We’ve done it before and we will keep creating content for you to learn how powerful swag and branded products can be.
When you’re looking to:
- Raise awareness of your brand
- Boost employee morale and maintain high levels of employee retention
- Thank your business partners
- Keep your social media audience engaged
You’re going to need a trusted swag company.
We’ve been around for a few decades now so we know just how challenging this can be.
For that reason, we’ve created the ultimate guide for you to find, evaluate, and choose the right swag company.
Table of Contents
What is a Swag Company?
A swag company, swag supplier, or swag distributor is a company that provides companies and professionals with branded products.
Branded products are items that feature your company’s branding such as colors, logo, and any taglines you may have.
They can be used for promotional purposes as a way for companies to connect with their audience.
Moreover, a swag company is essential in terms of sourcing corporate gifts.
Before we get into how to find and choose the right swag company to cover your merchandise needs, we want to highlight a shift in the industry.
For many people, swag used to be all about spammy and unnecessary branded items they’d thrown away almost immediately after receiving them.
However, in the past few years, there’s been a change of focus in terms of what promotional items are and what kind of stories they should be telling.
According to Bobby Lehew, CCO of promotional products software Commonsku, “today, swag is far more creative and more impactful than ever before”.
Bobby identifies, among other things, three main changes:
- Designs have become much more elevated and important
- Packaging has become more important because of conscientious buying and sustainability
- The whole experience of creating, sharing, and buying promotional items has gained a completely different meaning
Therefore, we understand that finding the right swag vendor is, nowadays, a process that needs much more thoughtfulness, research, and planning than in the past.
In other words, since swag has gotten more impactful and creative, companies need to make sure that they’re working with someone who understands their vision and will be able to put it into practice through promo items.
Having said that, we’re ready to start breaking down the process of finding the right swag company in a few simple steps.
Let’s dive into it.
Find the Right Swag Company in 5 Simple Steps (& Checklist)
You now know what a swag company is, but you’ve yet to learn how to find the right one.
We’ve specifically created a checklist to illustrate the individual steps you need to take in order to monitor the process of finding a swag company that’ll help you create the best company merchandise.
Let’s get into the first step.
Step #1: Set up your evaluation criteria
The first step in the process of finding, evaluating, and choosing the right swag company is to set up your evaluation criteria.
That’s essential because it’ll give you a very specific framework you can use to compare different companies and, ultimately, pick the one that meets your standards.
Some of the criteria you should definitely consider in terms of choosing a trusted merchandise supplier are the following:
- Personalization and customization options
- Product quality
- Product variety
- Shipping efficiency and capabilities
- Customer service capabilities
- Case studies and past projects
More specifically, you need to test the capabilities and potential of each individual swag business against various elements, such as the personalization and customization options they offer.
Do they give their clients freedom in terms of fully customizing products or do they just offer basic personalization options?
Similarly, it’s vital that you think of the product quality and product variety each company offers.
If you’re interested in creating custom t-shirts to promote your company’s rebranding, then you need to make sure that all swag companies on your list offer various high-quality products including, t-shirts, hoodies, and apparel options.
Likewise, if you’re interested in creating custom drinkware for an event or trade show, you need to check whether the swag companies in your list offer a wide range of personalized water bottles, branded tumblers, coffee mugs that can be personalized with a company logo, and so on and so forth.
Also, make sure that your evaluation criteria include the companies’ shipping capabilities; you need a partner who’s going to be able to cover your shipping needs.
For example, if you’re thinking of creating thoughtful kits for remote employees, you need to be sure that the swag company will be able to deliver all items to your team members’ homes.
Last but not least, another criterion you could add to the process is the pricing, and whether they’ve done similar projects in your niche.
Also, make sure to check the customer service capabilities of each business.
Is there someone on the other side of the screen you can talk to?
This is very important as it will give you the confidence that you have partners you can trust and rely on.
Author’s Note: The evaluation criteria mentioned in this section are indicative. Make sure to include the criteria that best describe your needs.
Let’s get to step number two.
Step #2: Make a list of the swag companies that meet your standards
After having set your evaluation criteria, it’s time for you to start making a list of the swag companies that meet your standards – so far!
Create a working list of companies that seem to tick all the boxes in relation to your merchandise needs.
Having a list will help you be more organized in the process and keep track of the advantages and disadvantages each company seems to have.
While making a list, make sure to keep track of the differences between those swag companies.
A very simple way to do so is to use our checklist to add comments in relation to the individual characteristics of each swag business.
Step #3: Check out their technology stack
The third important step in the process of finding and evaluating a good swag company is to check out its technology stack.
When we talk about technology, we’re not talking about whether they have the best gadgets, customized tech items, and tech accessories – even though that can also be useful to know!
On the contrary, we mean to check whether they have the tech tools you might need to create, share, or sell your best company swag.
Here are some elements you could look for when choosing a swag company:
- Software integrations
- Pop-up store creation
- User experience and user interaction (UX/UI)
Things in the merchandise industry aren’t how they used to be a few decades ago when everything seemed to be mostly about branded items given away at trade shows.
Even though giveaways at tradeshows are still relevant, you need to be able to take your company swag to the next level.
To do so, you need a supplier that’ll provide you with handy tools; for example, the ability to create your own pop-up store.
We offer our clients the opportunity to go on our website and select a type of company swag store they want to create:
Creating a pop-up shop will allow you to collect and keep track of orders from multiple shoppers while making sure that you sell branded products that have been pre-approved by you.
That’s just one example of a powerful tech weapon a swag company can offer.
Overall, it’s important that you make sure that the swag company you’re going to go with offers you a unified single system you can use to streamline the swag creation, production, and selling processes.
Let’s get to the next step.
Step #4: Take care of the important details
After having completed the first three steps, it’s time for you to look closer and take care of all the details.
We might call them “details”, but the truth is that they’re as important as any other part of the process.
When you get to this point, you should start thinking about things such as:
- Overall experience
The packaging, designs, and overall experience you create – for either people who get your branded items for free or those who buy them – are extremely important in terms of cultivating a strong company culture that generates positive impressions.
A pro tip here would be that you don’t have to find a vendor or company that offers design services or has design capabilities; that’s not their job!
All you need to do is to find a vendor that’ll consult you on the way your design should look and will also allow you to create mockups and have a look at working designs before committing to an order.
As straightforward as it can get!
For example, we’ve found that our clients are very happy with the fact that after having built their swag packs, they can get branded mockups based on their selections.
That allows them to build their swag packs with peace of mind knowing that there’s still time for improvement until they’re 100% happy with the result.
Keep reading to find the final step.
Step #5: Have a talk with the shortlisted companies
The final step in the process is to have a talk with the shortlisted companies.
Is it just one company that has it all or are you deciding between two different vendors?
Either way, having a talk with them will help you get a well-informed decision on whether these are the ones you should be taking your swag gifts from.
Moreover, it’ll allow you to understand what their approach is in terms of branded merch and whether they’d be a good fit for communicating your brand messaging successfully.
For example, if you’re looking for a curated selection of items and special corporate gifting, you should team up with a creative swag vendor that’ll come up with the most special ideas.
Here are some other use cases:
- Are you creating branded items for your new hires?
- Do you want to add personalization elements to the new employee onboarding process?
- Do you want to raise brand awareness of your startup?
Make sure to discuss with the shortlisted swag companies about the most prominent and most popular company swag ideas that resonate with your needs and audience.
We can only speak for ourselves and we’re delighted to be contacted to discuss your promo and corporate swag needs.
Below you can grab our checklist!
Plus, get to the bottom of this post to get some of the most frequently asked questions answered.
Grab Our Checklist
We’re done discussing the different steps in finding the all-in-one swag company that’ll not only source the best branded chargers, hand sanitizers, tote bags, and promotional keychains for you but will mostly be a reliable partner to you and your company.
We’ve already shown you screenshots from our handy checklist and explained how it works.
You can download the checklist and give it a go.
This will allow you to keep track of the process and make sure your unique swag items are in good hands.
Let’s wrap this post up.
Now Over to You
You’ve reached the end of our guide on finding, evaluating, and choosing the right swag company.
There’s not much left to say other than that the process explained in this guide is one that includes several steps and elements.
Our advice would be that you use this guide to make sure that the swag vendor you’re partnering with is a good fit for you and your brand.
Feel free to contact us if you want to discuss your swag options and see where a company merchandise journey can take you.
Thank you for reading 🙂
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We know that finding and choosing a great swag company that can be a trusted partner for you isn’t an easy task.
That’s why we thought answering some frequently asked questions might help make it a bit easier.
Q1. Why is partnering up with a swag company important?
Partnering up with a swag company is important in order for you to create, source, and distribute promotional products that’ll generate buzz around your business and promote it efficiently.
Q2. How can I find the right swag company?
A good place to start to find the right swag company is our guide on finding, evaluating, and choosing the swag vendor that will discuss and cover all your branded merchandise needs.
Q3. Is company swag necessary?
Company swag is absolutely necessary!
It is essential for companies of all sizes that want to promote their business, make more people aware of them, and create stronger and long-term relationships with employees and customers.