On-Line Storefronts – REPORTS

ecr-finance-and-inventory-report-q1-2015A storefront or online order site needs to be built with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  The beginning is the login process, the middle is the products and how they will be ordered, and the end is perhaps the most important and also most underutilized part of most sites.  The end is the gold, the reports that the site can generate.

The goal is to provide useful intelligence that can strengthen your site.  We give you access to the reports, but we also provide our own analysis of the statistics.  It is from this intelligence that you will discover average inventory turn-time, best order practices, reports of user activity and much more that will give you full control of the process and also let you maximize your budget.

factset-finance-and-inventory-report-q1-2015As a site matures, the statistics provide important information on trends, reorder points, peak times, top users and hot items.  The analytics can often tie your marketing materials directly to your top sellers and also make sure that the latest materials are available in the field.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Online Solutions – The Products

productsThere are many names associated with online solutions or storefronts.  At Velocity we call our platform Velo because it covers so much more than a simple order site.  I will publish a series of posts to cover some of the options that should be considered for any storefront to get the ultimate control.  Allowing products to be ordered is only a small piece of the puzzle, controlling the entire process and gathering intelligence that can be used for better control over your marketing assets is powerful and can lead to major savings both in purchasing as well as time.

The Products is easy right.  You add all your marketing materials and voila, let the ordering begin.  Not really, the options for the products can be much more in-depth.

First you must start with making the products easy to browse.  If you have many different products, you need to make it easy for everyone to find the items they need.  This is accomplished in multiple ways:

1.)    Categories – maybe you have a category for printed items, promotional products and signage.  The categories can provide a quick jump to the items you are looking for.

2.)    Item #’s – If each product has a unique item identifier this can be searchable within the storefront and also make sure the latest version is being used.

3.)    Products can be a mix of printed items, hard goods and also e-files.  This is useful when someone needs a quick file to email or just one for reference.

4.)    Customized or versioned products can be added to a storefront and also provide a unique way to protect your branding and also give flexibility.  With real-time proofing and on-demand printing customized products can be very cost effective.

The great thing with a good storefront is that if you begin by building a good framework you can easily add products and categories as needed.  A good provider should spend lots of time asking questions about how you will be using your site and guide you through the options that are available.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Online Solutions – The Login

Sample LoginOnline Solutions – The Login

There are many names associated with online solutions or storefronts.  At Velocity we call our platform Velo because it covers so much more than a simple order site.  I will publish a series of posts to cover some of the options that should be considered for any storefront to get the ultimate control.  Allowing products to be ordered is only a small piece of the puzzle, controlling the entire process and gathering intelligence that can be used for better control over your marketing assets is powerful and can lead to major savings both in purchasing as well as time.

At the beginning you always need a way of accessing the site.  This can be done in multiple ways:

Open site This is generally used for a retail site where everyone can visit the site and there are no login requirements.  It is open for browsing and would not require any personal information until a purchase decision is made.

Self-Registration – This site requires new users to register for the site, prior to access being granted.  Additional controls can be put in place to limit new users permissions and what products they are able to view.

Closed-Registration – Only those with permissions and a login and password can access the site.  Each user can have specific permissions, including individual budgets, product access, shipping options and much more.

Pass-thru login – This is a great option for clients that already have a password protected portal.  The pass-thru login can allow users to seamlessly go from logged into the Client’s portal to the storefront solution.  No need for an additional password to remember and the user can easily navigate between the portal and storefront from within the portal.

Obviously these only touch on the login options and the controls that can be built in are endless.  Site admins have complete control over permissions and can also put in place approval levels to further monitor product usage.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What Customers Think — the Good, Bad and Ugly by Jim Stiles

For quite some time now we have run a program of generating surveys for a quick response from our clients asking if they were satisfied with the product and service they received on their last order. The feedback we received has been excellent and we greatly appreciate the responses. Sharing positive feedback with the staff goes a long way with helping to keep our staff positive and letting them know their hard work pays off. Recently, in a large survey response we were overwhelmed with positive feedback which clearly showed we are the BEST supplier in the industry. Well, I am a realist and understand no company is that perfect.  We are all still human and not SUPER Velocity Print Solutions who can print at the speed of a bullet, bend steel with our paper cutting machines, or even stop a locomotive to make a job happen on time. There has to be clients who did not feel fully satisfied with our services. Unfortunately, not all clients are willing to say so and it is those I worry about. After all, if I just gave positive feedback to my son and never commented on how he might improve on something how would he ever learn?  

 I am sure that not all clients are comfortable complaining to the business because perhaps they feel their complaints will fall on deaf ears or they will be labeled as a complainer or perhaps it just wasn’t worth the trouble. One big thing stopping negative feedback I’m sure is that the client does not want to throw a sales person or customer service representative under the bus. To that point, I do not know of many professionally run companies who hang staff from the rafters if a little professionally presented criticism came in from a client. Any business needs criticism and constructive feedback to grow and improve their products and service levels. The little things matter. Did we keep you informed through the process? Did you have to wonder at any point where your job was or when someone would get back to you? Was the invoice timely and accurate? While it is just fantastic to receive positive feedback it’s really the small things that possibly annoy or take up your time that a survey is trying to unearth and provides the most valuable feedback to a company.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Promotional Products – from Sourcing to Fullfillment to Shipping

Our team excels at custom projects. We recently handled a special project for a Fortune 500 client to create a series of gifts for an executive leadership training series. This involved sourcing a stylish custom box that featured a debossed logo, as well as custom foam inserts that would not only protect the product, but have an elegant presentation and ship safely both domestically and globally. There were different themes based upon which country and location the leadership class took place. Some of the gift items included personalized letters, branded leather luggage tags, engraved brass compasses, commemorative coins, acrylic branded paperweights, and imprinted magnifying glasses as well as other items. Our promotional team and account manager sourced all the products and handled the print, packaging, fulfillment and shipping to over 50 locations globally. So, if you have a unique project and are wondering where to start or what vendor to contact…give us a call. We’ll be happy to assist and work with you to coordinate all the details so that your project exceeds expectations.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Fulfillment and Distribution, Personalized Printing, Print, Promotional/Speciality Advertising | Leave a comment

Velocity Print Solutions to Centralize Manufacturing

Albany, NY

Velocity Print Solutions a Northeast Regional provider of print related communication services, headquartered in Scotia, NY has announced plans to centralize their production facilities. Velocity will be moving its smaller lithographic printing operation located in Middlebury, CT to their larger Albany, NY (Scotia) production facility. Velocity will be retaining a sales office in CT to house customer service and sales personnel. A six color large format 40″ lithographic press with automation and coating capability will be moved to the NY facility and will complement the existing offset and digital printing offerings.

Customers asking for higher volume print quantities more suited for lithographic than digital will be pleased to learn we can now offer all this in one location. Project management will be streamlined with the variety of presses all in one location as well as fulfillment, mailing and shipping services. In addition, the corporate office in Scotia will be adding positions for press operators, production and sales staff.

Jim Stiles, CEO states that: “This consolidation will put Velocity in a much stronger position to compete in the marketplace. Our wide variety of print related services that we currently offer will be complemented by the new services we intend to add in the near future.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Company News, Digital, Press Releases, Print, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Flash Drives. A success story about branding.

Here is a short story of how we helped one of our customers prepare for a Symposium in Las Vegas.

Kevin, our Central NY Account Executive, was contacted by the ESD Association (Electrostatic Discharge Association), headquartered in Rome, NY,  to assist them in sourcing products for their upcoming symposium which was being held in Las Vegas. They were looking for buttons, a tote bag and most important, a flash drive that they could load with all the technical sheets pertaining to the symposium. All items would need to be imprinted with their logo or other message and these would be distributed to all attendees at the event.

Kevin, with the assistance of our crackerjack promo team, sourced a very slick looking 1GB Jaguar Flash Drive (pictured)


that would be perfect for their needs. It was imprinted on both the cap and the sides of the drive and then all the data was uploaded for them. When complete all the products were shipped directly to our customer for a successful event!

The moral of our story?  Don’t just think of us as just your printer. Yes, of course that is our core business but we are very much solution oriented and love to partner with our clients on all their marketing needs. We can simplify any event you may have. From printing registration packets, conference binders, training manuals, name tags, lanyards, posters, banners, gift bags, giveaway items, etc… You name it and we’ll find it for you. Our production team can package everything for you and our shipping crew can ship directly to your event location to save you the hassle of transporting yourself.


 

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Case Studies, Company News, Digital, Fulfillment and Distribution, Personalized Printing, Print, Promotional/Speciality Advertising, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Multi-tasking: Skill or Excuse?

The other night, after dinner, my daughter and I were cleaning up the kitchen. I was washing the dishes, she was drying them and putting them away – or at least that was the task she was assigned. She dried some and put some away and then I noticed that the dishes were piling up beside me. I looked around and found her feeding the cat. She came back, dried a few more dishes and disappeared again, this time she was writing a note to herself about school. She came back again and helped a bit more, then was gone. When I tracked her down she was checking her email to see if her teacher had replied to her about a project. When I questioned her about the mounting stack of dishes on the counter she replied that she was multi-tasking.

That really made me think about the value of multi-tasking as a skill. How often do we let ourselves get pulled in different directions instead of staying focused on the task at hand? Our industry demands everything immediately. I don’t even get actual deadlines anymore, everything is either HOT or due ASAP. This false sense of urgency makes it easy to justify the partial completion of jobs and projects in favor of the most recent crisis that was dumped in your lap.

So, is it a skill to let yourself get interrupted? Is it good time management to drop everything you are doing in order to work on something that is of equal importance as the project you were working on in the first place? Are you using good organizational skills if you start a project and then stop it in favor of working on something that you would rather do? Is multi-tasking just another way of saying, “I get easily distracted”?

In answer to all of those questions I would have to say, “It depends on the situation.” I would love to be able to tell everyone who calls, emails and stops by my desk that I’m busy and that I’ll help them as soon as I wrap up whatever I am working on. However, the reality is that our business is so fast-paced that I think I could only get away with that kind of response a couple times before my boss started getting complaints. The trick really seems to be determining what is truly urgent and what can wait. Once you know that, then you can decide whether you are going to multi-task or just plain task.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Printing Tips | Leave a comment

Eye-Popping Signage

Advertising dollars are getting slimmer and slimmer and the number of different ways to advertise are ever increasing.  Attention getting signage remains one of the most eye catching methods to grab attention.

Yard Signs – I love seeing yard signs, it’s a fun way to remind people of upcoming activities and advertise events.  They’re affordable, easy and extremely effective.

 

 

Sail Banners – Whether you are a restaurant looking to draw attention, a retailer offering a sale, or an event planner the attention getting outdoor sail banners will do the trick.

 

 

Vinyl Banners – All types of banners for a variety of use.  Indoors, outdoors, with grommets, etc.  Vinyl banners are cost effective and go anywhere.

 

 

Inflatables – Want to really grab some attention to passers-by, inflatables are a cant miss.  Available in lots of different styles and options they will grab the attention of everyone around.

 

 

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Print, Promotional/Speciality Advertising | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hidden Easter Eggs in Graphic Applications

Written by Stef King, Prepress Manager CT

Hidden features or Easter Eggs exist in many of the applications we use from day to day. This is a way for developers to leave you a special message or just let you know they were there.
In QuarkXpress there has been a Martian hidden in their application for years. To bring out the Martian you need to select an object and hit command (or Control) shift + delete and he will come out and destroy your selected object. If you do this 10 times in a row a giant monster will come out and blow up the object. Of the hidden features you can find this is my favorite.
In InDesign if you go to the about InDesign menu and type the word butterfly you will be treated to a nice display of fluttering butterflies.
In Illustrator you can display fun facts or even eyes that follow your every move within the application. To do this open a new page at the bottom left of the illustrator window command + option click (Control+alt click) on the box next to the page number. You should be able to choose from quite a few fun facts & eyes that follow your mouse.
In most versions of Photoshop if you hold the command + option (Control+alt) and click about Photoshop you will see a different splash screen with credits or even a special hidden message. This splash screen will also tell you the code name for that version of Photoshop (CS6 code name is Superstation / CS5 code name is White Rabbit). In Photoshop 4 if you hold command+option (Control+alt) and click on the layer options Merlin the wizard will pop out for a visit.
Best way to find theses easter eggs is to explore your applications, most times holding the command + option (Control+alt). Happy hunting!

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Add to favorites
  • email
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • MySpace
  • PDF
  • RSS
Posted in Company News, Print, Printing Tips, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment