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Online Buying Strategies for Promotional Products

In this day and age, it seems as if one can point, click, and purchase practically anything through the Internet right from their desktop, including promotional products. Besides this luxury of being able to shop from the comfort of one's own home or office, improved e-commerce capabilities have made the online shopping experience a faster and easier alternative to traditional vending for both distributors and their consumers. However, the ease and efficiency of such online sales can also come with the risk of personal and financial security as well as value and satisfaction of purchases. And with thousands of sites to choose from it can be difficult to know whom to trust for both secure online transactions and high quality items. But with the right knowledge and online buying strategies, consumers can have a seamless online shopping experience.

When looking for a distributor you should first ensure that they are both a member of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) and the Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI). These are the superlative member organizations in the industry and membership invokes credibility within the industry and also provides them, and ultimately you, with access to an increased network of reputable suppliers. Distributors often times have even formed relationships with certain suppliers after a long history of working with another and these merchants will provide special pricing for their items or other additional benefits that are then relayed to you. And as far as protected purchasing goes, most trusted companies have a security indicator, such as a trust mark, so you can shop with confidence knowing your personal information is secure.

Once you have established that a distributor is legitimate, reputable, and secure, you should pay attention to the functionality and overall appearance of their website. It should be clean and easy to navigate with organized tabs and quick links offering you access to categories of products on sale, or those that are new and unique, besides the fact that it should have a large selection of items available to begin with. The site should list the location of the company's headquarters as well as clear contact information and ways to reach them for questioning. Many companies today even provide you the ability to chat live with a sales representative during all office hours. You would not want to shop in a store that was messy, disorganized or had inattentive salespeople in the same manner that you would not want to shop at an online store with the same qualities, or lack thereof.

Many shoppers are often under the false impression that when it comes to online buying strategies the most important factor is finding the lowest price. While shopping online does allow consumers the opportunity to view the pricing of similar products of multiple sites at once, they need to look at the bigger picture of the online shopping experience, as they may be sacrificing a lot in terms of customer service, speed, or guarantees for a minute difference in cost. Purchasers should make sure that the  company they are working with provides experienced account managers that are focused on their needs and prompt in their response. Many also have competitive advantages over other companies including rush delivery and even in-house art departments that can offer strategic marketing and graphic design solutions for your promotional needs. The best companies will also have a well-defined guarantee. Should something go wrong with your order, they should either reprocess your order or refund your money - no questions asked.

Finally, consider who the company is purporting itself to be as a whole. Look at their mission statement, their company history, client testimonials and additional online resources. If none of this information is available, then the best online buying strategy would be to look elsewhere. Branded items can mean a lot for your business - they are a physical representation of your brand to your employees, your customers, your clients, and the world. Make sure you can place your trust in your supplier to ensure that representation is the best it can possibly be.


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