I'm Promoting a Competitor ... Why Should That Matter to You?
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In a recent commentary, “How Does Amazon’s Business Model Affect Us?” I alluded to how online efficiency will change how products are being purchased, even promotional products.
Amazon.com has set the gold standard in online ordering. It’s easy, pricing is fair, and any issues are quickly taken care of. In that commentary, I asked if drones would deliver promotional products. (Check out the Amazon Prime Drone.) Probably not any time soon, but if you think your business won’t be affected by changing ordering processes, think again. Should there be any doubt about Amazon innovation, check out Amazon Dash. Need more pens for a trade show? Just press the button!
We need to take note of a changing trend to online ordering. There also is an opportunity to educate end-user buyers on the value of the promotional products. I’ll touch on both of these things.
Many of you have seen the TV advertisements for Custom Ink, an online T-shirt company. They have seemingly perfected the online ordering process for T-shirts, utilizing an easy to use online template. Business is booming and the margins are great for them. This is simply another reason why distributors should be aware of how online business is evolving.
Custom Ink also offers promotional products. Just like the low cost business card company I mentioned in my Amazon article, Custom Ink is taking advantage of their large client base. Why not sell bags, writing instruments, towels, drinkware and more ... in addition to apparel?
If the idea of enabling your clients to be able to create designs online using templates is attractive to you—and I would think it would be—our friends at Artwork Source are launching Layout Lab. This is a new, powerful design tool that will give you a competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.
Custom Ink also takes advantage of box branding, another simple, but powerful marketing tool. This makes it easy for people to reorder, and builds the Custom Ink brand. The discussion of box branding has come up in our industry. Many distributors don’t like that suppliers’ branding is prominent on boxes of promo products they sell. One large supplier has taken the initiative to imprint a generic “Promotional Products Work!” Graphic. This is a step in the right direction.
Taking a closer look at Custom Ink, we can see that this company has achieved phenomenal growth. From its inception in 2000 it’s grown to over 200 million dollars in sales.
Its innovation goes beyond products though. It also has launched Booster, an innovative program that enables customers to raise awareness and funds for its organization by using custom apparel.
The Custom Ink website offers useful content and engages their customers with pictures of its products being used. Custom Ink has won all kinds of awards from Best Places to Work to Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Companies. It has great reviews on Yelp as well.
While it may seem like I’m promoting a competitor, what I’m really doing is showing you how innovation, a solid business plan and technology can drive success. We all have the opportunity to do the same thing.
Our survival is dependent on being able to remain relevant in today’s marketplace. Are you taking advantage of the new technology out there? What are you doing to stay relevant?
Jeff Solomon, MAS is affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company and also publishes FreePromoTips.com, a popular industry resource. The PPAI award winning FreePromoTips.com website and twice a month e-newsletters are packed with beneficial information. You can opt in to receive these informative twice a month e-newsletters here! Check out what’s new in the GP2: Good Products-Good Prices section of the site. Take advantage of FREE end user safe product videos you can share from their YourPromotionSolution.com website. LIKE their page on Facebook follow them on Twitter and connect with Jeff on LinkedIn. FreePromoTips.com is also on Pinterest!