Thought Leadership

The secret for success in a post-covid world: How to spark joy & cultivate community with branded gifts

Dreamship's CEO, Bill Bricker, comments on the promotional swag industry and where it is headed in the wake of the pandemic. The Print-on-Demand industry is automating the way companies engage with prospects and employees in a new remote world.

With more employees, clients, and prospects working from home, it is more important than ever for businesses to find ways to engage with their employees, colleagues, and clients. Remote work is likely here to stay awhile, and with events and conferences canceled, marketers and HR departments have come up with unique ways to connect with customers and employees.

Lower value gifts and give-aways, while popular in the past, have become basic commodities and are therefore less desirable. The fact is they just aren’t special enough to resonate with the recipient. B2B businesses are intent on leaving a lasting impression when they are engaging prospects or employees with a gift, especially given that one on one, in-person contact, is so limited these days. Companies who adopt ways to automate gift giving while still making it the recipient feel special and connected will be moving towards the future of at home engagement.

Many companies are turning to custom branded swag to motivate employees and engage their customers. Statistics show that branded company swag is on the rise, with 54% of companies stating in 2020, that they plan to increase their swag spend in the next year. On average, companies spend $185k annually on swag inventory alone and they are seeking simple ways to manage and streamline fulfillment and save budget dollars at the same time.

But while the demand for branded swag is peaking, the problem is that many employee engagement and gifting platforms struggle to find a streamlined process of managing their swag strategy. In the past, businesses were tied to purchasing large inventories from multiple vendors, making the management of sending custom products complex and extremely costly. Large inventories meant a large investment, an investment that did not always produce the high-quality products that wow customers. 

Dreamship, a Print-On-Demand (POD) middleware technology, seeks to solve the issue of custom product management and fulfillment. For those that are new to the Print-On-Demand industry, POD technology allows business owners to order one custom item without committing to a full inventory minimum. Here is a real-world example, let’s say an Account Manager wanted to order one beach towel with their top seller's name on it, Dreamship's single point API allows this to become a reality without storing a box of 40 towels in the office storage closet. The client gets only what they need and is able to cut down on overstock and wasted budget. Dreamship also has a network of trusted suppliers who have been heavily vetted for product quality and production turn-around.

Dreamship has partnered with Adobe Photoshop API which allows gifting platforms (companies) to seamlessly upload thousands of custom 1-off designs. Dreamship has built tech-first partnerships with brands like Cooleaf, Gifted, Snappy, and Wishlist allowing their partners to open up new revenue streams while cutting out the frustrating management of custom products. 

Micha Berkuz ,CEO of Gifted (an employee recognition and engagement solution)was eager to expand Gifted’s offering to answer every aspect of the employee experience. “After looking for every solution out there, we realized that the idea of offering our clients a SWAG solution that does not require a long set up process, no minimums or pre-ordered inventory and the flexibility of controlling their designs and products was a key factor in moving forward and building our SWAG infrastructure”, Micha commented. He went on to say that “after years of working in the gift card industry, with traditionally low margins, the idea of incorporating the Dreamship platform to increase our margins and have a better GMV to actual revenue ratio is key to the future growth of Gifted”.

Companies, like Gifted, in the employee engagement space that jump on this custom swag opportunity will be able to differentiate themselves and offer a solution that clients are already asking for. With little investment risk (no platform fees and no inventory commitment), partnerships built with POD tech have a strong upside for business leaders to make a considerable margin on every transaction. Companies who do not capitalize on automating their unique gift giving could miss the boat on a win win opportunity to increase their margin while making clients and employees feel special.

A paradigm now exists in which businesses can engage their customers with more robust and memorable product offerings with limited investment in people, processes, and technology. With the management of vendors and zero upfront cost, business leaders are able to expand their catalogs into the branded swag market to ensure growth and scalability.

Bill Bricker

Published 5/17/2021