Some Plain Talk about Merchandise Award Programs...
By: Wayne B. Hodges
Co-Founder and Senior Vice President - Director of Client
Director of Marketing
You're here, no doubt, because you already know that in today's
marketplace, lifestyle awards - merchandise and individual travel is
And you probably know also, that even hotter, are on-line
catalogs with on-line tracking, redemption and real-time
We do it all at World Incentives, including local in-country
fulfillment for international award programs.
Whether (or not) you choose to place your award program with us,
here's some plain talk that will help you make wise decisions about
your merchandise program provider.
Many of our competitors charge client companies up-front dollars
for points. Sounds logical, you say. In our industry, they
call that "banking the breakage". But, as we all know, not all
points awarded are going to be redeemed by those lucky enough to
have earned them. Ta-daaa....that's
profit for those other companies. Instead of working to increase
the success of your program, your dollars are turning into pure
profit for your incentive house.
Rule 1: Only work with companies that don't charge upfront
for points, or with companies that credit back un-redeemed
points to your points bank. With World Incentives: you never
pay for unredeemed points.
Rule 2: Only work with companies that direct-ship.
Direct-ship means the incentive company maintains a warehouse and
ships out of their inventory...as opposed to companies that
drop-ship, which means the manufacturer ships directly from the
manufacturing facility. You might ask, what the difference,
and really...who cares?
When one of your top participants doesn't get delivery on an item
she redeemed points for 4 weeks ago, or discovers the item is
back-ordered for 6-8 weeks...or the shipment is just plain missing
and your participant has no advocate to help trace it because it was
"drop-shipped", believe me you will understand and care about the
difference. Drop-shipping has soured many a program and damaged more
than a few client/participant relationships.
Direct-shippers are manufacturer's distributors and get the good
stuff first, in large quantities, and typically ship faster.
Drop Shippers wait in line behind you and me, and everyone else for
their items to ship from the manufacturer. Why? Who gets a shipment
of new merchandise first... the company who, as a distributor,
orders consistently, in quantity, or the drop-shipper who typically
orders in ones and twos? You guessed it...
As a direct-shipper, we control the redemption and the
shipping, we not only ship faster (within a day or two usually),
we have a vested interest in seeing that your participant -and you
as the client- are happy. Should something go wrong with the
shipment - it happens occasionally - a live, sympathetic person is
there to own the problem until it is solved.
Suffice it to say that the great majority of our merchandise is
direct-shipped. and unlike most drop-shippers, you'll always
have your own program manager on hand - with an 800# for quick and
easy assistance, who is nearly always able to answer questions or
solve any problems that arise on the first call.
Got international divisions or employees that need to be granted
awards? No issue for us - we can handle most industrialized
countries of the world, and we even service them with in-country
warehouses to provide that extra level of social or economic
sensitivity - so no, we're not going to be offering Omaha Steaks to
your employees in India, or alcohol-related products to
predominantly Muslim countries.
World Incentives and direct shipping is a win-win situation for
So that's the skinny. I've given you some solid information
that will give you the edge in eliminating problems before they
begin, and ensuring that your company's incentive program meets with
We've "got the goods"...literally...over our competitors, and
it's important that you understand what that means, and how that can
mean the difference between success or failure for your company's
From on-line points tracking and plateau programs to direct-ship
redemptions; to real-time reporting with generic or
customized / self-branded, on-line catalogs, we simply do it all,
better. We even do some pretty amazing group-incentive travel
programs - you can view some sample proposals upon request.
Our on-line catalog offers 3500+ first-tier manufacturer
items* and hundreds of destinations on our concierge-level travel
awards... and growing every day.
A demonstration site with your logos, graphics and colors can be
ready for your approval in an hour or less. and with more time, we
can provide a seamless customized award site to perfectly match your
corporate site, so your employees or customers never need know
they've left your site.
Once you award us your business, your cost is a single (and
surprisingly small) one-time fee to customize and host your on-line
award center. and on-line sites are secured via a Secure Socket
Layer with 128-bit encryption. You can select which items,
categories, or prices of items you wish to include. Your custom
website also contains space for news stories or program details,
leaderboard, quizzes, surveys, etc. That's it. Simply
furnish us with your participant names and their point totals
updated daily, weekly... whatever...and we'll do the rest.
For more information on how we can help make your program the
success you hope for,
please e-mail us.
*Our merchandise selection
is composed of only name-brand items like apple, Panasonic, Bose,
Braun, Nikon, Phillips, Olympus, Casio, Compaq, Bulova, West Bend,
Braun, Presto, Toastmaster, Oneida, Whirlpool, Oreck, Makita,
Panasonic, Sony, Troy-Bilt, Thermos, John Deere, Polaris, Callaway,
Fisher Price and literally hundreds more.
We invite you to
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E-mail us or
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