Want to offer your product as a corporate gift – read this first!
With the corporate gifting market almost doubling every year, there is an increasing hunger among most product makers to enter their product on a corporate gifting catalogue some how. I say some how, because I see blind desperation in their language, their emails and even the way they present themselves. Having been in the corporate gifting industry since 1997, we’ve seen the ups, downs, U-turns, bends and bumps of this journey that is so alluring that even a stationery shop at the end of the road, or housekeeping material supplier is turning into a corporate gifting outfit overnight.
The initial 15 years of the game, we projected ourselves (thegivingtree.in) as a pure environment friendly corporate gift house. Until 2012, when it became difficult to offer more products to my best clients, due to a paucity of enough new options in earth friendly gifts. No matter how much they loved our work, they were tempted to do gadgets, apparel, bags and other such products as gifts. Like any company, that wants to keep its customers happy, we did what was the most logical thing to do – expanded our offering. Since the last 5 years or so we got into all these standard corporate gifting items to keep our clients happy and to also look like a full blown corporate gift house.
That brought us to the point where every other day we are flooded with mails and calls from people wanting to sell baby food, protein bars, maternity gift sets, manicure sets, premium teas and coffees and so on. While it has given us a great opportunity to see what new products are arriving in the market, it is also overwhelming to see products that are best suited for retail also insisting that they be added to our catalog.
Can you create a product that staggers and disrupts the marketplace by the quality of its individuality, its utility and the problem solving it provides?
No matter what product you make and are keen to enter the corporate gift market, here is a quick checklist that will help you see if your product is a right fit for the corporate gift market or not.
- Can you deliver orders as low as 50 nos. to begin with?
This will help you keep your inventory low, and will give the buyer a good taste of your product and service with a small quantity being ordered. Make sure your backend is robust enough to handle larger orders too.
- Can you deliver within a week once the order is placed?
Understand that the corporate world is highly unorganized when it comes to doing their gifting. It’s almost as if they think a night before the event and then scramble the market for gifts.
- Have you worked out reseller margins?
In this business, unless you don’t have a double digit margin to offer, it does not make commercial sense for anyone to publicize you to their customers for wafer thin margins in return.
- Does your product fall under the usual category of corporate gifts?
If yes, what is your USP? Why should a buyer opt for your product as opposed to existing ones in the market? You can use success stories and testimonials for this one.
- Is your product a new innovation or a new idea?
If yes, then are you ready with a story to sell it? Stories are a great way to sell a new product in the market, because remember, as humans we all resonate more with stories. If not a story, do you have your USP ready? And most importantly, why do you think a corporate company would want to buy your product? What is the demand for something like let’s say maternity gift sets? Assess the need before you take the plunge.
- Get real – is this the best segment for your product?
If your product is better suited for retail sale – it makes sense to stay away from the corporate gifting segment and dive into an online retail presence, or supply to stores that are a good fit for your product. This allows you to test the market before beefing up your production.
Remember, while the corporate gifting segment is very tempting, it comes with its risks and setbacks. Be aware, consult with a mentor, or have a real conversation with a corporate gift house to understand if your product is a good fit. Make sure you invest your time, energy and money in activities that help your product get more eye balls and sales. And this will happen when you know who is your target audience and what places do they visit often!
The Giving Tree