Safely Navigating the Merchandise Purchasing Journey

Looking for a branded merchandise supplier?  What should you expect from a professional promotional product provider? Do you know how to keep your brand safe when buying branded merchandise?

The market consists of two key branded product suppliers: business / corporate gift companies and global sourcing companies.

Business Gift or Corporate gift companies generally buy locally from a selection of importers and a small selection of local manufacturers. Typically they work with off-the-shelf products which are then branded locally -using processes such as printing, embroidering, embossing etc.

On the other hand, Global Sourcing requires a vast and complex range of expertise: sourcing skills working with international markets; expertise in international trade and finance, such as working with letters of credit;  quality control and factory auditing; product compliance and testing for market compliance, logistics, global distribution and much more.

Which leaves you as the buyer looking for a clear route to brand safety!

What should you be looking for in your branded merchandise partner?

You want to see proven expertise in one or both of the above.  You might need a global sourcing company to manage your bespoke, made-to-order campaigns, and for them to be able to provide your local ad hoc campaigns simply branded from local stock.

A number of sourcing companies will only engage in high volume, large budget projects and are not able to to provide services in both local and global sourced materials.

We recommend that you carefully consider the following when choosing a supplier:
• Customer service
Accreditation – e.g. ISOs for quality and environmental management
• Memberships of related trade or international organisations
• Sustainability standards and certifications
• Audit and transparency reporting and related industry membership

Ask your supplier to provide case studies to demonstrate the types of work they provide, and ask them to explain how they manage product safety and brand guardianship, how they mitigate risk to your brand and organisation.

Check their memberships, certifications and accreditation to ensure they are what they say are, and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and client references.

Also check their website for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) credentials: what are they committed to doing on an ongoing basis, and does their offering fit with your own CSR and ethical requirements.

When you find the right partner – and this is absolutely about partnership – they will provide information, create innovative solutions, update you on trends, show you how to get the most from your marketing budgets and provide key expertise that both delivers for your brand and covers the needs of the business from a procurement and legal best practice perspective.

We have 20+ years in partnering with clients and delivering compliant, brand-enhancing promotional gifts and merchandise that are backed by the right due diligence because we care about our clients’ reputations and the safety of the clients’ consumers or customers.  We can advise you on how you too can protect your brand reputation. Contact our Client Services Director and Compliance Champion Becky Fleury on hello@sourcing.co.uk or +44 (0)20  8666 0781.

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