment and build a non-stocking program that offers the buyer the opportunity to shop multiple product choices, but includes production lead times? Every corporate customer has different needs, but below are a few tips to help guide the discussion.
When the buying habits point to:
- Corporate purchasing structure that allows for regional discretion on product choices
- Large quantity purchases a few times a year rather than smaller purchases on a regular basis
- Buyer needs that drive constantly changing product selections, instead of repeated investment in the same pen, mug or writing journal
- Apparel purchases that require some type of customization (department name, employee name, etc)
- Seasonal purchasing habits
- Fewer than five promotional product purchases per week
When considering this option, it’s also important to note that non-stocking programs don’t offer the same convenience as fulfillment programs. Production lead times that, even with the most innovative and responsive vendors, cannot meet a same-day, or next day, delivery deadine. Also, product manufacturers require a minimum quantity purchase for branded merchandise, which may be higher than the buyer needs for a particular event. However, for many companies the possible drawbacks are less important than the advantage of offering a program that can feature more creative product choices and doesn’t carry the risk of inventory obsolescence.
In the final analysis, many companies don’t fall squarely into a single category. With the help of an experienced vendor partner, a well-designed corporate promotional products program can incorporate both stock and non-stock merchandise selections to ensure the buyer needs are met, while protecting the budget requirements.