Do you order branded holiday gifts to show appreciation to your customers and/or employees? If so, you'd better start now, or you may end up feeling like the Grinch stole your Christmas.
The fallout from last year's shutdowns is far from over. The economy is on the upswing, but that isn't preventing the problems we're seeing in the promotional products industry. The impact of last year is creating delays and inventory shortfalls even now.
At the height of the shutdown, importing and production slowed to a trickle. But as 2020 wore on demand increased faster than expected, and industry producers couldn't keep up.
Some of our favorite promotional vendors are experiencing production delays, with supply chain issues and hiring woes leaving them unable to work at their normal (pre-COVID) pace. Many are not accepting rush orders at all. Production times may be longer than you expect, which means the timeline for ordering your year-end customer and employee appreciation gifts has moved up a lot.
China and Southeast Asia used to provide a cost advantage for promotional products producers, but with the supply chain so severely interrupted last year, those regions have experienced long delays in product delivery. Even where they're back up to speed, they're no longer the low-cost producers they once were.
And then there’s getting the orders where they need to go. Even with products that are 100% US-made, the whole shipping industry is seeing slowdowns and rising costs.
So don't count being able to shop at the last minute for your favorite customers or employees this year. Your best bet is to start sooner (now!), and work with a distributor (ahem - like us!) with the expertise and connections to help you find the best options for your timeframe and budget.
We have our fingers on the pulse of the promo products industry and suppliers with deep inventory of US-made products. We're still recommending placing orders at least two months earlier than you have in the past.
One way to shorten the timeframe is to have gifts shipped directly to your customer or employee. Kitting and drop shipping are much more efficient than sending them to our warehouse (or your office) first. We can help you source and ship beautiful packages worry-free.
We're watching availability and lead times closely within our trusted supplier network , but the bottom line is this: If you normally order holiday gifts in November (or even October!), you'll need to update your strategy this year. Order now to avoid missing holiday deadlines and disappointing your customers & staff.
We can help you put together creative gift packages on budget and on time. Contact us to get the conversation started now!