5 tips to help you avoid disappointment when buying uniforms and merchandise
1. Purchase from a reputable vendor
One of the easiest ways to get scammed and lose money is by purchasing items from a business or website that is not reputable.
It’s important to know where your goods are coming from and that there is someone you can contact if something goes wrong. Online stores that provide only a gmail or hotmail address and mobile number, but no physical address, should be probably be avoided.
It’s not uncommon for these types of vendors to provide cheap and tacky garments, counterfeit garments, poor quality or incorrect branding on garments, or for the items to simply not arrive at all. To avoid losing money and wasting time, it’s best to go with a vendor you can trust.
2. Ask about set-up fees and freight
You think you’ve found the best deal possible. The item you are after is $3 cheaper here than it is at any other supplier. You quickly put in an order to take advantage of the amazing deal before it goes away. However, when the bill arrives, the picture no longer seems so rosy. The vendor failed to include the freight costs and branding setup fees in your original quote. These fees are incredibly high (probably to make up for the smaller profit being made on the cheap items), the price you’re paying is now the same or maybe even higher than the other vendors you were looking at and the service you received was definitely substandard.
Save yourself from this situation by asking about these costs prior to ordering.
3. Check your quote
It’s always important to check you quote to ensure you are ordering exactly what you want and that there has been no errors or miscommunication. This is even more important when you consider that some vendors may actually quote you for the wrong item to make it seem like their product is the cheapest.
For example, say you phone or email a supplier requesting the price of a blue polo shirt, instead they give you the price of their cheapest blue tee shirt (not polo shirt). The price is very low and it seems like a great deal so you quickly place an order without properly checking your quote. Somewhere down the line, usually after receipt of goods, you realise what you ordered was not what you wanted. To make matters worse, since you approved the quote with the incorrect items, you can’t dispute the order and get a refund.
At this point you will either have to use the incorrect items you received and risk devaluing your brand or try to remedy the issue which will mean much more time and money spent - hardly the bargain you were after. Either way it will now cost you more than if you had gone with even the most expensive quote in the beginning.
4. Be careful of purchasing from overseas vendors
Purchasing products from overseas vendors is often a lot cheaper than buying them locally - or is it? While it may seem like buying from cheap overseas suppliers is the obvious route to save you and your business money, this may not be the case.
When goods are delivered to Australia, they are often subject to a number of fees from Australian Customs including duty, gst and customs clearance fees that must be paid before the items will be released and delivered to you.
Another way you can get caught out is by not checking that the prices quoted or listed on the website are in the correct currency. Many international vendors price their goods in US dollars, which when converted into AUS dollars can quickly make something that seemed very cheap, much more expensive. There may also be fees associated with currency conversion which will probably be included in your purchase.
5. Watch out for marketing tricks
Many businesses employ tactics to make them seem like the best or cheapest option, which is fine, as long as you can read between the lines. For example, just because a business advertises the ‘lowest price’ for a particular product, does not mean all of their products are going to be cheaper than average. Many businesses have what’s referred to as a “loss leader” which is essentially a product sold at a very low price in order to lure customers in and fuel the perception that their businesses must be cheaper than others across the board. This is often not true, so it’s important to compare prices across businesses for the exact products you’re after rather than falling for vague promotional promises.