Velocity Marketing Asset Management

Online storefronts – customized products

There are many names associated with online solutions or storefronts. At Velocity we call our platform VELO™ because it covers so much more than a simple order site. I will publish a series of posts to cover some of the options that should be considered for any storefront to get the ultimate control.

The ability to create custom branded items whether it is print, promotional items or other products provides impactful marketing materials to your clients. The control over the level of customization is provided by the client and of course your brand is always protected. The user can then choose a variety of customization methods and images and logos can even be stored in a shared library for easy retrieval. The other nice piece is that all customized products show an instant virtual proof for the user’s approval prior to submitting any order.

Prudential e-Solution

Prudential e-Solution

These orders can also be sent through additional approval levels prior to submission to provide you the ultimate control over your products and order quantities. Giving the ability to customize products to your users can be not only a huge time saver, but also give them the branded items they are looking for. This can be great for business cards, but also provide for customized brochures, apparel and more.

The screen capture shows a sample of a customized brochure that allows the user to enter a detailed description, add a photo and even append a mail list to create a customized mailer.

Online storefronts – reports

There are many names associated with online solutions or storefronts. At Velocity we call our platform VELO™ because it covers so much more than a simple order site. I will publish a series of posts to cover some of the options that should be considered for any storefront to get the ultimate control.

A storefront or online order site needs to be built with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is the login process, the middle is the products and how they will be ordered, and the end is perhaps the most important and also most underutilized part of most sites. The end is the gold, the reports that the site can generate.

inventory and usage report

The goal is to provide useful intelligence that can strengthen your site. We give you access to the reports, but we also provide our own analysis of the statistics. It is from this intelligence that you will discover average inventory turn-time, best order practices, reports of user activity and much more that will give you full control of the process and also let you maximize your budget.

total spent report

As a site matures, the statistics provide important information on trends, reorder points, peak times, top users and hot items. The analytics can often tie your marketing materials directly to your top sellers and also make sure that the latest materials are available in the field.

Online storefronts – the products

There are many names associated with online solutions or storefronts. At Velocity we call our platform VELO™ because it covers so much more than a simple order site. I will publish a series of posts to cover some of the options that should be considered for any storefront to get the ultimate control.

Allowing products to be ordered is only a small piece of the puzzle, controlling the entire process and gathering intelligence that can be used for better control over your marketing assets is powerful and can lead to major savings both in purchasing as well as time.

online storefront with products

The products are easy, right? You add all your marketing materials and voila, let the ordering begin. Not really, the options for the products can be much more in-depth.

First you must start with making the products easy to browse. If you have many different products, you need to make it easy for everyone to find the items they need. This is accomplished in multiple ways:

  1. Categories – maybe you have a category for printed items, promotional products and signage. The categories can provide a quick jump to the items you are looking for.
  2. Item #’s – If each product has a unique item identifier this can be searchable within the storefront and also make sure the latest version is being used.
  3. Products can be a mix of printed items, hard goods and also e-files. This is useful when someone needs a quick file to email or just one for reference.
  4. Customized or versioned products can be added to a storefront and also provide a unique way to protect your branding and also give flexibility. With real-time proofing and on-demand printing customized products can be very cost effective.

The great thing with a good storefront is that if you begin by building a good framework you can easily add products and categories as needed. A good provider should spend lots of time asking questions about how you will be using your site and guide you through the options that are available.

What customers think – the good, bad, and ugly

By Jim Stiles, CEO

For quite some time now we have run a program of generating surveys for a quick response from our clients asking if they were satisfied with the product and service they received on their last order. The feedback we received has been excellent and we greatly appreciate the responses. Sharing positive feedback with the staff goes a long way with helping to keep our staff positive and letting them know their hard work pays off. Recently, in a large survey response we were overwhelmed with positive feedback which clearly showed we are the BEST supplier in the industry. Well, I am a realist and understand no company is that perfect. We are all still human and not SUPER Velocity Print Solutions who can print at the speed of a bullet, bend steel with our paper cutting machines, or even stop a locomotive to make a job happen on time. There has to be clients who did not feel fully satisfied with our services. Unfortunately, not all clients are willing to say so and it is those I worry about. After all, if I just gave positive feedback to my son and never commented on how he might improve on something how would he ever learn?

I am sure that not all clients are comfortable complaining to the business because perhaps they feel their complaints will fall on deaf ears or they will be labeled as a complainer or perhaps it just wasn’t worth the trouble. One big thing stopping negative feedback I’m sure is that the client does not want to throw a sales person or customer service representative under the bus. To that point, I do not know of many professionally run companies who hang staff from the rafters if a little professionally presented criticism came in from a client. Any business needs criticism and constructive feedback to grow and improve their products and service levels. The little things matter. Did we keep you informed through the process? Did you have to wonder at any point where your job was or when someone would get back to you? Was the invoice timely and accurate? While it is just fantastic to receive positive feedback it’s really the small things that possibly annoy or take up your time that a survey is trying to unearth and provides the most valuable feedback to a company.

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