Category Archives: Fulfillment

virtual event

2020 Gone Virtual

It’s 2019 and you’re looking at all of the calendar events for 2020 thinking “wow, this is going to be the year!” July 4th, scheduled to be on a Saturday, Halloween on a Saturday, Christmas on a Friday and even Cinco de Mayo to fall on a (taco) Tuesday. These dates did not change, but so many other things did. In the year of 2020 people and businesses had to drastically pivot from their every day routine and transform their lives into something we will never forget!

Non-essential workers created space in their homes to become an office, while many parents had to also carve out space and time to assist their children with virtual learning. As tough as it may have been and still is, it’s also amazing at how individuals were able to overcome these drastic changes and conform to the new “norm”. Businesses especially had to get very creative and find a way to keep things status quo while also continuing to drive revenue. Virtual events became the new best thing with the help of platforms such as Zoom. Being able to connect to customers and not skip a beat is proven to be so valuable in today’s virtual world.

A few organizations come to mind for having innovative virtual events this past year. STEPtember an annual fundraising event for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance raised over 1 steptember1million dollars joining everyone together virtually. Teams of four worked together to track their daily steps and activities and then recorded their progress on the STEPtember website. This site even offered trainers and tools to help you along the way with motivational messages and fundraising tips! Getting people to stay even more connected through social media with the hashtag #STEPtemberUS

foxTour de Fox, led by The Michael J Fox Foundation is a yearly fundraiser for Parkinsons where people come together to raise money by cycling. This year they had to “shift gears” and went virtual. Participants were able to join by cycling outside, or even hopping on a stationary bike and had the ability to choose their own route and distances. This year a record 5,000 people virtually participated- wow! Not only did this increase their donations for the year, but more people were involved to help spread the awareness. They have currently raised over $500,000 this year.

These two examples alone can’t help but ponder the question of – will virtual events be going away anytime soon, if ever? Sure, they might lack the in person social connection but for companies, the cost is lower and it seems more people have the flexibility to join and are engaged! Imagine being able to have a company happy hour or event and then not worry about the drive home? So many companies have been able to pivot to these virtual events and have seen very successful outcomes.

Not sure where to start in hosting your virtual event? Fulfilment Plus Inc. is here to help you every step of the way! We are able to customize and ship out event goodie bags, give you tips on how to operationalize an event and even help you promote through social media. As a one stop shop fulfillment center we are here to customize and execute your event planning each step of the way.

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FPI’s Take on Marketing Operations Fulfillment

One of the major benefits of Fulfillment Plus Inc. is that we are not your “cookie cutter” fulfillment service. We will go above and beyond to craft the right package for each one of our clients. We have developed a unique service that encompasses more than just gifts with purchase programs,  sample mailings, promotional programs, etc. Our Marketing Operations Fulfillment team will maintain a hands on level of service every step of the way. We focus on the logistics of managing the fulfillment side so you and your team can focus on the overall success of your campaign or event.

Gift with purchase is one of the more effective marketing tactics that companies use. Who doesn’t love “free” items? It’s a great way to up-sell customers, or even get them to your site or in the door to purchase an item. We’ve all seen the promotional offers of “with a $75 purchase, you will receive a free (insert product here)! So as a customer is checking out, and they are only $5 away from that free item, most of the time they will go back and purchase additional products to get that freebie. Another example we recently had the pleasure to work on was a gift with purchase opportunity for every new client, they received an Amazon Gift Card – now that’s an enticing incentive! 

The most important part is to pick the right product to advertise as your gift with purchase. As a business, you should know your clientele best and what will entice them. You also want to keep in mind that this complimentary product should support and improve your business as well as even promote it. Some giveaway ideas are great to customize and can include your company’s logo which keeps your branding top of mind for consumers. 

Once you’ve established the ideal product, next is to pick the right time. Some businesses choose to promote these offers during their busy seasons; holiday shopping, back to school, etc to help increase their sales. But if you’re a company that does really well during those times, why give free items to consumers who are already going to be purchasing? Offering gifts with purchase during your slower season, will help increase your business because you’re giving consumers an extra incentive to buy. 

Now you have your product and when you’re going to advertise, the next step  is how to properly market and execute the promotion. The most important step here is to make sure that you have enough inventory. There is nothing worse than a dissatisfied client, and even though the item might be free, this might have been the sole cause of the initial purchase. This is an important step where your fulfillment company can help. Fulfillment Plus Inc. can help you plan how much you need, and make sure it gets shipped quickly and efficiently.

 In addition to ensuring there is enough product, it’s also important to market it accurately. You want to make sure that the directions are very clear, and that it’s stated “while products last”. Other details to include are how long the offer is valid for, and exactly what the consumer needs to obtain the gift with purchase. Another aspect in marketing your product is the packaging and branding, this can make all the difference between a successful campaign vs a non successful campaign. A good idea is to include your branding or something that will remind the consumer of where they received the free gift so they will be a repeat customer!

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EDI and How it Helps Service You and Your Clients

What is EDI?
EDI stands for Electronic Data Interchange. This is the idea of businesses electronically communicating information verse what used to be communicated through paper. The typical data interchange is based on purchase orders and invoices.

Retailers require all data to fit their standardized format. If not done properly, it can cost you precious time and create unnecessary chargeback fees. Fulfillment Plus accurately interprets and then translates all data so that it is formatted properly. In fact, just about all larger retailers such as Walmart, Target, Walgreens, etc. require EDI be used for each order regardless if a fulfillment company is used or not. If you’re looking to work with the bigger retail chains than EDI is a system you can’t avoid.

The Benefits of EDI
EDI is standardized. It is a universal (though very antiquated) system. Thereby making it much more efficient as the steps are the same no matter what retailer. Not only does it save time because all transactions are standardized, but it decreases the margin of errors.

Requirements for Being EDI Compliant
EDI compliance involves either buying or outsourcing the following components*:

  • Software for communications
  • VAN service for EDI transmission
  • Mailboxing of EDI transactions
  • Mapping and translation software
  • Installing upgrades to software as needed
  • Mapping labor
  • Testing with EDI trading partners
  • Upgrades for new versions required by trading partners

How EDI Works
A buyer prepares an order within the retailer’s purchasing system and has it approved. Next, the EDI order is translated into an EDI document format called an ‘850 purchase order’. The 850 purchase order is then securely transmitted to the supplier either via the internet or through a VAN (Value Added Network). This is all done without human interaction.

This will ensure speed and accuracy in all transactions, all while saving money usually spent on labor. Errors due to illegible faxes, lost orders, or incorrectly taken phone orders are all eliminated, saving your staff and company valuable time from handling data disputes. Not only will labor costs decrease, but other costs associated with paper, printing, reproduction, storage, postage, and document retrieval are all reduced or eliminated when you switch to EDI.
In conclusion, EDI is a very valuable and resourceful system to work with. It not only helps you acquire leads but also makes your transactions run much smoother. Fulfillment Plus offers EDI along with many other benefits for our clients such as; assembly work to packing and shipping your product anywhere in the world, as well as promotional programs and social media. Whatever your business needs, we have the knowledge, expertise, and contacts to make sure your job gets done right the first time.

 

* Source of information here

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The Evolution of Fulfillment

In the past, it used to be that ecommerce fulfillment was almost 100% retail and etail businesses.  Slowly but steadily, B2B enterprises are jumping into the market and are becoming a much larger part of the fulfillment world.

Historically, fulfillment has been considered to be the “back-end” of an operation, a necessary cost after everything else has been decided.  That old-fashioned approach changed drastically during the E-Commerce era. It started to put a huge toll on companies because they could not keep up with the volume of orders or had limited space to house the inventory. This in result also puts a strain on other parts of the business. In addition to solving these issues, the realization that fulfillment is indeed a place where other strategic imperatives, such as brand building, maintaining a relationship and driving down costs, can be achieved.  Once this message started spreading, it did not take B2B companies long to realize that the exact same imperatives are applied in their business model.

Many astute marketers from both B2B and B2C, now consider fulfillment to be just as important as any other component of a marketing initiative.  An obvious example of this is how the use of the internet has been incorporated into the fulfillment processes, resulting in strategic or integrated fulfillment systems.

The client who sells direct to the consumer and the client who sells to other businesses, each demand a high level of service, along with specific technological and reporting needs.  But, it is the fulfillment partner that can create the exceptional customer experience (either consumer, or business) that gains the competitive advantage.

Over the years, consumers have evolved from a product-led to a consumption-driven economy.  In today’s competitive environment, it is the fulfillment provider’s responsibility to create an exceptional customer experience for their clients.  The way in which products are received, whether by a consumer, or a business, is the VERY first impression the recipient has of a business.

Fulfillment, by definition, is that part of the business process that plans, implements and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse flow of goods, services and related information from the point of origin to the point of consumption in order to meet customer’s requirements.  What is important to recognize is the means by which the B2B client demands satisfaction, are very different than those of a B2C company.

Whether Business to Business or Direct to Consumer, achieving a great client experience is the cornerstone of client satisfaction.  Fulfillment Plus Inc. not only exceeds its reputation in client satisfaction, but we are also top of the line when it comes to our in-house technology and the ability to handle requests of any nature. We are not your typical “cookie cutter” fulfillment center, but instead the fulfillment center that caters to your needs and demands.    

 

gift

Effectiveness of Gift with Purchase, and How to Execute

Gift with purchase is one of the more effective marketing tactics that companies use. Who doesn’t love “free” items? It’s a great way to up-sell customers, or get them to your site and/or in the door to purchase an item. We’ve all seen the promotional offers of “with a $75 purchase, you will receive a free (insert product here)! So as a customer is checking out, and they are only $5 away from that free item, most of the time they will go back and purchase additional products to get that freebie.

The most important part is to pick the right product to advertise as your gift with purchase. As a business, you should know your clientele best and what will entice them. You also want to keep in mind that this complimentary product should support and improve your business. For example, DSW came out with a promotion that you receive a free virtual DSWreality headset with purchase of any women’s, men’s or kids’ New Balance shoes. In this partnership (DSW and New Balance) they are targeting a specific clientele; active wear and those interested in an active lifestyle, but also appealing to the new generation of the electronic world with the Virtual Reality Headset. Other companies such as Victoria Secret, were recently giving away a free tote bag with any $75 purchase.

Once you’ve established the ideal product, next is to pick the right time. Some business choose to promote these offers during their busy seasons; holiday shopping, back to school, etc to help increase their sales. But if you’re a company that does really well during those times, why give free items to consumers who are already going to be purchasing? Offering gift with purchase during your slower season, will help increase your business because you’re giving consumers an extra incentive to buy.

Now you have your product and when you’re going to advertise, the next step is how to properly market and execute the promotion. The most important step here is to make sure inventory_managementthat you have enough inventory. There is nothing worse than a dissatisfied client, and even though the item might be free, this might have been the sole cause of the initial purchase. This is an important step where your fulfillment company can help. Fulfillment Plus Inc. can help you plan how much you need, and make sure it gets shipped quickly and efficiently.

In addition to ensuring there is enough product, it’s also important to market it accurately. You want to make sure that the directions are very clear, and that it’s stated “while products last”. Other details to include are how long the offer is valid for, and exactly what the consumer needs to obtain the gift with purchase. Another aspect in marketing your product is the packaging and branding, this can make all the difference between a successful campaign vs a failed campaign. A good idea is to include your branding or something that will remind the consumer of where they received the free gift so they will be a repeat customer!

Finally, if you employ a sales staff, offering sales incentives or employee incentives are very popular during the 1st and 2nd quarter of the year. Now would be a great time to time to plan for 2018. These campaigns are used to incentivize employees/sales people to strive to hit personal goals and beyond in order to achieve a certain prize being offered on an internal intranet that only employees can see. This can be as simple or as complex as you like.

Everyone loves a good competition and employees (especially sales people) love the thrill of the chase and the satisfaction of achieving business goals.