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GGI Expands Gated Transactional Site to Support Battle Against Retail

Ree WysongHaving launched what she believes is the first digital transactional site for the incentive, rewards, and recognition business, GGI Luxury Brands is expanding it to support both the brands she carries and others who wish to participate. It's an effort to capture a greater percentage of the industry’s business that currently moves through brick and mortar or online retail.

Retail Continues to Eat the Industry’s Lunch
Other Brands Welcome to Participate
Addressing an Untapped Market

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The incentive, rewards, and recognition industry has fought and lost a perennial battle with retail. Ree Wysong, Founder and CEO of 31-year-old GGI Luxury Brands in Missouri, wants to do something about it, not just for her own company, but for the industry.  This year, she is expanding her company’s test transactional Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition digital solution to include her company’s leading brands and to welcome the participation of other brands and their incentive representatives seeking to automate small orders from qualified companies.
Click here to visit the beta industry site in the incentive, rewards, and recognition industry users only. Wysong says the site shortly will be expanded to include many more brands and products. The purpose is simple, she explains: “Make it easy for brands, incentive and promotional companies, promotional products distributors, incentive representatives to access brands on an ad hoc basis with a fully automated transactional and fulfillment system, just what retailers do every day now.”
Last year, her national master fulfillment company launched the GGI Luxury Brands Brand Media Coalition transactional storefront as an industry benefit to qualified people offering desired brands for incentive use. People must provide a Linkedin account, PPAI or ASI number, and no order will be shipped without verification, Wysong explains. She is now expanding it to manage her entire line and as many other retail brands that wish to participate in a digital solution to reach the ad hoc gifting and reward market.
The amount of business moving through retail is significant, Wysong believes, but she says she is realistic that it will take time to tap the opportunity.  “Even if we tap just a small percentage of the volume, it’s an opportunity to gain new business relationships by demonstrating the many ways we can add value. We can start making it easy to do business with us for small orders in a way in which the industry can make money and the buyer access better service.”

Retail Continues to Eat the Industry’s Lunch

 “All the retailers and many startups have launched digital or gift card solutions and the incentive industry loses business to retail or other industry newcomers while gaining none of our industry’s expertise on how to use brands in a meaningful way. We’re the ones who are creating value—why are we turning this ad hoc business over to retailers who have no idea of what the business or not-for-profit client is really buying?” she asks.
According to the Incentive Federation, US organizations spend $176 billion or more a year on non-cash rewards, and yet no reasonable estimate puts the sales of all the incentive, recognition, and loyalty companies at $100 billion, if that, she notes, adding:  “Since most people have never heard of the incentive, reward, and recognition business, they shop retail if they just need to pick up some gifts for a small event or sample some items,” Wysong believes. “Every time that happens, one of our industry members misses an opportunity to build a relationship.”
To her, those small orders not only add up, they are also a missed opportunity to learn about an organization and its potential future engagement needs for customers, employees, distribution and supply chain partners, or other stakeholders, etc. “Imagine the amount of work incentive representatives today have to do to manage a small order, not to mention help the client select the items.”  Her platform, she says, provides an end-to-end digital solution.
The challenge, she says, aligns with what she says is her company’s mantra: “make it simple.” Ironically, she feels, the industry makes it anything but when it comes to making a small purchase for business sampling or a small event. “As a result, and the statistics prove it, an enormous amount of this business moves through retail.”

Other Brands Welcome to Participate

Rather than attempting to own an industry-wide transactional platform, Wysong says she decided to work with the Enterprise Engagement Alliance’s Brand Media Coalition to make the same features available to all brands, either on her company’s own platform or one they select for their own. Because most transactions are paid for by credit cards or on account, GGI removes all the burdens for participating brands. Note: Brand Media Coalition is the marketplace and brand education platform for RRN and its parent company the Enterprise Engagement Alliance.
Founded in 1993, GGI says it provides a complete range of high-end brands for the incentive, rewards, and recognition marketplace. Her master fulfillment company sells almost exclusively through leading incentive, recognition, event, promotional and other marketing and related companies, she underlines. See RRN: GGI Bridges Brands and Promotional Products.
The Brand Media Coalition division of the Enterprise Engagement Alliance launched the transactional platform as part of its outreach effort to help educate the business world on the power of brands; to provide a benefit for employees in the IRR (Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition) community, and to help the IRR (incentive, rewards, and recognition) industry adapt to the digital age. The Brand Media Coalition is open to all brands, their master fulfillment companies and gift cards who wish to test gated, transactional sites, according to Bruce Bolger, EEA and BMC founder.

Addressing an Untapped Market

These transactional sites are aimed at the companies with sales of over $10 million that are not being reached by 60 or so incentive, recognition, and loyalty companies who are mostly focused on the top US corporations. The transactional site is designed to be used by resellers to help make it easier for buyers to make smaller transactions for gifting, sampling, or other ad hoc purposes or to get samples for larger purchasing decisions. The platforms can include gift codes to support ad-hoc gifting programs and can be easily cloned for such purposes, Wysong explains.
“We’d be happy to provide our incentive, recognition, and loyalty company clients their own co-branded versions of these transactional sites for their own customers with the same turnkey-support,” Wysong says. “It’s an opportunity to educate more people about our industry.”
The Brand Media Coalition is dedicated to telling the story of brands in Incentive, Rewards, and Recognition (IRR) and related gifting and amenity programs. Click here to learn about the stories of about 40 leading brands and the master fulfillment companies that support them.
Says Bolger, Founder of the Brand Media Coalition, "While almost all industries have fully moved into the digital world, many of the players in the IRR business continue to rely on painfully outdated systems to process orders, meaning that it's much easier for many companies to simply buy at retail. In so doing, their corporate customers do not get the benefit of the considerable industry expertise and support services not available at retail."
For Information About GGI
Ree Wysong, Founder
GGI Luxury Brands
For Information About the Brand Media Coalition
Bruce Bolger, Founder
Enterprise Engagement Alliance
914-591-7600, ext. 230

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