Company Stores For Any Size Company

your-logo-here-teeSelling and distributing corporate branded merchandise to company employees and loyal fans was once an expensive and cumbersome process, reserved for large companies with big marketing budgets.  Product was selected once a year by a few people making their best guess about what their audience would want in the coming year.  Paper catalogs were designed, printed and distributed.  Product inventory was purchased, stored and shipped from a main warehouse.  And at the end of the year the corporate buyers and their promotional product partners worked hard to find a home for any leftover inventory so the process could start all over again.

Happily for everyone, technology came on the scene and offered e-commerce solutions for company stores that eliminated the need for print catalogs, deep inventories or even the staff tech specialists we all relied on to build and maintain the early on-line stores.  Suddenly, company stores became accessible to not only the largest corporate players, but also the smallest local merchants.   Offering everything from an embroidered fleece vest to a coffee mug with the company logo, on-line company stores can be customized to accommodate just-in-time inventory for 1-piece purchases that can ship out immediately – or on-demand merchandise options with no inventory exposure, but longer lead times and minimum quantity purchases.

A simple e-commerce store can offer a custom product selection and shopping cart, without the bells and whistles of more sophisticated sites.  And that is all the functionality most small companies would need or want.  More intricate sites with multiple payment options, multiple pricing levels, currency & language requirements, and/or site integration with a client’s internal tech platform are available for any company with the size and sales volume to support it.  But, point in fact, those companies have always been well-served by company store providers.

Today’s e-commerce solutions finally include solid, sophisticated options for small businesses.   Do you have a dozen logoed items that you want to make available to your customers and brand fans? do you want a temporary shopping site to offer employees a choice of end-of-year appreciation gifts that can be shipped directly to them? or do you simply want one place to go to view and order product from pre-selected vendors that reflect the quality standards you set for your company?  Then consider an on-line company store – it’s easier and less complicated than you may think.

 

Playing With Water

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Spring is here, summer is around the corner and everyone is looking forward to moving outside for warm weather activities.  And those activities – boating, hiking, camping, or the dutiful baseball/softball parents standing on the sidelines of a chilly, wet field – bring us in contact with water.

To help keep our gear dry while we are enjoying our fresh air freedom, outdoor enthusiasts are turning to waterproof and water resistant bags of various sizes and shapes.  Because of the trend to more active, outdoor lifestyles, these bags have become one of the most popular branded gifts of the last few years.

Duffel bags, backpacks, pouches and dry bags are all available in fully-sealed waterproof material.  They are ideal to hold phones, watches, wet and dry clothes, cameras – even laptops – so you can take them on a trip to the beach, pool or on that standing paddle board ride you keep meaning to try.

These bags fold flat for easy storage, and the rolling top seals the contents securely.  The imprint area is large for maximum brand exposure and the various sizes available make it appropriate for any audience.  Ask for a sample and try it for yourself – you’ll become a believer!

 

 

Give The Gift Of Time

K-C1703Despite the attack of innovation from the technology industry on the sales of timepieces, a cleverly styled clock is still one of the best corporate recognition gifts for key clients or valued employees.  Styles like the Kikkerland Hourglass Desk Clock or the retro-inspired Shinola Runwell Desk Clock are just two examples of the success of creative design techniques that combine utilitarian gadgets like a clock with the delightful discovery of an imaginative form.

Although it’s true that everyone has a clock on their computer, their phone and almost every appliance in their kitchen – desk clocks, mantle clocks and/or wall clocks can be found in every home or office.   The ease of just “looking up” to see the time will never be replaced by the tapping, swiping and scrolling of our now-indispensable tech gadgets.  But just another boring clock that tells the time without giving any joy is an uninspired approach to a corporate gift choice.

Corporate gift-giving should be about giving the recipient an item that they may not think to purchase for themselves, but are thrilled to receive.  It should be something that reminds them of the giver, and is practical enough to be used in everyday life.  Just-for-display items like crystal bowls or glass vases are not what the current generation of Millenials and GenX’ers want.  Those are the things that are increasingly finding their way into the Goodwill stores and eBay sites.

A quick glance at an eye-catching clock – with a corporate logo, of course –  will always be a fun reminder of your company and its creative culture.  Those items that combine form, function and delight are available for your next recognition opportunity – you just have to remember that if the item doesn’t inspire you, it’s unlikely to excite anyone else.

 

 

Rumors Of The Death Of Golf Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

golf gloveIn recent years there has been a lot of press around the shrinking popularity of golf.  Many reasons have been given, but a few of the most common are the cost of equipment, the lack of time in a busy schedule, the difficulty of the sport and the well-publicized fall of the game’s most popular superstar, Tiger Woods.

However, according to the National Golf Foundation, golf’s participation base remains stable.  The number of people who played golf on a course in 2017 remained unchanged since the year before (23.8 million), and an additional 8.3 million played at off-course facilities like Topgolf, driving ranges or indoor simulators.  In addition, the number of U.S. non-golfers who said they are “very interested” in playing at a golf course hit a new measured high, and helped boost the number of golf newcomers for the fourth year in a row.

All of this is good news for companies that want to reach a wide variety of potential customers.  Golf isn’t limited to middle-age executives, as some may imagine.  Consider the statistics:

  • Juniors (6-17) and young adults (18-34) comprise more than 37% of all on-course golfers.  These groups make up 69% of the off-course only participant pool.
  •  There are 5.8 million women who played golf on a course in 2017. Women account for 24% of the on-course golfer base and 41% of off-course only play.
  • Newcomers to golf are increasingly diverse: 35% are female, 26% are non-Caucasian and 70% are under the age of 35.

The variety of branded merchandise that is available for these groups is as diverse as the players themselves.  The classic golf staples are always good – branded golf balls, towels, hats and divot tools.  But for today’s eco conscious younger players, it’s good to consider more earth-friendly options.

  • Reusable water bottles for those that have eschewed disposable one-time-use plastic bottles
  • Dissolvable corn starch tees
  • Organic cotton polos and hats
  • Recycled golf balls
  • Recyclable golf pad & pen combo

Spring is around the corner, and the game of golf is going strong.  It’s time to start planning for your next golf giveaway.

 

 

 

Top Brands Transform Promotions

north faceWhile retail is going through difficult times – store closures, declining mall traffic, e-commerce competition – the promotional products industry is enjoying tremendous growth in the offerings of brand-name items for corporate branding.  Those retail brands are looking for different ways to market themselves, and co-branding through the promo channel is another way for them to advertise.

As for the corporate buyers, they have always wanted access to the quality and name recognition of the retail brands.  Even as recently as ten years ago, there were few options for companies that wanted to add their logo to a brand-name item.  But today there are retail brands offered in nearly every promotional product category.  Apparel brands like The North Face and Under Armour; drinkware brands like CamelBak, Contigo and YETI; and even tech brands like Bose and Beats have jumped on the promo bandwagon.

However, not every customer has the marketing budget for a brand-name giveaway. In that case, retail-inspired products are available at a lower price point and with the same quality.  The look and function are similar, and the stock is often more reliable.     After all, not every marketing initiative calls for upscale retail products – but if a customer can relate to the style of the product because it looks like something they have seen on social media or in the stores, then it’s unlikely it will end up in the back of their closet.

The interaction between the retail industry and the promotional products industry has changed.  The gap between them is closing, and the corporate customers are benefitting from the new opportunities created for creative, impactful promotions.

Brand Comfort

dri_duck_5020_model_shot_medWinter will be around for another few months, and outdoor enthusiasts – workers, hikers, campers, hunters – will be looking for both warmth and comfort in their outerwear.  Brands have an opportunity to shine with that demographic at this time of year.

Today’s consumer wants products that offer smart function, performance and style.  Not satisfied to only follow the latest Instagram clothing trend, younger generations  are less focused on quantity than quality. Single apparel pieces that can get them through multiple seasons in various life experience settings are the trend for today’s consumer.

Enter the corporate marketing initiatives.  Companies that invest in increasing brand awareness and improving customer loyalty have become increasingly aware of the the need to respond to not only the style choices of Millennials and GenX’ers, but also to their generation’s emphasis on not consuming more goods than needed.

A rugged, but comfortable work jacket; a stylishly classic quilted vest; or even a custom knit beanie in a subtle color are all excellent choices for adding your corporate brand to an item that will be worn for years to come.  Men and women.  The young and not-so-young.  By targeting your customer base with cleverly decorated, quality apparel items, your company will offer comfort to an audience that will repay you with brand loyalty.