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Links Launches New Online Catalog for the Industry

Links Unlimited, one of the nation’s largest master fulfillment companies, has launched an online catalog to help its channel partners more rapidly source and recommend the right brands for their clients’ programs. 
Links Unlimited is joining the growing number of master fulfillment companies offering an online catalog to help its solution partners rapidly access real-time information on brands, products, pricing, customization and personalization capabilities. 
According to company President Scott Kooken, the catalog includes a product “configurator” that helps users easily drill down to the appropriate brands and products and to present the products in the right way to their customers. To qualify for access to advanced features, channel partners fill out a registration form and, when approved, receive instructions for signing in. “We validate every registrant to confirm they’re legitimate resellers,” he says. “We do our due diligence so that only the right people can see the pricing and availability.” Click here to apply for access to the new catalog. 
The catalog is designed for promotional products distributors as well as incentive and recognition companies looking for bulk purchases or drop-shipping of products, with customization and personalization if desired. People can browse the site without registering, but they must register and be qualified to see pricing and to use the site’s product presentation features.
Kooken believes there’s a major opportunity to expand the sale of brands through distributors for business, event and imprinted gifting. In the past, distributors have avoided using brands for gifting and imprinted products because of concerns about pricing and the perceived ability for end-users to buy direct. Today, that is changing, Kooken says. “It’s about educating the brands about this new distribution channel for bulk sale of brands, and it’s also about educating the distributors on the power of brands.” 
Brands, he explains, want to make sure their products are properly presented. While they like the idea of perhaps thousands of new distributors bringing their products to market, “they also want to be assured that their brands are being used for the right purpose.” As for promotional products distributors, “I believe they’re becoming more interested in brands because they know that brands have more perceived value and that people are more likely to hold on to brands. For instance, S’well water bottles were originally created as a more environmentally-sensitive water bottle. Now companies are spending more for S’well bottles as gifts because using that brand makes a statement that they’re concerned about the environment. We have to help the distributor community understand how brands tell stories and how to make money selling them, and to ensure that brands are used properly for the intended purposes and audiences.”
Kooken admits there’s a learning curve. “The biggest learning curve is that there’s less margin in brands, but that in most cases distributors can more than make up for that in volume, customization and personalization. Their clients increasingly value retail brands and it’s our job to help distributors profit from this trend.”
Customization and personalization have become so important, Kooken says, that Links Unlimited is coming up with a separate rate card of customization and personalization options that are commissionable to distributors. “We want to make it very easy for our channel partners to present customization and personalization options and occasion-based messaging, as well as our event-gifting experiences,” he explains. “We are also putting a big emphasis on creating unique product combinations and kitting options so that recipients receive thoughtful reward combinations they can’t buy at retail.” 
Links Unlimited Corporate Sales
(866) 465-4657

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