Looking to save money on your branded merchandise? Check out our quick guide on how to source products direct and cut out the “middleman” (or should we say “middle person”)…
So, here – with our tongue lodged firmly in our cheek – are the 5 ‘Easy’ Steps required to do just that:
- FIND A FACTORY – Simply jump online, type ‘Promotional Products’ into search and scroll through the 177,000,000 + options presented to you. Once they all begin to blur in to one long, mind numbing list, it’s time to decide which factories to request quotes from. This process is akin to a moderately challenging game of hide and seek. You will need to find out which manufacturers listed are indeed factories, and are not just trading companies, wholesalers and opportunists disguised as such. You will also need to do your best to avoid scammers, who are simply posing as legitimate businesses and who, before you have time to say ‘Western Union’, will take your money and run. To ensure the seller you decide on is legit, you will need to rigorously do your homework before finalising on a supplier short-list. This will include checking their certifications, trade assurances, satisfaction history, customer reviews, response rate and if they are a gold seller. You may choose to also request an on-site verification, before firmly crossing your fingers and hoping for the best.
- CONDUCT COMPLIANCE – You are (of course) aware that whoever imports products into the country is the person responsible, and you intend to take your responsibility seriously. This means you will ensure all the mandatory product safety checks are in place and compliance procedures are adhered to. If your chosen product is on the wobbly side (contains button batteries, is electrical, will be in the hand of a child under 36 months, is edible etc), you may want to double-check the finer details by reading some product safety guides and white papers. These are warmly littered with industry jargon and something exciting known as ‘safety policy’. Settle in, because many are 436 pages plus. In the unlikely event the salesperson at the other end understands (or cares about) Aus/NZ standards, you can double-check on the subtle nuances with them.
- DO YOUR DUE DILIGENCE: You have done the math. Going direct to an overseas supplier for your promotional products is going to save you heaps of cash. But, just in case, at this point, it might be smart to really crunch those numbers with your new best friend. Check, check and check again that there are no hidden costs, last minute custom clearance fees and that the price quoted is the all-inclusive, ‘landed cost’ in your local currency. If you are feeling particularly brave you may want to add up all the hours you have spent climbing through hoops and learning new processes in your quest to get said promotional products. And, if the final bottom line, is that you haven’t really saved money in the short term, at least its been a character-building exercise in the long one.
- ROLL WITH THE PUNCHES: In the not entirely improbable event that your product turns up looking nothing like the photo on the website, don’t stress. At less than 50 cents per item, you were probably not expecting a quality product and, having been unable to request a sample, had nothing specific to go on. If, however, your product is faulty you can request a full refund. This might or might not be possible, depending on how closely you adhered to our advice in steps 1. 2. and 3. As long as you sourced a reliable seller, made sure you had adequate insurance cover and clarified what would happen in this eventuality, then you will be fine. You won’t have an actual promotional product, but at least you won’t be out of pocket. If you did decide to skip a few steps, you might end up with no product and no refund. Sure, you might feel like a bit of an idiot, but you can take comfort knowing there has been a long line of idiots before you.
- REVIEW THE PROCESS: By this stage, you might be feeling rather proud of yourself or be slowly losing the will to live. Either way, when the need next arises for promotional merchandise, you might – just for the hell of it – call Inck. Can you imagine how glorious it would be just to make a call, confirm by email and then go about your daily life, smug in the knowledge that they will have to do all this nonsense on your behalf?
The good news is, you don’t have to imagine it. To have all the sourcing, compliant, diligent, disaster-averting work done for you, get in touch with the team at INCK today!