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You’re a retailer. Why do you feel like a fulfillment company?

Most every retailer faces the same challenge of replenishing in-store marketing that never arrived in store, arrived damaged, was damaged at some later date, or just became obsolete. Sometimes smaller retailers will try to do this themselves from within their marketing department or they might enlist help from their warehouse personnel. When the needs are small and infrequent this might work, but as the retailer grows they quickly realize it can overwhelm them.

Retailers trying to do their own marketing fulfillment quickly learn that in-store marketing materials and signage made mostly of paper are very challenging to protect in shipment. When they enlist the help of their distribution center or warehouse to pick, pack and ship replenishment signage, it most often results in disappointment over time. These guys are pros at shipping jeans and boxer shorts, but paper signage, not so much. If the growing retailer is not fed up with damaged replenishment signage, then normally the volume of store calls, emails, tracking numbers and follow up communications overwhelms the marketing department and suddenly, it's one or more full time jobs dealing with all the communication.

There is a better way.

A professional fulfillment company that specializes in storing, protecting, kitting and shipping in-store marketing and point-of-sale signage can free up valuable resources at the brand. The companies that are successful with fulfilling marketing materials are generally not the same companies that store and fulfill general merchandise. A solid marketing fulfillment company will have a highly functional branded web ordering system that ensures your stores only order the marketing attributed to that store. This technology eliminates the cost of shipping incorrect orders and avoids a serious problem, the wrong promotional material hanging in the wrong store. The best ordering sites will also have easy to use search fields and thumbnail images of all the items available for order. Uptime and security is critical also. You should expect 99.99% uptime and a SOC II compliant hosting facility.

The right fulfillment company will have a robust reporting package that allows the brand to understand why stores are ordering, the cost associated with each store, what’s out of stock, etc. Understanding what is happening with your program is key to lowering your costs. A few years ago, we brought a new fulfillment client on board and helped them save over $500,000 in their first year in storage and shipping just by helping them understand why stores were ordering. The brand put in some additional controls at the store level and voila, $500,000!

The right fulfillment company should have a deep level of experience handling and shipping marketing materials. Paper signage needs to lie flat in a climate controlled warehouse to keep it from curling from the humidity. Once it curls, there is no going back! Packaging paper and rigid signage is near an art form. The best fulfillment companies will have equipment to custom manufacture cartons that fit the material perfectly. It’s all that bouncing around inside the carton that damages the corners of the sign. Most companies that are responsible for printing, packaging and shipping the original full chain distribution will have a good handle on how to package your replenishment signs for safe travel.

And lastly, great account management is critical. There are a ton of moving parts to a successful program that lowers cost and executes reliably. Having an experienced account manager to guide you through all the potential pitfalls is priceless.

Baesman Group has over 30 years of experience printing, kitting, storing and shipping marketing materials and we do it for some of the biggest brands in retail. We are here to help. Give us a call or email us at [email protected]