2020, and now 2021, will be remembered for the devastating effects of Covid 19. It’s forced many people and companies to rethink the way they operate. Adapting has become key to survival, and the world of branded merchandise is no different.
Many merchandise companies have had to look at what they sell, who they are selling to, why they are being bought and how they distribute. Here are some key changes we’ve seen in the last 12 months and how it has led us to our newest product range, SLIM Swag Letterbox Merchandise.
Very early on in the pandemic, we saw a change in sales to our staple products. For example, the ever handy tote bag, a key component at most trade shows and events, became less popular with all shows and conferences being cancelled under lock-down. Instead, people were asking us for company face coverings and branded hand sanitisers. This led to many of our factories and suppliers having to change how they work. Our umbrella factory started making face coverings and a reusable packaging company began producing sustainable, refillable hand sanitisers. This early requirement to supply personal protective equipment to staff and customers was one of the first opportunities for branded merchandise companies to earn some new business and become a more flexible company in regards to thought processes and product ranges.
We try and ask all of our customers who their branded products are for and how they will be used. This information helps us to get a better view of our customers and our business and allows us to provide a better and more effective service. Since the first Covid lock-down in March 2020, we’ve found that a lot more of the branded swag we’ve supplied has been for staff instead of the usual event giveaways or sales incentives. Some of it has been to facilitate remote working, like laptop bags and charge banks. Other clients have just wanted to give their staff a gift to make them smile and to say thank you. The impacts of Covid 19 have had a real effect on many people’s mental health, especially through these recent winter months. It’s been great to see companies take a real interest in their employees’ well-being.
Any company worth their weight will know exactly who it is they are selling to. They’ll probably have a profile of their average customer; their age, job title, average spend etc. We’ve also seen a change in this as companies have adapted how they work in the last 12 months. If you think about the “WHATS” and the “WHYS” we’ve mentioned above then it isn’t very surprising. We’ve seen less enquiries from event managers and sales managers (that’s not to say there haven’t been some) and a definite increase in enquiries from HR managers, PAs to directors and senior team leaders. This increase was particularly noticeable around Christmas time. Companies normally have a shindig or Christmas party around the holidays but this year that wasn’t possible with government restrictions. Instead, many companies wanted gifts sent to their employees’ homes and a lot of these enquiries came from new kinds of contacts. It also brings us on to our last point…
HOW – Our Letterbox Range
From late October 2020, a huge portion of our enquiries were asking for us to ship their merchandise to individual homes. This is something we’ve had before but it’s been pretty rare. Normally these enquires would be large and require some kind of longer term or larger fulfillment deal. These new enquiries were a combination of companies wanting to send Christmas gifts to staff and companies wanting to send corporate gifts to their top clients. Normally this gifting would be done in person or at the very least, people in the office would be able to receive their goods and have the time and space to ship them out themselves. We saw a big opportunity here to adapt our business once more, solve a problem our clients were having and bring in a new type of merchandise product. Our new SLIM SWAG Letterbox Range was born. Not only a range of goods that could be posted to individual addresses, which a few of our competitors had also begun to look at, but products that would go through the letterbox. This reduces postage costs and gives our client piece of mind that their items will be safely delivered and received.
The last 12 months has seen the world of merchandise and Brandelity as a company adapt. We’ve done so whilst keeping true to our ethos of a personalised customer experience and where possible, a focus on sustainable and eco-friendly gifts. It’s been a roller-coaster ride for many but we hope that the emergence of new ideas, new types of companies and a renewed appreciation for family and a healthy lifestyle, will bring some small positives from this pandemic.
If you’d like to speak to us about any of your merchandise needs, please contact our team on email@example.com