30 Nov

Holiday Promo Gifts Hit The Spot

Posted in Promotional Products on 30.11.11 by John Meloche

Having the Synergy Marketing Consultants Blog champion the practice of giving out promotional gifts is nothing new. But during the holiday season, it can only be expected that we are even more enthusiastic about this customer base-building activity. All year round, our reps discuss with their clients ways in which promo gifts can build their businesses.

Now that there are more customers visiting your store than at any other time of year, it only makes sense to take your efforts up a notch to encourage them to keeping coming back in the new year. One of the most important ways to impress your customers, and to make them feel values, is to simply take the time to get to know them.

During the holiday shopping rush, there will be less time for that. So it will be important to not forget the customers that you took the time to get to know throughout the rest of the year. To those customers, you will want to make sure that they go home with a “personal” promotional gift.

On CommisionOverloadScam.org this week, Henry Cato writes that “nothing is more satisfying than a treat that comes from the heart and is enjoyed by the stomach. Treat those buyers of yours who have been so great to you all year long by sending them sweet treats which will absolutely tempt the feelings and delight the senses.”

One of Cato’s suggestions is coffee or tea along with a promotional mug with your company name and logo on it. He writes that during the holidays, many people entertain guests. So is there a type of gift you can give that will not only be enjoyed by its recipients but by the people who visit them?

Our Christmas Card & CD is the perfect gift. Music, of course, can be shared. And with holidays parties taking place all season long, the chances of family and friends hearing the music that you gave out as a gift is very likely. This Christmas, make your company name the answer to the question, “Where did you get this CD?”.

Your holiday promo gift is a great way to thank your customers for the support that they have given you over the previous year. Of course, it is also a message that communicates that you wish for them to keep returning to your store over the coming years. Providing them with this sense of value and appreciation will have them do just that.

As Cato writes: “And once you are handing a promotional product to your buyers by way of thanking them for the enterprise that has been provided to you…don’t forget that this product can bring you even more chances in the upcoming year. Your clients won’t forget about it.”

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29 Nov

Tapped Out Tuesday?

Posted in News on 29.11.11 by John Meloche

With yesterday being Cyber Monday, there were certainly a lot more people sitting in front of their computers than normal. Not that using a computer isn’t already a widely-popular activity, but the savings to be had by shopping online yesterday was well worth the extra time in front of the monitor.

Cyber Monday – the Monday immediately following Black Friday every year – is a day when consumers can avoid long line ups and simply go online to shop and take advantage of significant savings. Participation in these festivities is widespread, as both Canadians and Americans have been known to take advantage.

With Black Friday traditionally being an American tradition, many Canadians feel compelled to have to cross the border to save on some of the hottest products available. On Cyber Monday, however, one needs not leave the comfort of his or her own home. But where can the best online deals be found?

This past Sunday, Dana Flavelle published an article on Moneyville.ca that questioned whether or not American retailers were providing better deals than their Canadian counterparts. Wrote Flavelle: “A pair of triple button Ugg boots for just $209 at a U.S. online retailer looks like a better deal than the $285 price tag on Ugg’s Canadian website.”

Meanwhile, once the duties, shipping and brokering fees were added, the U.S. retailer was found to have the higher price. $309.49, to be exact. It should go without saying then, that Canadian shoppers should definitely not be too hasty when making purchases from an American website.

Comparing prices and taking into consideration taxes as well as shipping and handling fees should definitely be part of the Cyber Monday spending process. If not, it’s possible you may not be saving so much after all. Flavelle reveals that a visit to BingShopping.ca will help online shoppers to compare prices from various websites.

She also notes that recent surveys have concluded that at least of half of Canadians will likely do some of their holiday shopping online. Cyber Monday, as we know it, essentially marks the beginning of the online shopping frenzy that is associated with the long line ups and huge crowds found during Black Friday events.

Flavelle writes that “Cyber Monday sales last year topped $1 billion across North America for the first time, a 16 per cent increase over the previous year.” And according to ClearlyContacts.ca, an estimated 80 per cent of Canadian online retailers planned to participate in the event this year.

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28 Nov

Welcome To Cyber Monday

Posted in News on 28.11.11 by John Meloche

This past week’s Black Friday shopping events were apparently the craziest in history! A number of reports came out before the weekend that shoppers at a Los Angeles Wal-Mart had been pepper sprayed by another shopper looking to get her hands on a particular item! It’s no wonder so many Canadians decided to stay home.

With today being Cyber Monday, many Canadian shoppers are taking the day to shop from the comfort of their own homes. The online equivalent to Black Friday, Cyber Monday features many retailers providing incredible discounts on items that may be purchased specifically online.

Last week, QMI Agency’s Stefania Moretti published an article that commented on the growing popularity of Cyber Monday. She notes that many shoppers simply despise crowded malls and they would rather do their shopping when there is less human traffic to deal with.

Well, the human traffic factor can’t get any more obsolete than when you are shopping online. One of the benefits of online shopping, Moretti points out, is that many retailers offer the option of having the purchases gift-wrapped and shipped directly to the recipient. Pretty convenient, huh?

It seems as if many Canadians agree. Moretti reveals that a recent American Express survey found that 20% of the respondents would “rather clean the house than visit a mall the week before Christmas; 8% would rather get a root canal. In all, 57% said they plan to shop online to avoid the crowds, score better deals and shop during off hours.”

Said American Express Canada’s Tracey Evans: “When you consider that 60% of Canadians make two to five trips to retail stores during the holiday season, and the gas and parking costs involved, shopping online not only makes sense from a time-saving perspective but also in terms of the holiday budget.”

Some members of the Synergy sales staff are on the same page. “Shopping online isn’t just the wave of the future. It’s the wave of today,” explained one of our reps, “It’s incredibly convenient. There’s nothing worse than trying to make your way through a crowded mall when shopping. A trip that should take five minutes takes an hour.”

“It’s true,” a co-worker chimed in, “That’s one of the reasons we allow our own clients to make purchases directly from our website. It’s quicker and easier in every way.” Happy online shopping everybody! If you plan on doing any holiday shopping online, today is definitely the day to do it.

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25 Nov

Cyber Monday Is Coming!

Posted in News on 25.11.11 by John Meloche

Welcome to Black Friday! If you haven’t crossed the border into the United States by now, you’re likely one of the many Canadians who feel that it is simply too much of a hassle to cross the border and line up in front of a store in the wee hours of the morning. As you read this, there is no doubt long line-ups that have transformed into shoving matches between people who wish to buy the same items from the same stores.

Sure, there is some solace in knowing that you’re not stuck in the middle of an unmoving crowd clamoring for what’s left of the most popular products. However, there is another reason to smile today if you feel that you’re missing out on big savings. And that would be Cyber Monday.

This coming Monday has become known as the Black Friday equivalent for online shoppers. Many people prefer Cyber Monday over its pre-weekend counterpart for the fact that it involves no long line ups – and no shoving! Instead, shoppers may relax in the comfort of their own homes and make purchases by using their computers.

“I tried it for the first time last year,” shared one of our Synergy reps this morning, “It was great. I ended up getting some DVD sets at half price, which of course was a bargain, even when you included the shipping costs. Cyber Monday is perfect for those who hate shopping in busy shopping malls.”

“The only thing that people may want to watch out for is clothing,” he continued, “You can’t try anything on when you buy online!”. And there lies one of the problems with Cyber Monday. Although, of course, you don’t necessarily have to do all of your shopping online. For some people, the thrill of the shopping atmosphere during the holiday season is a good enough reason to visit the stores.

“I prefer shopping in stores,” shared another co-worker today, “There’s something about the decorations and music and even the noise of all the other shoppers that just helps you to remember that Christmas is coming. Besides, when I’m in the mall, I enjoy meeting up with friends. It’s all part of the experience.”

Whether you enjoy shopping in stores or online, Cyber Monday still seems a very worthwhile occasion to take advantage of. For those items that don’t need trying on, you may want to consider jumping online Monday morning to discover what sales may be available.

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24 Nov

How To Make The Most Of Black Friday

Posted in News on 24.11.11 by John Meloche

In yesterday’s blog, we took a look at the annual extravaganza that is “Black Friday”. This coming Friday marks the day after American Thanksgiving, traditionally known as the day that retailers significantly slash their prices for customers looking to get a jump on the holiday shopping rush.

Since this is an American tradition, many Canadians feel compelled to cross the border in order to take advantage of the often-incredible discounts. However, as Dana Flavelle pointed out in a Moneyville.ca article this past weekend, there are a number of factors to be considered by southbound Canucks before indulging in Black Friday shopping excursions.

In today’s blog, we’d like to take a look at a few tips, offered by Flavelle, that may help Canadians make the most of Black Friday. First and foremost, it’s important to check for store flyers in advance for the best deals. There is no sense in making the trek all the way into another country without knowing where you wish to shop and what you plan on buying.

Create a shopping list, she advises. This way, you can go in to each store knowing exactly what you plan on buying. This will help you save time, which becomes very precious when there are thousands of other shoppers surrounding you looking to get their hands on many of the same items you may want.

Be sure to read product reviews, suggests Flavelle, as “some are marked down because they’re duds.” Keeping in mind that a return trip to the store is likely out of the question, you don’t want to pick up any items that may have to be returned. Ensuring that you are getting the best possible products at the best prices is the name of the game.

“Print out online coupons for additional savings,” she advises as well. Considering that you will be spending money on gas and possible hotel accommodations, there is no reason to not try to save as much as possible in the departments stores you plan on visiting. If there are ways to increase your discounts, find them!

Finally, be sure to get to the store you most want to visit early and be prepared to line up hours before the store opens. This has become part of the Black Friday tradition, as the most savvy shoppers know that the first customers through the doors are generally the ones who enjoy the best deals!

By the way, don’t forget to dress in layers and bring snacks and water. You never know how cold it’s going to be and how hungry you may get. Remember that you could be in one place for a very long time. You’ll want to make yourself as comfortable as possible. Happy shopping!

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23 Nov

Is Black Friday Worth It For Canadians?

Posted in News on 23.11.11 by John Meloche

Needless to say, holiday shopping has been on the minds of most people in the past week or two. And of course, the need to get those gifts at discount prices will only continue to grow more important as the weeks leading up to Christmas go by. This week, however, is one of the most important shopping weeks of the year.

That is because this Friday marks this year’s “Black Friday” events. Traditionally taking place on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, Black Friday is well-known for offering customers incredible savings on some of the season’s most popular items. It is not uncommon for insanely long line-ups to wrap around departments stores beginning in the wee hours of the morning.

For many people wanting to be the first customers inside of these stores to take advantage of the amazing deals, the time spent “camping out” is well worth it. In Canada, Black Friday has become associated with cross-the-border shopping. Many Canadians plan trips to the United States for the Black Friday weekend.

As Dana Flavelle wrote on Moneyville.ca this past weekend, “every year since the Canadian dollar hit par with the U.S. greenback in 2007, the annual American shopping extravaganza known as Black Friday has attracted growing interest on this side of the border.” So the yearly phenomenon is only getting more popular.

Flavelle points out, however, that Canadians have to factor in a number of other costs that their American neighbours do not when it comes to Black Friday. From duties to taxes to gas money and even hotel stays, there are many things that Canucks must consider before assuming that hopping across the border will automatically equal savings.

She provides some important information in her article for those looking to take a trip south of the border this weekend. Writes Flavelle: “Canadians can bring back $50 worth of merchandise duty free after 24 hours and $400 worth after a 48-hour stay, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.”

As well, she highlights the fact that to take advantage of Black Friday, many Canadians have to take the day of off work. Of course, American Thanksgiving is not a statutory holiday in Canada the way it is in the States. In addition, when making purchases, Canadians should remember that U.S. warranties are often invalid in Canada.

So is it worth it for Canadians to cross the border into the United States for Black Friday? We will continue to try to answer this question in tomorrow’s blog.

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22 Nov

Tips For Top-Notch Holiday Shopping

Posted in News on 22.11.11 by John Meloche

With the holiday shopping season here, your store will be experiencing a higher than normal volume of customers. It should go without saying that you should make the effort to get to know some of your new customers so that they may be encouraged to continue visiting your store in the new year.

Customers, you should know, are looking for experiences that they enjoy, not just discounts. However, as a customer yourself, it only comes naturally to constantly be looking for deals. This is why many shoppers head out to outlet malls in search of bargains when doing their Christmas shopping. This past weekend, Vancouver-based marketing and graphic design professional, Krystal Yee wrote of this phenomena on Moneyville.ca.

She notes that while many customers flock to outlet malls in search of deals, it’s important for them to do their due diligence when shopping for their favourite items. Writes Yee: “I can’t count the number of times an item at an outlet store has rung up wrong, or the discount wasn’t applied correctly.”

In her article, Yee gives holiday shoppers some tips on how to avoid getting ripped off! It’s important to make a list, she says, taking a page out of Santa’s book. Outlet malls can wreak havoc on the wallets of impulse shoppers. So sticking to a list and only buying what you truly need is one way to ensure you are making the most of your shopping experience.

Secondly, be sure to stick to a budget. Perhaps, in place of a list, you can write down exactly how much you plan on spending. Then deduct from that total each time you make a purchase making sure to not exceed the amount you’ve placed as a limit. For some people, this is done by simply carrying cash instead of credit and debit cards. When their cash is done, so is their day of shopping.

Be sure to try on clothing, suggests Yee. The last thing you want to do is drive all the way out to an outlet mall, and then drive all the way back home with the wrong sizes. A long and avoidable return trip to the mall is not a good way to spend your time during the holiday rush.

Finally, do your research, insists Yee. She writes: “Check out the outlet mall website to see what stores interest you and where they are located. You will be less overwhelmed when you have some sort of shopping plan in place once you reach the maze of outlet stores.”

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21 Nov

The New Blue Jays Go Old School

Posted in News on 21.11.11 by John Meloche

Re-branding and re-imaging is an integral part of business growth. For any business that is looking to enjoy a long-standing relationship with its customers, it’s extremely important to know how to keep up with the times. In some cases, keeping up with the times means taking a look back at your company’s history to see what it is that made it successful.

In the case of Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays, this is exactly the road the organization took. Late last week, the baseball club unveiled its brand new logo and uniforms to be worn by the team beginning in the upcoming 2012 season. One look at the new duds, and it is easy to tell where the inspiration came from.

The new-look Blue Jays actually have somewhat of an old look to them. The new logo and uniforms revisit the original logo and uniforms that the team adopted when it first came into existence in 1977. The Blue Jays, however, will not be clad in the baby blue uniforms worn during that era.

Instead, the only Major League Baseball team in Canada will be wearing uniforms similar to those worn during their World Series hey days of 1992 and 1993. The white home jerseys and the grey away jerseys are reminiscent of the ones worn by heroes Joe Carter and Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar. They feature the vintage split-font numbers and the blue jays head with red maple leaf.

A special video called “Logo For Life” on the Toronto Blue Jays website showcases a number of players from the team wearing the new unis and describing their feelings about them. Jays outfielder, Jose Bautista is currently an MVP candidate and the league’s home run king, two years running.

In the video, he had this to say: “I think you gotta go back to your roots to find the identity of a team and I think we’re doing that. We’re going back to the old school look kind of mixed in with the future.” Opinions around the Synergy Marketing Consultants offices were unanimously in agreement.

“I love it,” shouted one excited rep, “The new uniforms are glorious. They’re so elegantly designed, and I love how we’ve gone back to our original look with some updated revisions. They look like a championship team now. All we need to do is just win the championship to go along with our great jerseys!”.

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18 Nov

Provide The Personal Touch With Your Gifts

Posted in Promotional Products on 18.11.11 by John Meloche

Gift giving is one of the most popular practices of the holiday season. And at Synergy Marketing Consultants, the holiday season lasts all year round. Well…not really. But we certainly enjoy the business of providing the best promotional products and corporate gifts that the industry has to offer!

As we mentioned in the past few blogs of this week, giving out the right gift to the right customer is of paramount importance. On PRNewswire.com, Kate Perkins explains that to truly wow your customers, you must personalize your gifts. Get to know the members of your target audience and provide them with the type of promo gifts that they can really put to use.

In turn, you will be keeping your business regularly on their minds. This practice has worked for our clients for years, as their promo gifts have encouraged both repeat business from their favourite customers and referrals that bring in even more of them. One of our great Synergy reps spoke to this point earlier today.

“Several of my clients are in love with our key chain flashlights,” he revealed, “Because they are multi-functional and can literally be used everyday, they find that their customers keep coming back more often. I asked one of them how he knew his gifts were the reason for all of his repeat business and he was only too happy to explain.”

“They keep coming back for more!,” he explained, “Not only do they like getting the key chains but they insist that it’s impossible to forget about a business when every day you go to grab your keys and there is the name of the company right there on the product. They are some of our most sought after items, and I can see why.”

“Now when people come into his store, this owner takes the time to ask about their personal interests. That way, he gets a better idea about what promo gifts to hand out throughout the year. And during the holiday season, he definitely takes advantage of the surge in business by handing out more gifts than ever!”.

Of course, this type of success can be achieved by any business owner. As Perkins writes: “When shopping for promotional products during the holiday season, be sure to keep it personal, thoughtful and relate it directly to the business. Doing so leaves a lasting impression and builds business and personal relations.”

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17 Nov

Personalize Your Promo Gifts

Posted in Promotional Products on 17.11.11 by John Meloche

Over the past couple of days, we have been blogging about the great holiday items that Synergy Marketing Consultants offers its clients. These gifts have proven to both spread holiday cheer and create long lasting impressions on recipients who often tell others about the generosity and great service offered by the business owner who gave the gift.

Although our holiday collection is ideal for just about anyone celebrating the holidays, not all gifts are necessarily appropriate for all businesses. One of the key ingredients to making promo gifts work for you is choosing the right one. No matter the time of year, you want to make sure that the gift you give is both a memorable and useful one. The more the recipient is able to make use of it, the better the gift will promote your company.

A press release from PRNewswire.com earlier this month, explains that when greater thought is put behind a promo gift, its positive effects are longer-lasting. Media Relations Specialist, Kate Perkins writes that business owners should work a bit harder on wowing their clients this holiday season with gifts that give more of that personal touch.

Your gift, insists Perkins, should relay the type of image your company wishes to represent. Is it fun and playful or serious and professional? In other words, burger joints may want to give out different gifts than law firms. The gift should fit the brand. Naturally, it’s important to consider who the members of your target market are and choose a gift that can be personalized to their interests.

How can you personalize your gifts? If you are a printing company, a colourful calendar with your logo displayed each month may be the way to go, suggests Perkins. She reminds us that gifts that are “always within sight” are perfect ways to keep your business on the minds of your clients whenever they wish to place an order.

Do you have clients that you know regularly travel? Perhaps, a cell phone charger or a travel mug would be the best way to go. Perkins also reminds us that many people work in areas where they have a desk or cubicle. Desktop items are great for such customers. Your best bet, of course, is to get to know the people who come into your store so that you may better get to know what gifts they would like best.

Showing your customers that you are willing to get to know them personally will be a key factor in how much they appreciate your gift. Remember, it’s not just the gift itself that will bring your customers back. But it’s the thought that is put behind the gift that will really wow your clients. We’ll continue to take a look at this theory in tomorrow’s blog.

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