Bottom Line Up Front: Turn your next printed merch order into a branding opportunity by offering your customers more than just a stack of cool shirts. Find out how InkSoft can help you become a branding partner with customers and line up more long-term business.

What usually comes to mind when you think about what your customers need most? The short answer is custom-printed merchandise, but you might not realize that there’s much more to those orders than fun swag for your customers to tout around. In many cases, the products you’re printing for those customers are part of their branding. By taking a few extra steps in the ordering process, you can tap into their branding needs and establish yourself as a partner instead of just a shop printing goods. And you can use InkSoft’s tools to get there.

Popular products

Most print shops specialize in a couple of different types of printed merch:

Decorated apparel: This ranges from a classic T-shirt and hoodie to polos, caps, and beanies, depending on the types of decoration you offer. T-shirts are one of the most popular products for customer branding because they are affordable and can be used for everything from a fundraiser to corporate branding awareness.

Promotional products: Promo products are a massive category that includes everything from koozies, pens, and coasters to tote bags and coffee mugs. Promo products are a big part of branding campaigns for businesses that want an easy way to advertise their business and grow word of mouth reputation. Some of those businesses include banks, real estate offices, landscaping companies, and small businesses like restaurants and breweries. They’ll give customers free swag with company information printed on it after providing their services so that customer has a token to remember them by, but also ideally recommend that business to others.

Signage: Some printers who have the equipment also offer products in the signage category. Signage is a broad category that includes larger products like lawn signs, banners, floor decals, and smaller goods like stickers. Signage is a major component of branding for businesses that have a brick-and-mortar model since they need signage both inside and outside their building.

If your shop doesn’t offer signage, there are also third-party options, like InkSoft’s signage program. You can offer your customers signage with this program without buying equipment, inventory, or adding more staff. Use InkSoft’s signage-as-a-service to provide customized signs and banners, plus smaller goods like magnets, decals, and stickers.

Bundle those signage products with promo goods and apparel, and you’ve got a complete branding solution for all types of customers.

Keeping all three of these categories in mind can help you narrow down what to offer your customers if you’re interested in positioning yourself as a branding partner.

Dialing it in

You need basic background information to determine what products work best for your customer’s branding campaign. Here are key details to determine:

Purpose: How is the customer going to use this product? Is it a uniform program for employees, or is it something intended to build awareness with end customers?

Application: This information will often be similar to the first question, but it’s helpful to find out what those printed products will be used for. Is it for a fundraiser, a one-time campaign, or more of an ongoing retail item they want to offer buyers?

End Customer: Getting information on who your customer wants to sell or market their printed products will help you narrow down what to offer them. It’ll also help you narrow down what you need in terms of design work (if they haven’t provided you with suggestions/ideas). Details like demographics and company or organization type will help answer this question.

Using InkSoft to tie it all together

Here’s where InkSoft comes in. You’ve got several tools at your fingertips to turn a print job into an ongoing branding opportunity. Even if that job is a one-time event, using some of these features can help you stand ahead of the competition and wow your customers so they know they can come back to you with a reprint of the same order or set up a whole new campaign.

Samples: One of the most effective ways to get clients to commit is with product samples to better understand your shop’s capabilities. But not everyone has the overhead or the extra time to print a physical sample and arrange delivery to the customer. That’s why InkSoft Proposals can help you, and your team send those customers a mockup and finalize the sale quicker. Create mockups of those hats, shirts, coffee mugs, or whatever else you’re pitching to your customers without having to turn on the presses or leave the shop.

Moreover, you can add necessary details to that proposal, like types of services, shipping details, and payment information, so the entire order is intact in one easy-to-locate spot.

Online Stores: InkSoft Online Stores are a dynamic sales tool for all situations, and they work great as part of a customer’s branding solution. While they’re an excellent solution for your shop if you need a reliable, professional website with e-commerce functionality, InkSoft Stores are also perfect for all customers.

They’re mobile responsive, feature secure checkout, and easy to configure, which makes it a seamless experience for both customers and buyers.

You can use them for branding solutions like:

Corporate branding: For corporate clients with branded merch for personnel, you can build an apparel shop where all those products live and are easily accessible for employees. This is a win-win for you and the customer since it’s another way for them to promote their brand, and it’s an easier way for you to collect order information for a set of printed goods.

Brand awareness: Online storefronts also work well for customers focused on brand awareness. Whether it’s a temporary store for a fundraiser to generate buzz around their name and organization or an ongoing campaign, they can use online stores for both approaches. Your customers can also use features like a goal counter for short-term stores to incentivize their buyers to place their orders before it’s too late.

Ongoing Campaign: If your customer needs an online storefront for an ongoing branding campaign, you can build a storefront that is consistent with their branding and image but doesn’t stay stagnant. Easily swap out products and upload new ones to a storefront, so the store reflects whatever your customer currently wants to promote.

Better Order Forms

Whether your customer is taking orders for a fundraising event, employee swag, or another purpose, you can use InkSoft Stores as an online order form to cut down on paperwork. This is an excellent option for customer categories like hospitality, corporate apparel, church groups, or other local organizations.

This strategy also helps keep track of essential details like quantity and size to ensure everyone gets the products they ordered. And all product information is stored inside the platform. So, once the final order is placed and it’s time to start printing, your team has all the information they need to commence production.

Check out this detailed walkthrough for more detailed information on configuring a store as an order form.

In it for the long haul

The goal of giving your customers these resources is to establish yourself as a collaborator instead of just a print shop that produces their decorated shirts and coffee mugs.

You can build long-term relationships with the power of online storefronts, order forms, mockups, and strategic questions in the order creation phase. Customers will know they can rely on you for their branding campaigns thanks to an easy, fast, simple, and organized way of doing business online.

Ready to present yourself as a branding solution to more customers today? Contact a Client Advisor for a 15-minute, personalized tour of InkSoft.

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