Features | November 23, 2021
Tips for Selling Auto ID Labels
Demand for auto ID labels, such as barcode or radio-frequency identification (RFID) labels, is historically high. Ordinarily, it would be easy to sell more of a product in high demand. But as most of us know, these are no ordinary times in the label business.
Whether you already sell auto ID labels or are looking for a new product, here are some pointers on selling in this busy market.
Target the Right Customers
Virtually every industry utilizes auto ID labels to capture data and simplify work processes. Warehouse and logistics businesses are the most obvious users, but you should also consider other businesses, such as:
- Health care: Hospitals, doctor and dental offices, laboratories, and pharmacies all utilize auto ID labels to keep track of patients, specimens and prescriptions.
- Cannabis: The cannabis industry is quickly expanding to meet increased demand. Growers, consumer product manufacturers and dispensaries utilize auto ID labels to track and trace products, meet regulatory requirements and manage inventory.
- Retail: The use of auto ID labels in retail has gone beyond simply the familiar SKU barcodes to include RFID, inventory management, ecommerce and logistics, and marketing/promotions.
Help Your Auto ID Customers Navigate a Tumultuous Market
The pandemic and associated business trends have led to especially high demand for labels that help facilitate ecommerce or the movement of products throughout the supply chain.
This means increased opportunities for you to sell more labels. But high demand, supply chain issues and an inflationary environment are also creating industry-wide challenges. To stay ahead of your competitors, you must offer exceptional customer service.
What follows are key best practices to keep in mind.
Communicate Early and Often
Proactively let your customers know to expect longer lead times and potential cost increases due to the supply chain issues.
Encourage Customers to Plan in Advance
Don’t wait for your customers to come to you hoping they can get their labels in time.
- Ask if they anticipate the need for more auto ID labels in the coming months and encourage them to order early — far earlier than they may have in the past.
- Does your customer place orders on a regular cadence? Take the initiative to suggest they adjust their timing.
- Does your customer have a large auto ID labeling project, such as a warehouse reorganization? Suggest that the label order is prioritized early in the project to provide extra lead time.
Focus on Solutions
Work with your customers to find solutions. There may be creative options to help meet their auto ID label needs, especially if they can be flexible.
Label Material: One of the biggest issues currently facing the label industry is the availability of raw materials. Auto ID labels can be produced using a wide variety of materials, with varied availability and lead time. There may be situations where multiple material options could work. Perhaps a customer can compromise on how long the label needs to last, to meet short-term needs. There may also be cases where a label can be run on a different material than usual, perhaps with the addition of a durable coating.
Printing Method: Auto ID labels can be produced using flexographic, digital or hybrid printing presses. In some instances a customer’s order may be able to be produced utilizing an alternative method. For example, maybe a customer who has always ordered very large print runs of flexographic auto ID labels can get by with a smaller order of digitally printed labels.
Multi-Tasking Labels: It is possible to incorporate auto ID features into a wide variety of labels, including marketing and branding labels. In some cases, your customers may be able to combine their barcode labels with other product labels.
What is Printed in House? Many auto ID labels are printed in house, using blank or partially pre-printed labels. In some cases, it may be possible to print more in house or vice versa.
Production and Shipping Locations: If your label supplier has multiple production locations, they may be able to adjust where your customers’ labels are produced and shipped out.
Provide Accurate Information
The raw material and pricing situation for the label industry is quickly changing at this point. Double check prices and lead time for any of your customers’ orders. It’s better to get accurate information and let your customers know before the order is placed, rather than going back to them with changes.
When faced with an upset customer, don’t make promises based on a best-case scenario, rather than the most realistic outcome. If you overpromise and then can’t deliver, it’s only going to make customers angry. On the other hand, if things go better than planned and the order comes in faster, you will have exceeded your customer’s expectations.
Be Patient and Empathize
Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of an unhappy customer. Try to explain the issues that are affecting the entire label industry, but also listen to your customers and let them vent. In the long run, they aren’t angry with you but with the situation. And that is something all of us can empathize with.
DLS Vice President of Marketing James Cirigliano has spent the last 10 years helping print distributors increase their label sales. He leads a creative and strategic team to help DLS customers with marketing collateral, web content and customized videos. You can reach James at email@example.com to learn more about DLS and how you can sell more labels to these markets.
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