Guest Column - September/October 2009

Giving More for Less

How Expanding Fulfillment Services Can Help You Stand Out

By Dana Slockbower


hese days, it seems that people are seeking out more than just great products and services across many industries. Customers, clients, vendors—anyone investing time and money into their purchases—are not only looking for more for less but expecting it. As a result, the term "value added" is thrown around now more than ever, and it is a trend that has staying power.

Why is this? Beyond the simple explanation that tougher economic times force us to take a closer look at how customers spend money, there is a greater opportunity that lies ahead. Companies that offer services beyond what is expected are the ones that are able to differentiate and be successful. Customers are savvier; they are doing their research and asking the right questions. Everyone is holding onto their money closer than ever. It's what is expected.

So, how do these consumer purchasing patterns play out in the global incentive industry? For Rymax, a full-service solutions provider, it means thinking beyond the customer's need and seeing what will set their program apart from the rest. As a dominant player in the incentive world, we go above and beyond a part each of our customer's expectations and find areas to deliver more "best in class" service in each aspect of the reward experience.

As a means of enhancing our customer's experience, we have carefully researched three areas: brand knowledge and trend expertise, the delivery experience, and a dedicated customer relationship approach. We have evaluated each of these functions and have concentrated on how we can continually improve our overall customer experience. Each area is equally important to obtaining loyalty and high client retention—especially in a down economy.

Lead the Pack, Don't Just Follow

The only way to maintain loyalty while staying a cut above the rest is to differentiate. Finding your niche will help you solidify your position as a market leader. Having direct access to some of the most exciting consumer brands continually helps us to provide clients with extensive reward options.

Why are comprehensive reward programs so important? Because program recipients want the latest and greatest reward items that are hitting retail shelves. Bottom line—a positive experience will generate more engagement and loyalty. Most incentive program redemptions mimic the consumer world. In fact, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal consumption expenditures rose 0.3 percent and Real Disposable Personal Income increased 1.6 percent in May. By applying a similar approach to your reward selections, you can help increase program satisfaction.

We add value with a dedicated merchandising team that works closely with our purchasing department to source and secure the latest in consumer trends. This business model helps obtain product allocation for our customers even before an item is released to the market. Another important point is that we have secured volume pricing through our 200-plus existing factory partnerships. Our team of new brand development experts is consistently evaluating new brands. This means knowing "what's hot and what's not" on a global level, as consumer trends vary, not only by country, but also by region.