The Siren Song of eCommerce

Do you hear the siren song of the company store? If you don’t, your clients most certainly do. Over the past few years, interest in selling eCommerce solutions has exploded. As a distributor, the appeal of selling an online company store is alluring but, if not properly researched, executed, and monitored, can lead to a very unpleasant outcome for all – lost revenue, non-moving merchandise, and a soured business relationship.

To avoid the potential negative outcomes of an online store solution, there are three steps every distributor needs to take:

1. Ask the right questions – As with so many things in our industry, success boils down to effective and honest communication. There are several dozen questions (at least) you should get clarification on before investing the resources necessary to develop a company store. Some examples are:

  • Does the client have a current online solution? If so, what does it look like (who owns the merchandise, how many products, stocking vs. non-stocking, reporting needs, how is it promoted internally, and how are merchandise substitutions handled – to  name a few)
  • What functionalities do they need from the web solution? Is it secured or open-ended? Is there a shopping cart feature? Do they need real-time inventory updates? How is the shipping calculated?
  • What security parameters do they have for the solution? Will it need to be fully PCI compliant for credit card processing? What type of encryption is necessary?
  • What does the communication process look like for the end user?
  • How is customer care handled?
  • How are returns handled?

2. Formulating the solution – Once you have a full understanding of what the needs of the client are, you need to develop the solution. There are several companies within the industry that can assist with this, including a robust program from DistributorCentral. As you look for a partner to help you, it’s important to ensure the solution you jointly create provides the following:

  • Replicate the look and feel of the client’s site
  • Preserve the user’s shopping experience as they transition from the client’s site to the merchandise store
  • Limited choice – too many products can be more paralyzing that too few
  • Reliable up-time

Many solutions – DC included – allow you to get as creative as your client requires: standalone domain name, credit card processing, and even the ability to upload custom client images to products. The key is to build a solution that will achieve the goals of the client.

3. Ongoing Monitoring – Once the site is built, many distributors assume the orders will just roll in without any further effort. The hard reality is that after the site launches, the real work begins. It’s critical to understand that a company eCommerce site is a living, breathing entity and must be continually monitored, updated, and refreshed. Having quarterly stewardship reviews with your client to honestly discuss the below is essential to long term success:

  • What merchandise is selling – and what is not?
  • What product substitutions need to be made?
  • Are there any customer service issues – and what is being done to solve them?
  • How is the client supporting/promoting the website?
  • How are you planning for seasonality of the merchandise?

Partnering with a client to create an eCommerce site for their internal associates can be scary. However, if you ask the right questions, partner with a company that understands the promotional products industry, and continually communicate with your client, you can avoid the rocky coast and sail your ship to success.

Bill Petrie
engage@brandivatemarketing.com
brandivatemarketing.com
 
 brandivatemarketing
 @brandivatemktg
 

 

Ward/Kraft, Inc. Announces Promotion of Phil Quick, Gina Holt and Chris Farmer

Ward/Kraft, Inc. announces the promotions of Phil Quick to President of Manufacturing, Gina Holt to President of National Sales/Marketing and Chris Farmer to Chief Financial Officer.

Fort Scott, Kansas (PRWeb) April 16, 2015

“A key part of our success hinges on our ability to maximize the talents within our company, to work as a team, and to look to the future. We must know what products to market, what resellers and customers to market to, and what our equipment capabilities are when it comes to profit dollars per hour,” shares Roger Kraft. With that said, we at Ward/Kraft are happy to announce the following promotions within our ever growing company.

Phil Quick, who has been with Ward/Kraft for 25 years, has accepted the promotion to President of Manufacturing.  Phil will oversee manufacturing of all four divisions – Forms, Labels, Plastics and Specialty Coatings as well as Machinery and Maintenance.  “I am excited to work with our members to better serve our customers.  We are committed to the growth and development of our members, investing in additional equipment and looking for more efficient ways to produce quality products and services for our customers.  We as a team are planning not only for now, but for the future, the future of our members and our customers,” shared Quick.

Gina Holt, an 11 year Ward/Kraft member, has accepted the promotion to President of National Sales/Marketing.  Gina will oversee Sales/Marketing in all four divisions– Forms, Labels, Plastics and Specialty Coatings.  Holt says, “I am honored to be part of the great leadership at Ward/Kraft and very excited about the growth and future of such an innovative company.  Our focus on execution in product and technology development has helped establish us as a leader in the Print Industry. With more strategic efforts in product development, technology, as well as sales and marketing, I look forward to working with all our members in driving growth for both our company and our distributors for years to come.”

Chris Farmer, who has been with Ward/Kraft for 4 years, was promoted to the position of Chief Financial Officer. Chris will be overseeing all policies and functionality in accounting as well as performing financial analysis’ for the company. Farmer says, “It is truly a rewarding feeling to be a part of a company like Ward/Kraft who has such a rich history of putting its customers and its members first.  The future is definitely bright here as we continue to grow and develop new markets, products and opportunities while maintaining our legacy of excellence.  I am excited to work with our team of managers to ensure we continue to meet the ever changing needs of the markets we serve and of our members who make that possible.”

About Ward/Kraft, Inc.

Ward/Kraft, Inc. is a national leader in manufacturing Business Forms, Integrated Solutions, Labels, Plastics and Mailers. Ward/Kraft thrives on customer astonishment and offering the best quality and service in the industry. Ward/Kraft has provided distributors with award-winning customer service and product offerings that include PEAK and other industry excellence awards.

OMNI APPAREL – HOME OF ZORREL – TO HOST OPEN HOUSE

Grandview, MO (April 28, 2015) – OMNi Apparel Inc., manufacturers of state-of-the-art “performance wear for anywhere,” will be hosting an Open House on May 8th 2015 from 3:00 – 6:00PM.  OMNi Apparel is welcoming members of PPAM, customers and Grandview businesses.

Please RSVP by May 1st to sales@omniapparelinc.com

OMNi Apparel is celebrating “XYZ” or 10 (X)Years of Zorrel, and the Distribution Facility in the Kansas City area was recently renovated from the 1980’s warehouse look to an open modern glass wall work space.

“We acquired the facility in 2006, and there had been no renovations, beyond IT improvements, made to the building since it was completed in the very early 80’s, “said Nick Jambunathan, Director of Operations who has been with OMNi since 2006 and previously with King Louie International the buildings original tenant.

Sean Mahoney, Vice President of OMNi Apparel said, “It was important for our employees to improve the workspace in which they spend a great deal of their day.  We also wanted a place where our customers see an office reflective of the modern sophistication we try to impart in Zorrel as an apparel collection.

OMNi Apparel is thankful for the participation of the sponsors:

FedEx will be participating in the celebration by having their NASCAR #11 FedEx Joe Gibbs Toyota on site for the public to see prior to the Kansas Speedway’s SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS 400.  FedEx Corporation provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce, and business services.

The Miller Group services OMNi Apparel with its benefit management.  The Miller Group’s full-service product offering includes commercial insurance; employee benefits; HR consulting; surety Bonds; safety & loss prevention and private risk management.

Distributor Central has teamed up with OMNi Apparel in providing web based services to better serve their dealer network.  Distributor Central provides the most complete, accurate and full-feature centralized database in the promotional products industry.

About OMNi Apparel Inc.

OMNi Apparel Inc. is headquartered near Kansas City, MO and is a global supplier of performance and lifestyle apparel designed for corporate apparel, uniform programs, race events and retail.  Zorrel provides its apparel utilizing exclusive fabric technologies of Dri-Balance™, Syntrel™, Thermo-Balance™ and Technicore™.  Because of the value & performance of Zorrel’s apparel, companies around the world frequently select Zorrel for event participation, uniforms, and general corporate apparel – and has been a consumer favorite since 2005.

OMNi Apparel Media Contact: Sean Mahoney, Vice President

Phone: 816-765-5212 // Email: sean.m@omniapparelinc.com

PCNA BRINGS DISTRIBUTORS IN-DEMAND MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

New Apple® certified items introduced from Bullet and Leed’s

PITTSBURGH — April 27, 2015 — Polyconcept North America, a subsidiary of the world’s leading promotional products supplier Polyconcept, recognizes the demand for chargers and cables compatible with the latest mobile devices and is introducing several items carrying Apple® Made for iPad/iPhone/iPod (MFi) certification. When a product carries this special certification, it can be trusted to use safely with Apple devices.

Leed’s is launching six new MFi-certified items. Among these products is the Gateway Charger with MFi Certified Lightning Tip (7120-48). This power bank features a trendy slim profile and 2,200 mAh that can give a smartphone a full charge. It comes with an adaptor that allows the integrated cable to be used as a micro USB or Lightning Tip. In addition to three new MFi-certified charging cables, Leed’s is also releasing the Jolt Power Kit with MFI 3-in-1 Cable (7120-50). Featuring the popular Jolt Charger, the black zippered case has a large imprint area and includes an MFi-certified 3-in-1 cable – allowing the user to switch between Lightning, 30‑pin, and micro USB adaptors.

Bullet Line is excited to launch its own MFi-certified piece, the MFI Certified Beetle Charging Cables (SM-3975). One cable has an MFi-certified Lightning Tip and the other is USB to micro USB, both fit inside a small zippered storage case that can be easily packed inside of a suitcase or purse.

To see all of the new MFi-certified products PCNA, visit www.pcna.com.

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About Polyconcept North America

Polyconcept North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s leading promotional products supplier Polyconcept, operates Leed’s, Bullet, JournalBooks and Trimark, four of the most successful brands in North America. The Polyconcept North America companies provide recognized best-in-class services to the industry, ensuring the highest standards of reliability and quality. Highly complementary product ranges enable Polyconcept North America companies to provide the market with a very comprehensive assortment of products across all major product categories. Further information is available at www.pcna.com.

About Bullet

Bullet, a subsidiary of Polyconcept North America, is located in Hialeah, Florida and leads the promotional products industry with low prices and deep inventory. For over 30 years, Bullet has built its reputation on consistently providing superior service, reliability and quality to promotional products distributors. In 2010, Bullet further demonstrated its commitment to those values by attaining membership in the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), which promotes quality, safety and integrity among suppliers in the promotional products industry. Bullet provides the largest selection of products in categories that include writing instruments, drinkware, bags, technology, key tags, stationery, lighting, fitness & recreation and travel accessories. To learn more about Bullet, visit www.bulletline.com.

 

About Leed’s

Leed’s is a leading promotional products supplier and founding member of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), which promotes quality, safety, and integrity among suppliers in the industry. Known for the contemporary, retail look of its comprehensive line of corporate accessories, Leed’s products include bags, pens, padfolios, drinkware, memory, technology, awards, and more. Relentless product innovation, energetic customer service, and dynamic client collaboration have garnered Leed’s numerous honors from distributors and industry trade associations across the United States and Canada, including the PPAI Star of Excellence and the ASI Distributor of the Year awards. With global operations headquartered in New Kensington, PA, Leed’s has been synonymous with excellence in the promotional products industry for over 20 years. Information about Leed’s is available at www.leedsworld.com.

Vitronic Hires Donnell Avila – Regional Sales Manager Texas

Mason, Ohio – Mike Qualters, Director of Sales for Vitronic, is pleased to announce they hired Donnell Avila as the new Regional Sales Manager for the state of Texas.   Based in Houston, Texas, she comes with over 20 years of experience as a Supplier Rep, a Distributor and an End-User in the Promotional Products Industry.  Mike stated, “We are confident Donnell’s numerous years of experience in this industry will translate to strong sales opportunities in her new role at Vitronic.”

Vitronic recently launched their new branding, updated their website with even more user-friendly features and became QCA Certified.

 

Michael Bernstein Retires, Gene Colleran Joins Team

New Kensington, PA – April 7, 2015 — Polyconcept, a global supplier of corporate and promotional merchandise, announces the appointment of Gene Colleran as its new Chief Executive Officer.  As CEO, Colleran will assume full group responsibilities for Polyconcept including its three primary operating divisions:  Polyconcept North America (PCNA), PF Concept, and Polyconcept International Markets (PCIM).  Colleran succeeds Michael Bernstein in the role, who will continue to be actively involved as a member of the Polyconcept Board of Directors.

Bernstein started his career at Leed’s in 1992 and led the transformation of the company to become the recognized leader in the US promotional market.  In 2005, he joined Polyconcept through its acquisition of Leed’s and became the group’s Vice Chairman and CEO of the newly-formed PCNA division.  He took over as group CEO in 2012 leading Polyconcept through several important changes and growth initiatives over the past 3 years.

Beginning today, Gene Colleran takes the reigns of the Polyconcept group and will be based at the corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.  Colleran is a seasoned executive whose most recent post was CEO of Griffon Home and Building Products, a $900 million autonomous, global division within the publicly-held Griffon Corporation.  Prior to Griffon, Colleran held various leadership positions at Newell Rubbermaid, swiftly progressing through the executive ranks within several of its divisions.

“We’re fortunate to be able to make this transition on our own terms from a position of strength,” explains Bernstein.  “We are growing and healthy with an exciting future ahead.  After 10 years at Polyconcept, I am personally ready to step aside and to welcome Gene as our next group leader to continue our positive momentum.  Gene has a proven track record of success and he brings a diverse set of experience to our organization.   I’m confident that his vision, leadership and expertise will contribute to our continued success.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Polyconcept,” adds Colleran.  “Polyconcept is a recognized market leader with unmatched global capabilities.  Its success in building long-term customer relationships, its strong management team and its history of growth are extremely impressive.  I look forward to working with the entire Polyconcept organization in what promises to be a very exciting future.”

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About Polyconcept

Polyconcept is the world’s largest supplier of corporate and promotional merchandise, operating on five continents and selling to over 100 countries around the globe. With main offices in the US, Europe, Hong Kong, Canada and China, the company supplies a wide range of promotional, lifestyle and gift products to several hundred thousand companies ranging from small enterprises to global corporations, through a network of advertising specialty distributors.  Further information is available at www.polyconcept.com.

About PF Concept

PF Concept is the leading promotional products supplier to the European market. PF Concept combines the widest product mix in the industry with a range of pan-European services that provide unique value to distributors. The company’s entrepreneurial spirit enables it to sustain and increase its leadership position in each local market. PF Concept is the preferred one-stop-shopping solution for 9,200 promotional products distributors in more than 60 countries. It is headquartered in Roelofarendsveen, near Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and operates from 17 sales offices throughout Europe. Further information is available at www.pfconcept.com.

About Polyconcept North America

Polyconcept North America (PCNA), a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s leading promotional products supplier Polyconcept, operates Leed’s, Bullet Line, JournalBooks, Trimark Sportswear and Humphrey Line, some of the most successful brands in North America.  The PCNA companies provide recognized best-in-class services to the industry, ensuring the highest standards of reliability and quality.  Highly complementary product ranges enable Polyconcept North America companies to provide the market with a very comprehensive assortment of products in all categories.  Further information is available at www.pcna.com.

 

About Polyconcept International Markets

Polyconcept International Markets (PCIM) was formed in September 2013 to streamline sharing of knowledge and resources between Polyconcept’s international partners. Via PCIM, all partners around the world benefit from convenient access to the continually refreshed portfolio of strong brands and competitive sourcing ability developed by Polyconcept North America and PF Concept Europe.  PCIM operates from Shanghai (sales office), Hong Kong, Amsterdam and San Diego, CA. For more information please visit www.polyconcept-im.com.

DistributorCentral Marketing Director receives award

On March 2, 2015, at a award ceremony held prior to the TRASA Spring Expo, Stephanie Protz, Marketing Director for DistributorCentral was awarded with TRASA’s 2015 Hall of Fame Award.

“TRASA members were given the opportunity to nominate a distributor or supplier who have given outstanding service to TRASA. Stephanie received several nominations for this award because of her outstanding commitment to the association over the past several years,” said Patti Ward, Executive Director.

While serving as President and Vice President, Stephanie led TRASA toward winning PPAI Pyramid Awards for Regional Creative Achievement for the “WV Meet n Greet Event” in 2013 & the “20th Anniversary Events” in 2012.

During her tenure on the board, Stephanie was the Marketing & Social Media Chair.  She designed the TRASA Newsletters and created the artwork & marketing materials for all of TRASA’s events.

Since serving on the board, Stephanie continues to serve TRASA as an Independent Contractor by providing her marketing & design expertise.

 

What’s Wrong with “Your Logo Here”

The way people buy merchandise of every variety is in a continual state of evolution. The music industry provides a great example:

1960’s – Singles (called 45’s) and record albums were purchased at a local record shop using cash or a personal check

1970’s – Two new formats – the cassette tape and 8-track tape – were introduced, but still mainly purchased at a store dedicated to music. Cash, check or charge please!

1980’s – One format died (the 8-track) and a different one emerged (the CD). Consumers continued to purchase music at record stores, through record clubs, and now through large big box stores like Target or Best Buy. More reliance on checks or credit cards to purchase.

1990’s – The CD became the king of traditional music delivery while upstart companies like Napster leveraged the internet to bring music to the masses. Credit or debit cards were the most common form of payment. Unless, of course, if you used Napster. That was free.

2000’s – The internet began to radically shift how music was delivered: traditionalists could still buy physical CD’s from places like amazon.com while the introduction of the iPod and legal music downloading made getting music faster and easier than ever. Debit or credit cards only.

2010’s – Technology continued to advance allowing easier access to music than ever before. Streaming services such as Spotify allow subscribers to control content that is available only in a cloud-based format. Physical manifestations of albums in any format are slowly disappearing.

In just 50 years, how people want to receive music has changed at least 5 times. In that same span, the way people pay for music has changed at least 6 times. Wouldn’t it be safe to say that the way your target audience wants to buy and experience promotional products has changed as well?

Today’s promotional products buyer is far more savvy than even 10 years ago. They understand industry codes, usually have no issue bouncing around online to find ideas, and want to fully see what they are going to get BEFORE they order. Thankfully, there cost effective solution to this that will reach your audience on their terms: the virtual sample.

Virtual samples bring promotional merchandise to life. A T-shirt on a website that says “Your Logo Here” is just a T-shirt. However, when your client has the ability to upload their logo to see what their brand would look like, that same exact garment becomes a powerful sales tool. By leveraging a virtual sample to show your clients how their brand will look on specific merchandise, you begin to turn your ideas into a tangible client experiences and differentiate yourself from the competition content to show “Your Logo Here” products.

Promotional products are still a relationship business, because a brand is something that is personal. Technology can help your client make the connection between theory and reality, which will turn a customer into a client.

Bill Petrie
engage@brandivatemarketing.com
brandivatemarketing.com
(615) 440-2155
 brandivatemarketing
 @brandivatemktg
 

 

PCNA WELCOMES FRESH PRODUCTS FOR SPRING

PCNA WELCOMES FRESH PRODUCTS FOR SPRING

New items introduced from Bullet and Leed’s over a range of categories

PITTSBURGH — April 6, 2015 — Polyconcept North America, a subsidiary of the world’s leading promotional products supplier Polyconcept, announces the spring launch from its Bullet and Leed’s product lines. From bags to mobile technology, PCNA continues to deliver on-trend items to its distributors at a variety of price points.

For exciting new mobile technology at a lower price point, the Bullet spring launch includes the Vulture Earbuds & Mobile Phone Stand (SM-3947). Packaged in a plastic carrying case that doubles as a phone stand, these earbuds are perfect for anyone on the go. The Sleek Aluminum Power Bank (SM-3923) is also being released in a range of unique colors, including gold and charcoal gray.

To supply distributors with even more choices, Leed’s is introducing over 20 new items for April including key pieces to our trusted portfolio of brands. Featuring the popular Realtree Xtra® camouflage pattern, the Carhartt Realtree 23” Work Duffel Bag (1889-23) makes its debut in our line of Carhartt products. Additionally, two new journal bundle sets will be available from Cross®, each including a complimentary pen. Several new mobile technology pieces will also be introduced, including the Funbox Bluetooth Speaker (7199-58) with a large imprint area and high-quality sound.

 

To see all of the new products and services from PCNA, visit www.pcna.com 

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About Polyconcept North America

Polyconcept North America, a wholly owned subsidiary of the world’s leading promotional products supplier Polyconcept, operates Leed’s, Bullet, JournalBooks and Trimark, four of the most successful brands in North America. The Polyconcept North America companies provide recognized best-in-class services to the industry, ensuring the highest standards of reliability and quality. Highly complementary product ranges enable Polyconcept North America companies to provide the market with a very comprehensive assortment of products across all major product categories. Further information is available at www.pcna.com.

About Bullet

Bullet, a subsidiary of Polyconcept North America, is located in Hialeah, Florida and leads the promotional products industry with low prices and deep inventory. For over 30 years, Bullet has built its reputation on consistently providing superior service, reliability and quality to promotional products distributors. In 2010, Bullet further demonstrated its commitment to those values by attaining membership in the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), which promotes quality, safety and integrity among suppliers in the promotional products industry. Bullet provides the largest selection of products in categories that include writing instruments, drinkware, bags, technology, key tags, stationery, lighting, fitness & recreation and travel accessories. To learn more about Bullet, visit www.bulletline.com.

About Leed’s

Leed’s is a leading promotional products supplier and founding member of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), which promotes quality, safety, and integrity among suppliers in the industry. Known for the contemporary, retail look of its comprehensive line of corporate accessories, Leed’s products include bags, pens, padfolios, drinkware, memory, technology, awards, and more. Relentless product innovation, energetic customer service, and dynamic client collaboration have garnered Leed’s numerous honors from distributors and industry trade associations across the United States and Canada, including the PPAI Star of Excellence and the ASI Distributor of the Year awards. With global operations headquartered in New Kensington, PA, Leed’s has been synonymous with excellence in the promotional products industry for over 20 years. Information about Leed’s is available at www.leedsworld.com.

Goldstar Expands Sales Management Team

Goldstar announced today the hiring of industry veteran Peter Farman as National and Strategic Accounts Manager on the East Coast. “Peter has a terrific reputation in this industry and will be a great fit for Goldstar to grow our key distributor partnerships. I am excited to have him aboard to spread the word about our new Simplicity program and further our goals to be the easiest and most reliable writing instrument supplier in the market.” says Howard Cubberly, GM Goldstar North America.

Peter brings more than 20 years Promotional industry experience as both a distributor and supplier, most recently with Sanford B2B (part of Newell-Rubbermaid) for the last 14 years. Peter is also an active industry volunteer, former committee chair and SAAGNY Board Member.

Farman comments: “I am thrilled to join the team at Goldstar and to be an integral part of a company who understands the future of our industry. Their best in class decoration capabilities, customer focus and commitment to eliminating extra fees such as freight and set-ups will help me to bring enormous value to our distributor partners.”

For more information about Goldstar, visit GoldstarPens.com or call them at 800-553-9646.