As supply chain challenges continue throughout 2021—and expected in 2022—promotional products distributors need to prepare themselves and their clients for the inevitable holiday season. The holidays remain the busiest time of year for most companies and despite the shortcomings in product supply and shipping delays, we’re sharing effective guidance to combat these ongoing industry trends.

 Tips for Promotional Product Holiday Orders

 Order Holiday Products Now 

If you and your clients haven’t already, you need to order holiday products. “The biggest thing that our affiliates, and other distributors can tell their customers is inventory isn’t there and to get your orders in now,” said Guy Dupuis, director of affiliate sales development at iPROMOTEu. The sooner you can order, the better chance you have for getting products shipped and in hand.

In addition, with the rise in e-commerce, retailers will also be shipping more than expected. “With the number of packages they will be handling, they may even be late with those dates,” said Dupuis. To try and combat these delays, USPS, UPS, and FedEx have recently posted drop dates for ordering and shipping in time for the 2021 holiday season.

Select Alternative Promotional Product Options

When delivering on client orders, there needs to be flexibility and understanding with reaching their expectations. Inventory holes are projected to last after the holidays, and products that may have been available last year may not be this year. “You have to have different options … supply chain just isn’t there,” said Gary Goodhart, director of affiliate sales development at iPROMOTEu.

Encourage your clients to be versatile and have back up options in case what they want is not available for their customers. Also ask how they are going to thank or share their appreciation for their employees or staff. Sharing reminders will not only help them get the products they want but will help alleviate any pain points due to holiday ordering.

Dupuis said, “Before you always got what you wanted. In normal years, you haven’t seen suppliers run out of stock at the end of the year like you do now.” 

Understand Name Brand Delays 

Even with the supply chain challenges, clients continue to request name brand products for their customers. Despite the delays, people are willing to wait for those brands. “Affiliates are always asking about name brands such as Yeti and Under Armour, and suppliers have a hard time getting those,” said Dupuis.

With this high demand in name brands, distributors should take extra precaution in finding and recommending substitutions to these valued products. Ensure your clients that they can order other promotional products to substitute name brands while not compromising on quality or satisfaction.

In addition, suppliers have increasingly added important information about the availability of their products. For example, many suppliers include ‘deep inventory’ in their promotional product descriptions to let clients know that there is a higher chance of receiving that specific product, especially during the busy holiday season.

Over-communicate with Clients

A piece of advice that can be used all year long: Stay in front of your clients. Don’t wait to call; it’s important to be proactive with all their ordering needs. As we all know, tradeshow season starts after the beginning of the year. With these ongoing delays and product demands, we need to stay ahead of it.

“If tradeshows are coming back in person like a lot of them are, I recommend reaching out to clients and ask, ‘what does tradeshow season look like for you this coming year?’ If they’re happening, we should talk about those now,” said Dupuis. As you navigate these challenges for tradeshows and beyond, prepare your clients with reassurance and guidance on how to fulfill their promotional product orders.

Especially for the upcoming 2021 holiday season, these tips will help you and your clients remain successful. If you’re a promotional product distributor needing assistance with ordering for the holidays, we’re here to help. Connect with iPROMOTEu today to learn more or become an affiliate.