Buying promotional products and corporate apparel online offers five major advantages over traditional mail order catalogs: greater selection, lower pricing, more convenience, better customer service, and faster ordering time.
Manufacturers often display their entire product line on the internet, including brand new additions to an already greater selection of products over traditional catalogs. With so many manufacturers online, the opportunity to compare pricing and quality in a simple and accessible online format saves time, and increases the likelihood of finding exactly the right promotional product.
Lower pricing is readily available online, but you have to search for it. Type any promotional product related keywords into your favorite search engine and sift through the results until you find a company with discount pricing. A great tip when choosing a product, have a few companies give you a quote with the price of freight included. This will help get you a number much closer to the total cost.
Traditionally, promotional items are sold by distributors who employ outside sales professionals that visit your place of business, show samples, and walk you through the process of placing an order. These outside sales professionals are the primary expense of an off-line distributor. This expense is factored into the price of the promotional item, thus raising your total cost. When purchasing discount promotional products, eliminate this additional cost, and save a considerable amount of money by buying online.
Placing an entire order online offers more convenience than an off-line distributor. Successful online companies offer encrypted order forms to secure private purchasing information. There is no avoiding the hassle in sending artwork to a promotional products company, though this step is made easy with online forms. Ordering promotional products online gains you the convenience of placing an order anytime, twenty-four hours a day.
Some online companies also provide customer service departments with long hours. Set up primarily to take your calls, they can handle rush orders and answer important questions promptly. The preference to communicate through e-mail is a great way to document an order from start to finish. You can e-mail a question to your distributor, leave for lunch, and have the e-mail answered by the time you return.
A faster ordering time is another major advantage of ordering online. Off-line sales professionals visit clients in person, requiring an appointment which must fit into both parties’ schedules. They must interpret your needs prior to meeting, bringing only what samples and catalogs they have on hand, which may not meet the needs and slow ordering time.
Questions about product availability turn around time, or any other factory sensitive inquiries, require the salesperson to return to the office in order to contact the factory. The customer service team is already in the office when ordering from an online company, so they are ready to contact the factory with your questions and call you back immediately.
Online promotional products companies work very hard to cut all possible costs and pass the savings on to you. Charging for samples and pre-payment requirements are examples of how an online company differs from an off-line one. The charge for samples insures that the company will not give away products to non-customers, as this would considerably raise real customers’ costs. Paying in advance is common among internet purchasing, and necessary for almost every online company to insure payment. Pre-payment is nothing to worry about. You still have the right to a quality product, and you gain an enormous savings.
A good tip is to select an online company that has in-house embroidery or screen printing facilities. It has been my experience that these companies have much better control of expediting your orders, a stronger knowledge of branding, experience which allows them to better monitor quality control, and a great tendency to complete rush orders faster.
You will find that many more successful businesses are now placing their promotional product and corporate apparel needs in the hands of these qualified online distributors. The advantages are numerous; convenience, speed, selection, accountability, service, and above all, savings.
Author: Rick Sheldon has 18 years experience in the Promotional Products Industry and is currently President of Click 4 Promobm.com a discount Online Promotional Products Company He can be contacted at [email protected] or go to his site: Promotional Items