What Rocks about This Addition To Pollock’s President’s Club Strategic Supplier Partners

You may not know this company’s name. But you absolutely, guaranteed, no-doubt-about-it know the product they invented:

Stretch wrap.

Yes. Lantech invented stretch wrap in 1972 at the peak of our nation’s energy crisis. And since then, stretch wrap has served as the standard for unitizing pallets.

Lantech’s changed a little since then (sarcasm intended).

They now hold the rights to more than 277 patents that help customers just like you eliminate wasted material and money from your supply chain. Lantech now has a goal to eliminate damaged products throughout the supply chain entirely.

Today, they manufacture essentially two categories of equipment:

  • Stretch wrappers
  • Case equipment

1. Highlights of Lantech’s Stretch-Wrapping Machines

Semi-automatic machinery wraps 20-40 loads per hour. Automatics top out at well over 180 loads per hour, depending on the machine you choose.

The Q-series is the most popular semi-automatic model. It’s entry-level and makes it easy to stretch wrap most common loads and sizes. The S-series is designed specifically for unstable, light, and heavy loads. And finally, the G-series is a high-quality, long-lasting option for the low-volume user.

With the automatic stretch wrappers, the Q-series gets you up to 70 loads per hour. The S-series weighs in at about 100, and the RL series does the highest volumes at 180 loads per hour – all without any jams.

2. Highlights of Lantech’s Case Equipment

Lantech’s case erectors and case sealers keep your cases square – but they do not jam! That means increased productivity and less time with technical troubleshooting.

Both machine types automatically adjust to the case width you need wrapped. With the case erectors, 8 suction cups hold boxes in place while corners get formed. Unique flap folders also help to maintain perfect 90-degree corners. The two-stage flap folding system in the case sealers assures flat surfaces so your product stacks safely and with perfect stability. Case sealers also come loaded with rulers and counters to ensure perfect accuracy throughout the entire sealing process.

Clearly, Lantech has progressed way ahead from where it first started with stretch wrapping. When their stretch wrapping machinery makes sense for you, we’re more than happy to recommend them!

What Successful B2B Retailers Do Online in 2018

Up to this point, we’ve mostly covered B2C retail. So it’s only fitting we give the B2B folks a fair shake too.

And besides, some of the lessons you learn will translate over to B2C also, if you serve that niche.

So take a look at what some leading B2B ecommerce retailers do to keep their online retail sales strong:

1. Block Pricing Until Customers Log In

Why do successful online brands like Selini NY do this? Doesn’t that actually make it harder for buyers to purchase?

They don’t want competitors to easily access their pricing and then undercut them. So, they simply force a buyer to prove they are in fact a buyer by making them login.

But, to login, you need to show a valid tax ID, which reveals your company’s identity.

2. Offer Live Chat Customer Service

A McKinsey & Company study found “slow response times” are the top online ordering complaint for B2B buyers.

And make no mistake about it – B2B buyers are increasingly becoming Millennials, who demand immediate response times (versus over-the-phone customer service).

How do you meet their demand?

Easy. Live chat.

It’s actually easy to install and add to your website (for once).

Check out Freund Container to see it in action.

3. Outdo Your Competition with Education and Product Feature Explanations

Because Millennial buyers don’t like to talk on the phone, and because your competitors shower your prospects with content, you have to participate in that part of sales too.

The rule of thumb is this: everything you do to sell in person needs to be replicated online.

Most companies, at least when they’re new to online sales through content, skimp. You’re better off doing nothing at all than putting up thin content.

Because everything’s online, you can also research your competitors, see what they say, and then provide more in-depth content that educates them on what they want to know about your product.

Don’t fall for the trap of telling them what you want them to know. That results in lost sales. Tell your prospects what they want to know, and you’ll be fine.

Bright AgroTech offers a simple (and doable) example of what to do.

4. Allow Your Customers to Buy How They Want – Without Talking to Customer Service

Your website should support customers’ ability to repurchase their same order with just a single click, get quantity discounts, and set up a recurring order.

This seems like just a small thing (as compared to contacting customer service). But, it saves steps for your prospects.

And anything you do to save them steps results in more sales for you.

Sincerely Nuts allows you to automatically replenish at different intervals.

So in the B2B world, those are some simple (and doable) things you can include to increase your sales.

Which makes most sense for your company?

How Macy’s is Surviving the Retail Apocalypse

You’ve heard all the nightmare stories about various retailers closing dozens of stores – or even going out of business entirely.

…But what do some of the bigger names do that keep them in business, even with Amazon approaching $1 trillion in value?

Macy’s is going exactly the opposite way many retailers are heading. They beat Wall Street expectations in the first quarter and showed a positive second quarter of comparable sales.

Their stock price has risen from $17.53 in November of last year to $37.55!

That’s a 114% gain in under a year.

So what does Macy’s know that few other retailers don’t seem to get? And what can you learn and apply from Macy’s example?

Well, take a look:

1. They Get What Customers Actually Want

Customers do want discounts and promotions. But, big names have found out those aren’t as effective as the in-store experience, where Amazon currently can’t compete.

Macy’s CEO Jeffrey Gennette even said in a recent earnings call,”We are in the experience business.”

Macy’s has been piloting virtual reality to show customers what furniture looks like in real living spaces, for example.

2. Innovations in Their Flagship Store

Macy’s Herald Square in New York CIty is currently the world’s largest store, with 10.5 stories and nearly 2 million square feet of shopping space.

The store has its own app. For example, when customers walk in, they immediately get a notice that tells them they get 25% off on select items.

The app also offers indoor navigation maps for the store. And to make the retailer’s beloved Santaland tradition practically painless, the app allowed customers to make their reservation ahead of time so they didn’t have to stand in line.

3. Macy’s Loyalty Program

At the most difficult time in the past year (back in November when Macy’s stock price cratered), the company decided to add a loyalty program (rather than a deals, deals, deals program).

Customers who spent $1,200 or more with Macy’s in a year, for example, got 5% back in store credit and free shipping.

So, the focus wasn’t offering deals which led to one-and-done customers. They wanted to get customers back to having a strong relationship with Macy’s.

That’s how Macy’s totally knocks it out of the park – even amidst all these other retailers shutting their doors. Of course, it’s not all they do.

But what can you learn from them, and are you willing to study Macys to see what might help you thrive in retail in 2019 and beyond?

4 Retailers Opening New Stores in 2018

As Amazon approaches a $1 trillion value, the news for most retailers appears grim. Toys R Us had to shutter its doors. A slew of other retailers have had to do the same.

But amidst all the chaos, several chains are actually opening new stores. In total, retailers are opening 1,700 new stores, while closing 3,000 on the year, says an article at CNBC.

So what about these guys opening new stores? Do they have a strategy? Are they just crazy? Both?

Take a minute to look at a few of them, what they’re planning, and how you might apply what they’re doing to your own business plan:

1. Ulta Beauty

This company’s planning to open 100 of those 1,700 total new stores in 2018. Ulta feels like it can drive more market share gain this way.

They’re also remodeling old stores to include skin services, makeup stations, and cosmetics bars.

Takeaways: Do you have any value-added services you can offer your customers? Have you fully met market demand?

2. Target

Seems odd that a large retailer has plans to open more stores in 2018, doesn’t it? Well, Target will add 35 smaller stores, which, the company says, have more profit per square foot than their larger counterparts.

These smaller stores offer more groceries and clothing – items which customers return frequently to buy.

Takeaway: How can you more adequately meet niche demand?

3. Dollar General

Wow, this chain plans to open 900 of those 1,700 total new locations – more than 50%! How can they possibly consider doing this in 2018’s retail environment?

Simple, Dollar General serves low-income shoppers in rural communities. Although they have rival Dollar Tree (who also owns Family Dollar), they’re in a niche they already dominate which other chains have decided not to serve.

Key takeaway: Are there any unique opportunities or niches in your market that other companies pass over?

4. Warby Parker

This originally online retailer plans to open 40 new stores in 2018. Many other internet retailers plan to follow.

Why?

Consumers are demanding it. Plus, these companies know the location of their customers. So, they simply look for customer hotbeds, and then open a physical store with a convenient location.

Takeaway: How can you use online data to inform your offline strategy?

More physical stores may be right for you and your customers. And hopefully these examples have showed you how you can use them to increase your sales and market share.

EMI Yoshi Rocks Disposable Entertaining Plasticware

EMI Yoshi is one of those suppliers who truly understands differentiation.

And you immediately notice this when you see their products.

It’s their goal to add luxury and sophistication to the presentation of your food. You’ll make a smash hit as the people you serve wet their taste buds simply by looking at what you have to serve.

Take a look at a few of the products to get a feel for what we mean:

1. 7” Crystal Tray

C’mon, when’s the last time you can recall seeing anything plastic like this? Imagine perfectly sliced fruit, hors d’oeuvres, or even a simple snack like cheese and crackers carefully arranged on this tray.

It’s just one of many varieties of trays you can find with EMI Yoshi.

2. Color Shooter Glasses Add Life

What do you get with most plasticware, or any kind of dinnerware, for that matter?

White. Clear.

…Sigh.

Okay, so for most events those work well. But what if you want to liven up your event?

For example, check out these 1.5-oz neon lights shooters:

Alcohol is supposed to get your party going, right? Well, why not take it one step further and add more flair with colorful shooters?

3. Wavy Bowls Give Your Dessert a Powerful Presentation

Finally, take a look at this fascinating wavy bowl:

Whoa! Ever seen anything like that at a large event before? Think your guests have?

Designs like this are sure to impress.

So now that you have a better sense of what EMI Yoshi is all about, get to know it better as a company.

Clearly, you get an exquisite look with the affordability of plastic. You also get a company committed to hassle-free customer service. Include with that ridiculously fast delivery times, and you have a recipe for success.

And finally, realize EMI Yoshi is committed to caring for the environment too. You may not think that way when you consider a company that manufactures plastic tableware.

For starters, understand that polystyrene cups and plates use far less energy and water to make than their paper counterparts. One study found they use half the energy. And a

4 Retail Trends to Follow for a Successful Close to 2018

You usually the trends articles coming out around the end and beginning of the year because that’s when everyone’s getting their business plans in place. However, you still have time left in 2018 and you can get a jump on 2019 by understanding key trends driving retail going forward.

Here’s some big ones to understand and act on:

1. Experiential Marketing

This is what you can do in-store that online retailers simply cannot match. For example, Restoration Hardware isn’t just a hardware store. Instead, in their flagship stores, they offer in-person experiences of the bars and bistros they can help you make so you get immersed in the actual experience of the final product.

How can you make the same happen in your own store?

2. A Hyperfocus on Efficient Logistics

Americans have more leisure time than any previous generation. However, they also spend more of that time in front of one of their many digital screens. They don’t want to waste their time trying to figure out what to buy, only to find out it costs too much.

Smart retailers offer in-store pickup, omnichannel online shopping, same-day delivery (locally if nothing else), and reliable delivery estimates.

Tough to execute because of all the moving pieces. But necessary if you want to thrive.

3. Showcase Your Brand Values In-Store

Amidst all the retailers filing bankruptcy or shutting down mass numbers of stores, Microsoft and Dyson are actually opening their first stores. Yes, right here in 2018.

Why?

Part of the reason lies in their wise decision to differentiate. But part of it also reflects their desire to connect with consumers on a deeper emotional level by sharing their brand values.

Millenials, the generation who will have more spending power than any previous one, want to spend money with companies who take care of the environment, have a high sense of general social responsibility, and who have their businesses optimized for digital shopping.

How can you execute the same and serve your own market?

4. Scintillating Service from Associates

If a customer enters your store looking for a blue dress recommended online by a friend, do your associates know how to quickly find it?

A 2018 PwC Global survey found the number one factor for customers to have a positive in-store experience lies in your sales associates’ knowledge.

Can your team quickly, efficiently, and accurately answer any store associate question thrown their way?

Retail isn’t easy. And it won’t get any easier. But these trends give you an indication of what to focus on to not just survive, but lead the future.

How You Can Prep Yourself for Big 4th Quarter Success Starting Right Now

Back-to-school shopping season has fallen upon us. For the next six weeks or so, you get to reap the rewards.

As hectic as your store might already be, somehow you have to prep yourself for the holiday sales rush too.

What should you think about? A few things:

1. Forecast Your Sales

You should be able to predict your 2018 holiday season sales with reasonable accuracy. Technological analytics tool make this possible.

If you’re having a hard time with that, it’s time to consider investing in those systems so you have them in place for future years.

Make sure you have your hottest sellers ready to go. And also compensate for shipping delays due to supplier stock issues or severe weather.

2. Get Your Team Ready

What’s one of the leading differentiators for physical stores?

Customer service.

That’s one place where you can beat Amazon. Without any physical stores available at their disposal, you can capitalize by offering a scintillating in-store service experience.

Employees should know your product and get your customers to what they want immediately. Give your employees the power to hand out on-the-spot discounts for hesitant customers. Offer your customers milk and cookies or hot cocoa (no joke).

Arm your staff with candy to give away to children. Ask parents for permission first. But if staff see a cranky child, they can come to the rescue with a little treat for a child who calms down.

Attract the top talent with above-market pay. Motivate them with performance incentives. And train them like you’re planning for the Super Bowl of retail (because you are).

3. Differentiate, Differentiate, Differentiate

If there’s one thing that works in every business during any market conditions, it’s differentiation. You’ve heard us talk about it on this blog before. So, strategize ways you can differentiate your store, brand, and experience from others.

Extend Cyber Monday an additional day to accommodate last-minute shoppers. Set up limited time offers on various products. Offer samples and in-store demos.

Go as far as using color to encourage spending. Blue and green relax and calm your customers, leading them to spend more. Psychological studies prove people also react faster and more forcefully when they see red.

The minutest details make a difference. So what haven’t you changed before that you could give a try this year?

These are all simply our ideas and suggestions. You have to try out new things and adapt as you believe will work best at your store.

Handi-Foil’s Award-Winning Products Make Them A Guaranteed Option

In business, can you name one thing that’s guaranteed?

Sure, you have a routine you go through every day. And sometimes, you can fall back on that and feel like your situation’s safe and secure.

But really, if you have any kind of experience, you know nothing’s guaranteed. Change is the only constant.

Well, Handi-Foil of America puts a wrinkle in that. If you want a vendor you can always count on to meet or exceed you and your customer’s expectations, it’s Handi-Foil.

Here’s why:

1. A Ridiculous Amount of Industry Credibility

Handi-Foil has won the Key Supplier Disposable Award. The American Institute of Baking gave HFA a “Superior” Certificate of Achievement. And the company’s won numerous other “Vendor of the Year” awards.

You might get a little skeptical of awards. After all, who knows if the company has friends on the selection committee?

However, when you win many different awards from various recognizable names in your industry, you know you’re doing something right in a big way.

2. Innovative Products Available

Every company says they have a focus on innovation. That’s standard corporate speak.

HFA has some cool innovations – so you can actually trust their capacity to think, progress, and lead their industry.

Example: their “Eco-Friendly Space-Saving Roll Foil” boxes. These have significantly cut warehousing, packaging, and shipping costs for customers.

Their Steam Table Pans are also 15% stronger than before and have a more attractive appearance. That makes them more useful – and good for serving. the Tru-Fit Steam Table Pan fits into the Full Steam Table Pan with minimal steam loss so your food stays hot and ready to serve, while also allowing you to serve more varieties.

And finally, the Eco-Foil product is made from 100% recycled aluminum, while also being 100% recyclable after use. So, you don’t create any waste!

Handi-Foil experienced tremendous growth in the past ten years. And with the awards they’ve won and the innovations you’ve seen, it’s easy to understand why.

So if you hear us recommend Handi-Foil when we believe their products make a good fit for you needs, you should absolutely jump with your arms straight up in the air, smile wide, and click your heels because you’re in great hands!

Pollock Paper sells the products you never think about

Lonnie Pollock III has friends that are doctors, lawyers and real estate big-wigs. You know, the typical professions that play well at parties.

So when he’s asked about what he does, people give him a funny look when he says, “I sell toilet paper.”

They usually give a small double take. But after all, somebody stocks those downtown office buildings with janitorial and office supplies.

From the Dallas Business Journal: https://www.bizjournals.com

Read More >>

Quick Analysis of Consumer Attitudes and Behavior for 2018

PwC Global just released its 2018 Consumer Insights Survey. To gather the data, the company surveyed 22,000 consumers in 27 territories.

Fortunately, there’s lots of good news to report. So let’s get right to the highlights:

1. Consumers Are Economically Optimistic

Consumers in general have great optimism about their local economies. As you know, that increases their willingness to spend. And that’s exactly what consumers plan to do.

Their desire to spend includes both online and at brick-and-mortar stores. And their optimism extends years into the future.

2. What Consumers Will Pay More For

Where does the opportunity lie? In the near future, much of it revolves around same-day shipping. Consumers will pay more to have you do this.

If there’s any way you can make this happen, even if only in select areas, you’re doing yourself a huge favor.

3. The Role of AI Devices

Alexa and Google Home are in the early stages of adoption yet. Men 18-34 use them most frequently.

These consumers will buy in bulk. 18% say they spend more now that they have an AI device. And 25% expect same-day delivery.

Brazil, China, and Southeast Asia have the greatest growth potential and most consumer interest in adding these devices to their home.

Should drone delivery become a reality, 40% of consumers say they’re willing to purchase and get a delivery by drone.

4. Consumer Habits

Believe it or not, the number of weekly brick-and-mortar shoppers increased from 40% in 2015 to 44% in 2018.

To understand what they want to purchase, consumers turn to social media first and foremost. 37% want to learn from social media influencers or their own friends, while just 34% turn to retail websites to learn what they like first.

Purchases by personal computer have fallen from 27% to 20% from 2010 – 2015. However, purchases from smartphones increased from 7% to 17% over the same time frame.

Just 14% of those surveyed expressed a willingness to purchase as a result of email.

Savvy retailers will put together these facts and create business and marketing systems that keep their revenues healthy – even as Amazon continues to lead the marketplace.

Why Hammermill Nails Your Paper Needs

Hammermill’s legacy in the paper industry stretches all the way back to 1899.

In its first decade of operations, the company grew to over 500 employees.

But why?

Well, partially due to its product quality. But Hammermill was also one of the most forward-thinking companies of its time.

They were the first to introduce profit sharing. They also offered paid vacations, sick time, and bonuses in a time when all were rare.

The company’s new patented watermarking process in that day ledto great efficiency in distribution.

While much has changed at Hammermill, its commitment to innovation and excellence has not. Even in 2000, before sustainability became the hot-button issue it is now, Hammermill was already planting several new trees for each one it cut down. They actually began a similar practice all the way back in 1960.

How’s that for thinking ahead?

And today, the digital era sets new standards and expectations for paper quality. Today’s business customer expects printshop quality right in their own office. And Hammermill delivers on that with paper designed specifically to create the best resolution on today’s printers.

The company also has even more sustainable options, like its Great White 100, which is paper made from 100% recycled post-consumer pulp.

Hammermill has also designed its paper to be 99.99% jam-free.

Paper for Nearly Every Purpose

Yes, the trend today is to make everything digital. But sometimes, you still need to use a little paper. And since Hammermill harvests paper in a sustainable way, you don’t have to worry about harming the earth.

Here are some of Hammermill’s products and the situations they’re specially designed for:

1. Tidal paper offers solid performance at a reasonable cost. It works best for internal purposes and general everyday use. Its ColorLok technology helps ink dry 3x faster so it doesn’t smudge. Black ink shows up 60% bolder, while color ink appears 30% more vivid.
2. The Colors product line helps you deliver the most impressive experience possible. So, this would be for customers or making an impact on decision-makers at your business. You can get it in 15 different colors and it comes with a smooth surface for maximum showthrough.

So if you need paper for any reason, don’t hesitate when you hear the name Hammermill. You’re guaranteed to be in good hands!

What Makes Fabri-Kal’s Packaging So Awesome

Yep, we’re happy to recommend Fabri-Kal packaging when it makes sense for your needs.

While not the biggest company in its industry, you have to remember that it’s not necessarily the size which matters: it’s their ability to create functional, lasting packaging that meets your precise specifications.

And that’s what the smaller companies frequently rock at. Marriott and Purdue University use Fabri-Kal products, so you know they have what it takes to make even the best of the best happy.

Yes, they have a focus on “world class customer service,” but every company says that. So what’s it really mean at Fabri-Kal?

Well, for starters, they use functionality testing and thermoforming simulations to predict the functionality of your packaging’s design before it’s even made. This is part of what they call the “FK Experience.”

Basically, their experts work jointly with you to help you arrive at a packaging solution that precisely meets your needs.

They rapidly develop a prototype of your packaging so you have a 3D concept to share with your team. And you can even get a short product run to test on your market and gather intelligence.

Plus, since they have a new 400,000 square-foot production facility, that means any volume you request can be quickly and easily made.

A History of Innovation Dating Back to 1950

Chobani, General Mills, and PepsiCo have all engaged Fabri-Kal for groundbreaking innovations in their respective industries.

But, while these happened recently, this really hasn’t been anything new for Fabri-Kal customers.

Fabri-Kal itself began as a 5,000 square foot operation in Kalamazoo, MI in 1950. Their first innovation was buying a machine to produce paint cups for the growing paint-by-number industry at the time.

By 1961, they created their second manufacturing plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. And they opened a third in Piedmont, South Carolina in 1981.

And today, some of their existing products already meet customer specifications, so customers (like Marriott) don’t even have the need to engage in a more costly customized product creation process.

In Marriott’s case, Fabri-Kal’s cup protected the hotel chain’s yogurt parfaits, and its Greenware line was already environmentally friendly. So, Marriott was simply able to order from existing product lines.

So whether you need a custom product, or one that already meets a specific purpose, Fabri-Kal meets your needs. And you should brim with excitement when you hear us recommend them to you.