eCommerce is playing an ever-increasing role – also on the promotional products market. Large service providers are elbowing their way into the B2B business. Hence, alongside printed material and advertising items in the meantime promotional products and textiles can also be found in Flyeralarm’s online shop. eppi magazine spoke with Igor Zanovskiy, General Manager Product at Flyeralarm, about competitive advantages, delivery times and personal consulting.
Mr. Zanovskiy, what incited Flyeralarm to enter the promotional products market?
Igor Zanovskiy: One of our business fields with the strongest growth is advertising technologies. We offer everything that companies need to make a professional appearance at trade fairs and the point-of-sale, from counters and cabinets, to displays, roll-ups and flags, through to lamps and complete exhibition stands. We also take care of the construction on request. More and more frequently customers asked us if it wasn’t possible for us to provide the matching trade show give-aways too. We reacted to these needs five years ago starting off with classic promotional products such as ballpoint pens and cigarette lighters. In the meantime, our range of products has grown significantly and is divided up into the product worlds give-aways, office supplies, electronics and accessories, drink cans, sweet advertising and snacks, cups, glasses, umbrellas, bags, games & leisure, car accessories and seasonal specials. On top of that we have around 100 other products in reserve that we will gradually introduce into our shop.
Which customer requirements is your offer geared up for?
Igor Zanovskiy: We deliver both minimum quantities and complete truckloads. So, a one-man company is in good hands with us just as much as internationally- operating groups. Here is an example: Our line-up includes drinking cans that we can offer individually customised for minimum order quantities of 24 pieces. We can just as easily supply order volumes of 80,000 pieces.
Does the individual imprinting of the offered promotional products completely occur from one source?
Igor Zanovskiy: As a printing specialist, it is our objective to customise the items in-house as far as possible. We produce in eight German locations and dispose of modern machinery that we constantly invest in. Since we are listed as premium partners with several printing machine manufacturers, we have the advantage that we can contribute towards the development of new machines that meet our special requirements. Furthermore, we fall back on our own know-how. Here, particularly the imprinting of 3D items continually faces us with new challenges. Every time we introduce a new item to our product range we have to ask ourselves the question, what printing method we are going to implement. In this way, for example, we converted and reconfigured an existing machine to embellish our Christmas tree bauble. Whether it is a paper product, advertising technology items or haptic advertising media – one thing always applies: All of Flyeralarm’s printed materials are “printed in Germany“.
How many promotional products suppliers do you currently collaborate with and which criteria do your partners have to fulfil?
Igor Zanovskiy: We work in certain segments, above all for foodstuffs, where the regulations are very strict together with external companies and around ten promotional products suppliers are among our partners. Attention is paid to a certain regionalism when selecting partners, i.e. we look for manufacturers and suppliers in Germany and often find them in the close vicinity. The share of goods from the Far East is in contrast extremely low and tends to be the exception. In addition to our offer of standard products, we also try to individually accommodate extravagant customer requirements. That is what distinguishes us from the competition.
Where do you see further competitive advantages compared to other promotional products suppliers?
Igor Zanovskiy: The criteria service, quality, speed and price, which distinguish us in our core market of print products from our fellow competitors are also significant in the promotional products segment. A further important theme is transparency: The user can track all processing steps online and can always see the current status of his order from the printing, to the packaging, through to the dispatch. The young generation that has grown up with the Internet and moves through the web intuitively, is increasingly taking over decision-making positions which we are profiting from. We process around 15,000 orders every day and coordinate the dispatch of far more than 20,000 consignments; we wind up 90-95% of these orders completely online. Our IT team constantly works on optimising the ordering processes. Our longstanding eShop experience also proved to be an advantage for us when setting up and expanding our promotional products shop, which is very work-intensive due to the large selection of items.
And what happens if the customer needs a personal dialogue?
Igor Zanovskiy: Then, he simply contacts our customer service via the interactive web chat, our hotline or the callback service. If there isn’t a suitable employee available, we call back within the shortest time possible or at the determined desired time. If the enquiry concerns a promotional product, the customer is connected with a specially trained employee, who will advise him in the respective language. We support smaller companies that don’t have their own graphic department with layout proposals for the optimal design of the items. Pure online processing becomes no longer possible in the case of custom-made designs at the latest – i.e. for the realisation of individually shaped USB sticks – rendering personal customer service indispensable. Furthermore, our service concept includes onsite support. We have 11 flagship stores across Germany – we recently opened up our second subsidiary in Berlin – and we are also represented internationally with shops in 14 countries. Here, the customers can gain inspiration live from product samples, develop layouts together with our employees, place orders and pick up deliveries. We also have a field service.
How fast can you deliver?
Igor Zanovskiy: We offer an overnight service for many products. For print products the data acceptance and payment deadline is 12 noon; for promotional products 10 a.m. The customer then already receives his goods on the following working day. What’s more, we have also introduced the Same Day service for flyers and business cards. Here, the order has to arrive by 9 a.m. at the latest so that the customer can pick up his order from one of our stores after 5.30 p.m. It is planned for this option to become possible for part of our promotional products range soon. The prerequisite for this is large stocks. At the moment our haptic advertising media are stored on 1,600 m² that offers approx. 500 pallet storage places.
What are your next steps?
Igor Zanovskiy: We would like to offer our customers an allround care-free package including all marketing services that they need for a successful brand and company presence. This includes all disciplines, so we are already offering customers advertising and image films. In this way, we are once again demonstrating that we have retained our maker mentality since founding the company fourteen years ago. We don’t shy away from treading new ground – offering haptic advertising is an example of this.
// Jasmin Oberdorfer spoke with Igor Zanovskiy
photos: Flyeralarm GmbH