Your shipment is ready and the promotional products you ordered are on their way to being delivered. Logistics and stock management present their own challenges, from whether you have enough storage space on your premises, and whether you operate from multiple sites, to your ability to move heavy boxes, and maintain easy access to your materials. Your merchandise supplier should be able to help you to organise the logistics, so all your materials are in the right place at the right time.
In this blog series, we explore the reasons why bringing your brand to life with physical marketing can help boost your reputation, connect with customers and increase sales.
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Bear in mind when making orders that food items including as confectionary and drinks have a shelf life and a use-by date. Some food items require special storage conditions. Your merchandise supplier should be able to hold stock for you, in refrigerated conditions if required, to maintain the quality of your goods and keep them fresh for customers.
Giveaways are always tempting and colleagues from around your business may request them for a myriad of uses, some of which may not meet your carefully-crafted objectives. Keeping control of orders and access to stock should be centralised within the marketing team so that you know that materials will reach the right audience and there will be no wastage. It can be hard to control once colleagues start distributing merchandise, but it is good working practice to devise a system for signing out materials and attributing them to various departments or teams to help you keep track.
When it comes to the practicality of distributing your materials, consider contracting with a single supplier that can meet a range of requirements from bulk deliveries, to personalised consignments that are put together on demand. Picking and packing is a specialist task and some small items can be fiddly to handle.
One of the most significant challenges of managing merchandise is the ability to have full visibility of your stock levels. Having a system in place to keep track of who is requesting items from within the business can be vital in helping you to keep track of spend. If you can’t monitor stock effectively, you could be saddled with a panic call to your supplier to fulfil a last-minute request from the sales team on the eve of a crucial event.
An online stock-monitoring system with an easily accessible reporting function will provide actionable data and insights to improve the efficiency of your procurement and minimise wastage. It will provide flexibility so that stock items to be called off as required. You will receive automated alerts in plenty of time when stocks require replenishment. Your merchandise supplier will have a good understanding of lead times and be able to arrange pre-agreed reductions in price for bulk purchases that may save money. This may be advantageous for smaller franchisees within a group, for example, as they will be able to gain access to the same low prices as larger outlets.
Ideally, the system should enable ordering from multiple departments within the business or from a range of locations. Sophisticated systems will allow items to be charged to individual cost centres if required. Check whether you can have multiple log-in accounts with different permission levels and let your supplier handle requests for supplies to be sent out. Using an online system helps you to keep control of budgeting and create status reports to help you manage supplies.
Assets such as brand guidelines and logo files at the right size and resolution can be stored online so that they are easily accessible in future. Pictures of individual items will remind you what you have ordered in the past. White label merchandise can be kept in stock and printed as required via a web to print service so check that this option is available on your supplier’s online system.
If you choose a supplier of merchandise that is able to behave like a partner and form an extension of your team, the logistics for sourcing, ordering and managing your promotional goods and merchandise should be frictionless, leaving you to move on to your next big idea.
In summary, a good logistics strategy will help you to make sure that:
- You have the space to store your merchandise and the means of fulfilment
- You can monitor shelf life or ensure that your materials are always up to date
- You can keep track of orders and avoid wastage.
Our full eBook on boosting the impact of your Marketing Strategy through Promotional Branded Merchandise is available for download via the image link below: