FAQ

FAQ:

 

Why would I want a promotional products program?

Why would I want a promotional products program?

Let iCoStore find and produce the perfect products for you so you can concentrate on managing your brand, not hunting for products and chasing orders.

What are promotional products?

What are promotional products?

Promotional products are products that are decorated with your logo. Promotional products range from the pens at your dentist’s office to uniforms to the sponsorship signs at your favorite sporting event. They are physical embodiments of your brand that are designed to be sold or given away to spread awareness and positive associations with your brand. There are over 100,000 SKUs available from thousands of manufacturers in the promotional products industry and it doesn’t’ stop there. iCoStore can also help you design and bring to reality truly custom products that have never seen the market before.

What is a promotional products program? / What is a “program”?

What is a promotional products program? / What is a “program”?

A promotional products program is a curated collection of promotional products made available to you and your buyers. Basically, it is a custom catalog of products designed to meet your needs and fulfilled by one or more partners on your behalf. iCoStore manages promotional programs for nearly a hundred companies. The products in each of those programs are as individual as the brands they serve. They are a rightsourced combination of just-in-time, in-stock, and special order items that are picked just for you and made available online and through our various customer service channels.

I buy promotional products online today, why should I set up a promotional products program online?

I buy promotional products online today, why should I set up a promotional products program online?

You can spend your days trolling the Internet for the lowest price on each type of promotional product that you use. If you use a small selection of products and buy infrequently, this may be the most cost effective way to manage your promotional products. However, once your volume starts to grow, so does the complexity of dealing with the supply chain partners necessary to provide a full suite of products. Many companies go through a fairly standard path of evolution with regard to purchasing promotional products. They start with someone in Marketing or HR spending a small portion of their time sourcing and buying promotional products and apparel. As the volume grows, so does the time invested. Eventually they wind up with one or more people who do nothing but source and procure products on behalf of the company and closets or even warehouse shelves full of merchandise that was purchased to meet minimum order quantities or to enable quick fulfillment, but which is starting to grow stale on the shelves. Eventually, most organizations grow to a point where they realize that in order to get the value for their promotional dollar it’s time to bring in an expert to work with their internal team to handle merchandising and fulfillment of their promotional products needs.

What is rightsourcing?

What is rightsourcing?

Rightsourcing is the practice of merchandising a promotional program with the right blend of JIT, bulk buy, in-stock, and special order merchandise. Using the rightsourcing approach to a program, you can minimize your costs, have items available for immediate-ship and make sure that you always have access to exactly the right products to support your brand. What does that mean? Let’s say you need to have employee welcome kits available for next-day delivery, a wide selection of apparel available for events ranging from executive conferences to company softball games, and you need a wide selection of trade show giveaways with price points from below a $1 to $50. To decorate all of that merchandise and put it in a warehouse would require tens of thousands of dollars or more in inventory. Rightsourcing your program would mean having employee welcome kits made up and in-stock, JIT apparel and promotional items made to order, and a sourcing team working to develop custom products to meet your needs.

What is JIT (Just-in-Time) production?

What is JIT (Just-in-Time) production?

JIT stands for just-in-time. JIT items are produced to order. You order a decorated item, we order the blank goods, decorate them just the way you ordered. One of the main benefits of JIT production is that you can order from a very large catalog of items without having to stock inventory of any of them. So everyone can have the style, color, and size to meet their individual needs without a large commitment to inventory.

OUR (JIT) MODEL

Our JIT Model

What if I want items to ship within 24 hours of ordering?

What if I want items to ship within 24 hours of ordering?

No sweat. We will work with you to pick the right items to keep in-stock to ensure that your immediate-ship needs can be met every time. This is a key part of rightsourcing your program.

What makes iCoStore different from other promotional products distributors?

What makes iCoStore different from other promotional products distributors?

Turn-Key Web Stores. All iCoStore programs feature private label, highly-customizable, turn-key web stores for a purchasing custom promotional merchandise. We build your web store to your brand specifications. You select the items, styles and colors that will be offered, the payment methods, decoration options and shipping options and we take care of the rest.
Custom Decoration.Because every item is made to order, you can co-brand items with multiple logos, offer personalization options and give your program buyers multiple logo location options.

Unlimited Brands. We have a wide variety brands, including Sony, Tumi, Nike, Cutter & Buck, Patagonia, Eddie Bauer, Ogio, Dickies, Oakley, Red Kap, Apple, Under Armour, and many more.
Online Points. Allow your audiences to accrue points towards purchases from your web store. You let us know who has earned points and how many, and we take care of the rest.

Unlimited Selection. Because there is no inventory involved, we can offer every size, color, and style that our manufacturers have available.
Hands-On Customer Service. No call centers, no automatic, standardized responses telling you we will email you within 72 hours. You’ll receive personalized, hands-on service.

Private Label Gift Cards. Our gift cards, redeemable online, are built around your brand. You give the gift cards to your most loyal and worthy partners, and we take care of them like royalty. You can purchase gift cards in any denomination, decorated to your specifications. To redeem them, recipients simply log on to your web store, select what they like, and pay with their gift cards.
Online Budget Control. You can set budgets for your apparel program customers, track their spending, and receive a simple, monthly invoice for all budgeted purchases. If your apparel program customers want to go over their budget, they can pay the difference with a credit card.

Rightsourcing. We will apply the perfect blend of pre-decorated inventory and just-in-time production to make sure that you get the right product to the right place at the right time at the best price.
In-House Decoration. Unlike other people in the industry, we do the majority of our decoration in-house. If we need a rush or special handling for decoration, we don’t have to beg a vendor to do it, we handle in our selves in-house.

What is direct-to-garment printing / DTG?

What is direct-to-garment printing / DTG?

Direct-to-garment printing or DTG printing is a digital printing process for printing directly onto cotton and cotton blend materials. DTG printing works best on 100% cotton, but works on many cotton blends as well. We use DTG printing for t-shirts, tote bags, and other applications where we are printing directly onto cotton in fairly small run sizes. Direct-to-garment printing is often thought of as an alternative to silk screening. Silk screening can be faster and more economical for large quantity production runs with low color counts. The lower the quantity and the more colors in the design, the more likely that direct-to-garment printing will be the most economical decoration method.

What is dye sublimation / dye sub?

What is dye sublimation / dye sub?

Dye sublimation is a printing process that uses a specialized printer to create a design that is imprinted on goods using heat and pressure. It is called dye sublimation because the ink is sublimated – turned directly from a solid to a gas without passing through a liquid state. The sublimated ink attaches to the substrate and is permanently chemically bonded to the material, as opposed to painted on as you see in silk screening or direct-to-garment printing. Dye sublimation is used on 100% polyester garments and metals and plastics treated with special coatings to make them conducive to dye sublimation.

What is silk screening?

What is silk screening?

Silk screening is a printing process where a design is separated into its component colors and silk screens – almost like porous stencils – are created for each color. Ink is applied through the porous screens onto the decorated goods. Once all of the colors have been screened onto the goods, they are placed in a dryer to cure the ink. Silk screening is a great solution for large runs of t-shirts and other items with a relatively low color count in the decoration. The downsides of silk screening are high effort to set up each color for each production run which make it impractical for designs with many colors and for small quantity orders.

What is pad printing?

What is pad printing?

Pad printing is a printing process in which a custom stamp is made to stamp ink directly on a decorated item. Pad printing is an economical way to do one-color decoration on large runs of hard goods. Pad printing requires extensive custom setup for each run of each logo. Therefore, pad printing is only practical for fairly large quantity orders with exactly the same decoration on each item.

What is laser etching?

What is laser etching?

Laser etching is an imprinting process in which an industrial laser is used to burn away a layer of material on a decorated item to reveal the material below in a very precise pattern, such as a logo. Laser etching is most commonly used on metal and ceramic items, but is sometimes also used on leather and heavy apparel.

I don’t have a promotional products program today. How do I set up a program?

I don’t have a promotional products program today. How do I set up a program?

The short answer is Contact us and we can help you navigate the process. There is some homework that you can do to better prepare yourself for putting together a promotional products program:

  • Gather documentation of your branding standards including logo use guides, pantone colors, and web colors.
  • Gather vector art of all logos you want to be available in the program.
  • Look at your past promotional products spend and estimate what and how much you think you will buy in the next year based on purchase history and expected trends for the coming year.
  • Define, at least in general terms, who your buyers are, approximately how many there are, and what their roles are in the promotional products purchasing space.
  • Define the objectives of your promotional products program.

Once you have gathered your brand standards and have an idea of what and how much you plan to buy, you can begin to look at promotional products providers and see who best fits your needs. We have an easy on-boarding process. Your account manager can schedule a call with you within 1 business day to get started. We can have your program online within a week. With clients who know what they want and turn around approvals quickly, we have put programs online in as little as 24 hours.

info@icostore.com

What is “vector art” and why do you need it to print my logo?

What is “vector art” and why do you need it to print my logo?

Without getting too technical, vector art refers to image file formats that scale to any size without distorting the content and the relationships among the shapes in the picture. Examples are .ai (Adobe Illustrator), .eps (Encapsulated Post Script), and certain .pdf files. If you have questions about whether your logo file is a vector art file, send it to us and we can check it out for you.

Lots of people want to sell me things with my logo on them. How do I select a promotional products program provider?

Lots of people want to sell me things with my logo on them. How do I select a promotional products program provider?

The best fit is going to be the provider who best matches your priorities. You need to find out the mechanics and the economics of running your program with each provider you consider. Every program is different, so you will want to tailor the questions to your specific needs. However, there are some basic questions that you should definitely ask every prospective provider:
1. Will I have a dedicated account manager who will know my account, my people, and my needs, or will I be talking to a call center pool who has no idea who I am?
2. How long does it take you to bring a new program online?
3. What is your approach to inventory and sourcing for a program?
4. Do you own your online store platform? Can you make changes to it, or do you have to hire outside contractors to do so?
5. What kind of online budget management tools do you have?
6. What kind of online user management tools do you have?
7. How do you handle online stores for promotional products?
8. What kind of reporting can I get on store purchases and user activity?
9. What fees do you charge us for your various services while running our program?
10. How do you handle items that must ship within 24 hours?
11. How do you handle damaged and defective merchandise?
12. What security measures do you take to keep information about my program and personal information of program buyers, including payment card data, confidential?
13. How many programs do you run and for what sizes of clients?
14. How much do you charge for hosting and web store setup?
15. What is your standard lead time?
16. From where do you ship?
17. What are your order cutoff times for same-day shipments of in-stock merchandise?
18. What are your lead times for made-to-order merchandise?
19. Do you decorate in-house or rely on third party decorators?
20. How does pricing change as my program gets bigger?
21. What is your policy on providing sample products?

What should I know before I contact a promotional products provider?


What should I know before I contact a company to build my online company store?

  • Define your goals and objectives for your online company store
  • Look at your past promotional products and apparel spend and estimate what and how much you think you will buy in the next year
  • Define, at least in general terms, who are your buyers (employees, distributors, customers), how many, do they have budgets, how are they using the logo apparel and promotional products


 

Ask us a question:






Please leave this field empty.


 

 

INNOVATIVE. CREATIVE. ONLINE.
EMPOWERING YOUR BRAND.