Swag isn’t just for trade shows anymore. According to a recent article in Forbes Magazine, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) estimates that all of those pens, water bottles, tote bags, and window clings puts the swag industry at about $28 billion dollars. And, the biggest contributor to that profitable pie is apparel, responsible for roughly 33% of all promotional goods.

When it comes to finding exciting ways to create buzz about your brand, few methods are as popular or as profitable as a line of branded apparel. Whether you opt for the never-fail classic t-shirt or something a little bolder like a hoodie or fanny pack, employees and customers wearing a branded piece of apparel is the marketing equivalent of a walking billboard for your company. It also invests your target audience in your brand, keeping them engaged with your website and social media channels to ensure they don’t miss a fresh design or release of a new capsule collection.

But let’s be truthful; your focus is to market your brand and sell your services, not ship t-shirts. To do apparel swag right, you need to have an efficient apparel fulfillment solution, and that can be incredibly challenging for those who don’t have the resources required to ensure success. 

So how do you swag successfully? Print, Bind and Ship will help you capitalize on the branded apparel trend and the best solutions for making apparel fulfillment work for you.

What is T-shirt and Apparel Fulfillment

When launching an apparel collection, there are considerations to mull over. After all, this goes beyond those pieces of logo wear in the marketing closet you keep on hand for golf tournament giveaways. 

While the benefits of using t-shirts and other apparel items to promote your business are abundant, the difficult part of this endeavor comes with fulfillment. Keeping up with the latest in ordering and shipping software, not to mention maintaining an inventory of various sizes and styles, requires a highly functional supply chain management system to be done efficiently. This is where an apparel fulfillment service factors into the plan.

By using an expert fulfillment service like Print Bind Ship, the bandwidth constraints and distribution costs associated with ordering and fulfillment are taken off your plate and managed with the focus on speed, cost, and efficiency that today’s eCommerce customers demand.

3 Reasons to Use 3PL for Apparel Fulfillment

With eCommerce transactions hitting a whopping 21.3% of retail sales in 2020, the term “3PL” (third-party logistics) is one that both big and small businesses hear about frequently. A third-party logistics provider is an outsourced professional that assists with the planning and execution of fulfillment and shipping. 

You may question whether you have the sales volume to necessitate bringing on a 3PL, but consider this: whether you’re a small online apparel company or a business using apparel as a component in your marketing efforts, 3PL experts like those at Print Bind Ship offer scalable solutions for your eCommerce sales. 3PL professional services are meant to expand with you. You can bring them on to handle one aspect of your eCommerce sales or they can provide all of the services needed across your supply chain.

Working with a 3PL to manage your apparel fulfillment also means not having to hire additional staff to manage the process for you, and therefore avoiding the time-consuming and costly expense of adding people to your company payroll and benefits. 

Bringing on a 3PL eliminates the need to invest in technology, transportation, and warehouse space. They do the work of ensuring your apparel gets to your customer, while you focus on managing your business.

Clothing Fulfillment is Challenging

Branded apparel is big business these days, and it moved from being mere clothing to fashion sometime during the ecommerce boom. Consider the Full Send apparel line of clothing created by the Nelk Boys YouTube show and entertainment company which is incredibly popular with young adults. A “drop” of one of their apparel capsule collections typically sells out within an hour after it’s released. However, even a popular brand like this can run into hiccups. 

A recent t-shirt designed for women didn’t sell at the rate that other offerings had. Thanks to their 3PL, they figured out the reason; changing trends in t-shirt styles meant that young women wanted more fitted t-shirts rather than standard-sized offerings. Their 3PL partner’s solution? Offer a re-packaging of extra stock and leftover sizes and offer them for 50% off in a “bonus mystery package.”  Thanks to a nimble and knowledgeable 3PL, they were able to clear the shelves and navigate changing styles at the same time.

Another challenge comes with warehousing. Apparel is unique in that it involves high turnover from seasonal changes and the need to keep several sizes on hand. These can lead to a large number of SKU’s to manage, which need to be organized by a specific location system in order to run efficiently. 

A professional 3PL like Print Bind Ship utilizes advanced management software and a variety of warehousing locations and solutions to handle the demand for diversity and flexibility that a complex apparel fulfillment business requires, which results in faster shipping, better efficiency, and a lower cost per order.

Focus on Growth

Consider the following scenario: you’re a marketing manager for a small, natural foods store trying to get word of mouth out about your launch by offering customized t-shirts on your website and social media. Due to the effort and creativity you and your team put into creating a strong social media campaign, buzz is being generated and orders for the shirts are doubling. Fulfilling those orders is taking you and your staff away from other tasks you need to complete for the grand opening. Since may not have an organized system, shipping is taking longer and costing more than it should, resulting in potential patrons complaining about the high shipping costs and slow arrival times. 

Here’s what you didn’t know before you came up with this great idea. When a business handles apparel fulfillment on their own, the cost of realizing those orders is 70% of the average order value, so even though you thought you were saving money doing it in-house, you are actually losing 30% on each order, not to mention the loss of time value having you pack and ship orders when you should be doing something else. 

If you hire an experienced apparel fulfillment center to handle this promotion, all of these issues would’ve been eliminated. A 3PL like Print Bind Ship would have set up an interface with your website and social media landing pages, with orders going directly to them and into their order processing and shipping software. Because of their knowledge of packaging and shipping methods, the cost of freight would’ve been significantly lower and faster. The result would’ve been a successful, hiccup-free promotion, and one you could duplicate several times throughout your marketing plan.

Hiring an apparel fulfillment 3PL maximizes your marketing efforts, and can multiply the effects of your efforts multifold, freeing you up to concentrate on business growth and strategy.

3PLs Do Custom Printing

Another reason to choose a qualified 3PL  for apparel fulfillment is that most offer custom t-shirt printing, which provides you with a start to finish solution for your promotional apparel needs. Whether you have a unique design that will only be available for a limited time or you’re just launching your first small capsule collection of t-shirts, having the flexibility to order a custom and print a custom design online eliminates the need for extensive warehousing solutions and shipping complications.    

Apparel Fulfillment Service with Print Bind Ship

Today’s ecommerce customer expects to have a seamless online ordering experience and a rapid shipping time frame. To ensure you’re meeting their expectations, it’s essential to have an apparel fulfillment service like Print Bind Ship that has been there, done that, and of course, got the t-shirt to prove it!

Expand Your Brand

Started out with screen-printed t-shirts and ready for something a little more upscale? Or maybe you just want to offer some deluxe sweatshirts to promote a new service during hoodie season?

With a 3PL partner like Print Bind Ship, that’s no problem. We offer customized services for a variety of different apparel options, including expert embroidery work in your logo’s customized colors and brand standards. We offer a comprehensive, root-to-tip fulfillment service designed to scale with you, and be a true partner in expanding your brand to different audiences and prospective customers. Your apparel is only limited to your imagination.

Forget About Returns

An estimated 11.1% of apparel purchased online will be returned for refund or exchange, and handling those returns can be a time consuming, costly process if you’re trying to manage it in house. A 3PL partner will already have an established process for how to handle returns at maximum efficiency. 

At Print Bind Ship, a full inspection of a returned item is conducted before it goes back in inventory, and clients are notified of each return we process and how it was resolved within our customer portal. We handle all of these return issues for you, eliminating the guesswork and lag time of the process and avoiding any sort of unsatisfied patron complaints showing up on your business review pages. 

It’s Like Having a Warehousing Team in Your Pocket

Print Bind Ship provides a level of quality and service for your online customers that builds customer loyalty by giving a superior ordering, shipping, and receiving experience. From custom product creation and packaging to inventory control and package tracking, our goal is to make sure that your apparel fulfillment is fast, accurate, and builds your reputation as a top-of-the-line brand. That’s why we say it’s like having a complete warehousing team at your disposal. 

Even tasks like assembling gift boxes or kitting and assembly are possible when using Print Bind and Ship as your 3PL apparel fulfillment solution. With our use of best-in-class inventory practices and SKU tracking software, we have the capabilities to handle an extensive, multi-component custom order, or a best customer’s gift box packaging and mailing. No job is too big for the fulfillment team at Print Bind Ship.  

The Best T-Shirt Fulfillment Service

At Print Bind Ship, we pride ourselves on being the best apparel and t-shirt fulfillment company in the business. We want our customers to feel complete confidence in handing over the reins of their ordering and fulfillment needs because we know that this is a true partnership, and that your growth means our growth.

When you know your customer’s orders are in the best hands, your focal point can return to building your brand’s presence, popularity and profitability. The packaging and shipping can be left to us! 

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