As with any business, your greatest opportunities in uniform sales are also your greatest challenges. Uniform retailers are at their proudest when they land an employee apparel program, or a program where their clients establish a consistent set of uniforms for all workers. Yet when they actually try to administer such programs, they find it is an endless source of headaches and increased costs. Drop ship programs keep these costs and challenges to a minimum, leading to smooth, consistent, and profitable gear sales.

The Limitations of Apparel Programs

For all the benefits of employee apparel programs, they do create extra responsibilities for you and your staff. Chief among these is the need to keep track of large amounts of inventory at all times so that you can outfit your clients’ entire workplaces with the necessary gear. Storing this inventory, monitoring it, and keeping it safe from various forms of damage and degradation doesn’t come cheap.

In addition to handling inventory, you’ll need to answer clients’ questions about their orders. This requires devoting employees to talking with clients on the phone, as well as with manufacturers, carriers, and all others involved in the uniform production and distribution process. Combined with the need to pick, pack, and ship gear, this can severely impair both your budget and your flexibility.

The Benefits of a Drop Ship Program

Drop ship programs eliminate many of the issues associated with employee apparel strategies. They involve:

  1. Creating a Website– The first step is to set up a website where you will process all employee apparel program orders. Not only does this mean your staff won’t have to handle most orders or related issues, but it also improves accuracy.
  2. Contacting the Manufacturer– Instead of ordering uniforms and gear from you, clients who use the website will be connected directly to the manufacturer, who will drop ship the items in question to them. This cuts down on the amount of processing that has to be done in the middle, lowering costs while speeding up the order.
  3. Working With an Embroiderer– Just because you’re using a largely automated system for processing uniform orders doesn’t mean that you can’t cater to customers who want customized gear. You need only connect the manufacturer with an embroiderer that can incorporate customized names, logos, and designs into general purpose uniforms. Arrange for the manufacturer to send the uniforms directly to these embroiderers whenever a client requests custom designs. Then give clients full freedom to choose any designs the embroiderer is capable of doing.

Uniform retailers are often hesitant to establish drop ship programs, worrying that once embroiders and manufacturers take their cuts, there won’t be any profits left. But when you factor in your savings on labor, storage, and other factors, you’re likely to gain far more than you lose from a program like this.