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.

 

Social Media + Promo = Brand Fans

Socialmedia-pmSocial media marketing is a form of internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media networks in order to achieve your marketing and branding goals.  Promotional merchandise is products branded with a logo or slogan and distributed in marketing and sales promotions.  When you put them both together you have a powerful marketing strategy that can help your company stay ahead of trends and better target specific audiences, resulting in a new generation of brand fans.

Since social media is basically free and available anywhere for consumers, many companies already use it to find potential clients.  The next-level step would be to design a clever social media campaign that is tied to a unique audience or experience.  Consider these ideas to better connect with, and ignite, your followers:

  • Offer a Gift for Super-Fans:  Choose a few devotees engaged with your brand and reward them for their loyalty with a gift that would appeal to them.
  • Ask for a Shout-Out:  Send a message like, “Be one of the first 50 people to retweet our big news and receive XXX”.  Be sure to specify what they will receive and make it creative.
  • Drive Demand with Limited-Edition Items:  Create a custom item that represents something unique to your brand.  Offer it to your followers as part of a contest to sign up for a new service, buy a product, donate to your charity or book a trip.

There’s no doubt that clever promotional merchandise – of good quality distributed in a creative way to a specific target audience – can do big things for any company, large or small.  But you have to be ahead of trends and engage your brand fans where they spend their time – on social media.  So go ahead and surprise them with cool stuff – it will help you break through all the other marketing noise.

The Age Of Environmentalism

eco-pencil-1000We have a new generation of buyers.  Buyers that are concerned about the environment; buyers that care about human rights; and buyers that look for the same in the companies they work with.  And those companies that demonstrate an overarching message of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are winning the affection and trust of those consumers.

According to an industry study, in the age group 18-35, 58% of end-users are more likely to have a favorable opinion of companies buying and distributing eco promotional products – more than any other age bracket.  And it’s not just what the product is made of that this generation cares about.  You can’t just say your stuff is eco-friendly because it’s a mug and not a one-time use paper cup.  Most people of the millennial generation are smarter than that.  They want to know about the product materials; the ability to recycle the item when it’s outlived its use; energy usage; and even fair labor practices.

Their concern with the environment is part of their culture, and as they enter into the upper echelons of the workforce, millennials are poised to stoke the growth of the eco category as buyers of all types of products and services.  So what types of promotional products would appeal to this audience without killing the corporate marketing budget?  See below for a few of the many eco product ideas that work in the office or at home.

  • Reusable, recyclable tote bags
  • Bamboo flash drive
  • Reusable, recyclable travel mug
  • Recycled organic cotton t-shirt
  • Corn plastic letter opener
  • Recycled microfiber cell phone stand
  • Recycled polycarbonate sunglasses

The values shared between customer and company are the building blocks of long-term partnerships.  If your company wants to win over this growing customer segment, consider eco friendly promotional products as one more tool to help support your branding message.

Kickin It Up A Notch

soulkixCustomers always ask ,”What’s the newest product trend in promotional merchandise?”.  Today, one of the best answers to that question is custom printed canvas sneakers.

A growing desire for one-of-a-kind goods continues to drive the market for custom-designed footwear.  This trend is spurred by millennials on one end and baby boomers on the other, making it a very appealing marketing tool for companies in any industry.

The fact that there are few promotional merchandise options that are truly unique, custom  printed sneakers stands out as a way for companies to set themselves apart.  It’s a gift that lends itself well to team recognition or as a creative way to drive traffic to a trade show booth.  If you sponsor an in-booth drawing that awards 10 people each day with a pair of custom branded sneakers, you get their contact information at the same time you get their shoe size!

Custom printed sneakers may not be the answer for a large-scale giveaway, but it’s new, and it’s hot, and it definitely shows your company is kickin it up a notch when it comes to increasing brand awareness.