December 15, 2020
To say 2020 has been a roller coaster ride would be a massive understatement.
It started in January when the industry was at an all time high. End clients had generous budgets set aside for another year of growth after a strong 2019. At the time, there was boundless optimism for an even better 2020.
Then we saw the middle of March.
The world was turned upside down within a matter of days. The impact on our industry was immediate. Budgets were slashed, shelter in place rules came into effect, businesses started closing, employees were furloughed and we all buckled up for a ride like none other.
PPE arrived shortly thereafter as a lifeline for the commonsku community and the industry at large. While we often heard people say “I can’t wait to sell a Tshirt again”, our industry stepped up to provide PPE to governments, corporations, communities and individuals at breathtaking scale.
We should be very proud of how our industry was a vehicle for getting PPE like face shields, gloves, sanitizers and masks into the hands of so many people. The supply chain stories we witnessed during this time were nothing short of extraordinary.
Beyond PPE, the commonsku community adapted quickly. Many of you closed your offices and teams adjusted to working from home. You pivoted to selling virtual event kits. You met with clients virtually to truly understand how you could drive their new marketing goals. You embraced new e-commerce tools like shops as a way to streamline the buying experience with end clients. You offered new services like virtual event planning to customers who needed new ways to connect with their customers. You moved into different customer segments to make up for lost sales.
In our 20 years in the promotional products industry, we have never experienced this degree of resilience, flexibility and innovation. You leaned into this challenge in an unprecedented way. And the results show.
While the pandemic is not behind us yet, business has bounced back considerably since the spring. We hear from many distributors who share comments like “we’re having an epic Q4, looking like we’ll beat Q4 last year.” While we’re still in the midst of the battle, all evidence suggests that business is stabilizing and opportunities abound for our industry in 2021.
2020 has also been a tremendous time for growth, learning and innovation for us at commonsku.
When the pandemic struck, we focused everything we had on the success of the skummunity. Whether it was the sales team and their educational outreach; the support team and their individual follow ups and maximize calls; the engineering team and new feature development; the marketing and content teams and the pivot to virtual events, skummunity social hours and our expanded online education platform. We are so proud of our entire team for leaning into this crisis with everything they had.
Now that we are at the end of 2020, we are proud of where we have come as an industry. The commonsku distributor network now represents over $900MM of industry sales. The future looks incredibly bright and we could not be more excited for you, the distributors and suppliers we serve each and every day.
We can’t wait to take on 2021 with you,
Catherine Graham and Mark Graham
Our Decorator Matrix tool helps you go paperless and speed up efficiency, saving you from having to retrieve pricing sheets or call your decorator on each order.
By having your decorator matrix loaded into the system, sales reps will have access to the most accurate and current pricing from your decorators, wherever they are, without having to share files through emails.
Shops are the easiest way to build quick ordering-ordering solutions for your clients.
commonsku offers three varieties of Shops that will help save you and your clients valuable time placing their orders. With credit card payments for customers, up charges, and coupons, Shops are as accessible as ever.
Our new and improved Production Report will save you time, provide you with more filtering options, and allow you to customize your data.
The easier navigation will allow you to pre-set reports, customize your production report, set next actions for a PO from a pre-set list, and so much more!
Starting in January 2021, we’re launching a new distributor benefits program with 20 of our top connected suppliers. You’ll receive simplified pricing and benefits, along with operational integrations.
Our Marketing Integrations will help you get in front of prospects using marketing-savvy platforms. Connect Mailchimp or Hubspot with commonsku and elevate your marketing strategy.
Our integration will help you handle the complexity of tax documentation, sales tax compliance, and filing at the state level.
These new features will allow you to provide kitted options in Shops and help you manage inventory.