The Advantage to Buying Promotional Products Online
Buying your promotional products and corporate apparel online provides five major advantages: a greater selection, better pricing, convenience, customer service, and faster ordering time.
Manufacturers often display their entire line of products on the internet, providing you with a greater selection of products. With all of these manufacturers online, you gain the opportunity to compare pricing and quality in a simple and accessible online format, instead of wasting time flipping through endless catalogs that crowd your workspace.
Better 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. Another great trick is to choose an item and have a few companies give you a quote with the price of freight included. This will get you a number much closer to the total cost.
How do these online companies afford to sell the exact same product for less than other distributors? Traditionally, promotional items are sold by a distributor who has outside sales people that will go to your place of business, show you samples, and walk you through the process of placing an order. These outside sales people are the primary expense of an off-line distributor. This expense is then factored into the price of the promotional item, thus raising your total cost. When purchasing discount promotional products online, you can eliminate this huge cost and save considerable amounts of money.
Convenience comes with the capability of placing your entire order online. All successful online companies offer this service with encrypted order forms to secure your purchasing information. It is always a necessary hassle to send the artwork to your promotional products company. This is made easy with the online form. With online ordering you gain the convenience of placing your order anytime, twenty-four hours a day.
A few of these online companies also provide customer service departments with long hours. They are set up primarily to take your calls, handle rush orders, and to answer your questions promptly. If you prefer to communicate through e-mail, this is a great way to document your order from start to finish. You can e-mail a question to your distributor, leave for lunch, and have it answered by the time you return.
A faster ordering time is the fifth major result of the online purchase. I have personally visited hundreds of clients. This obviously requires an appointment, which naturally must fit into both parties' schedules. An off-line salesperson is forced to interpret your needs prior to your meeting. They bring what samples and catalogs they have on hand, but these may not meet your needs and thus your ordering time will be extended for a second meeting. If you have any questions about product availability, turn around time, or any other factory sensitive inquiries, the salesperson will have to return to his office in order to contact the factory, in order to answer your question. When you order from an online company, the customer service team is already in their office, so they can contact the factory with your questions and call you back immediately.
I have given you five great reasons to buy promotional products online, but I must also remind you that there is always a trade-off. Online promotional products companies work very hard to cut all possible costs and to pass the savings on to you. You will find that this results in a charge for samples and pre-payment requirements. The charge for samples insures that the company will not give away products to non-customers, as this would considerably raise the real customers' costs. Paying in advance is very common among internet purchasing in general, 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.
One other tip, 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 CEO of Save on Promotional Products Inc. a Discount Online Promotional Products Company. He can be contacted at 1-800-826-8706;email: email@example.com; or visit www.saveonpromotionalproducts.com