MERCH TERMINOLOGY: YOUR GO-TO GUIDE FOR ORDERING BRANDED MERCHANDISE

Navigating the world of branded merchandise can be tricky, especially with all the industry-specific jargon. Whether you’re new to ordering merch or just need a refresher, this cheat sheet covers the most common terms you’ll encounter. Keep this guide handy for your next chat with your account manager!

 

1. General Terms

  • MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity): The smallest quantity of a product that can be ordered. Different items have different MOQs based on production and cost factors. Think of it as the minimum batch to get the ball rolling.
  • Lead Time: The countdown from placing your order to when your goodies are delivered. This includes both production and shipping. Patience is key here!
  • Local vs. Offshore Production:
    • Local: Production within your own country. It’s quicker but can be pricier.
    • Offshore: Production abroad. Takes a bit longer but can save some bucks on bulk orders.

2. Artwork & Design

  • Artwork: The visual magic that will be printed on your merch. Usually needs to be in a crisp format like vector (.AI, .EPS) for top-notch quality.
  • Proof: Your sneak peek at the product with your artwork before the full run. This is your moment to spot any issues and give the thumbs-up.
  • Pantone Matching System (PMS): A colour code system that keeps your hues consistent across different materials and processes. Perfect for that brand consistency.
  • Vector Graphics: Designs made up of paths that stay sharp no matter the size. Essential for clear, high-quality printing.

3. Printing & Decoration Methods

  • Screen Printing: Ink is pushed through a screen onto the product. Best for large quantities and simple designs.
  • Digital Printing: Direct-to-product printing from a digital file. Ideal for detailed, multi-coloured designs and smaller batches.
  • Embroidery: Threads stitched into fabric to create your design. Gives a classy, professional look, perfect for hats and polos.
  • Heat Transfer: Uses heat to apply a printed design onto the product. Great for intricate images and smaller quantities.
  • Debossing/Embossing:
    • Debossing: Creates a recessed design on the surface.
    • Embossing: Raises the design on the surface. Both add a tactile, premium feel to your merch.

Check out this blog post for a more detailed look at print methods.

 

4. Materials & Products

  • Polyester: Durable, moisture-wicking synthetic fabric, often used in sportswear.
  • Cotton: Natural fiber known for its softness and breathability. A staple for t-shirts and tote bags.
  • PVC: Versatile plastic used in a variety of promotional products.
  • ABS Plastic: Tough plastic used for gadgets and toys.
  • Eco-Friendly Materials: Includes recycled polyester or organic cotton, ideal for minimizing your environmental footprint.

5. Order & Fulfillment

  • FOB (Free on Board): Specifies who covers shipping costs and when ownership shifts from seller to buyer. Critical for calculating your total costs.
  • Drop Shipping: Direct shipment from supplier to customer without you having to handle it. Perfect for streamlined, direct-to-consumer sales.
  • Inventory Management: Keeping track of stock levels to ensure you can meet demand without overstocking.

6. Customisation & Finishing

  • Personalisation: Adding individual names or details to each item, making them uniquely theirs. A hit for employee gifts!
  • Kitting: Combining multiple products into a single package or kit. Excellent for promotional sets.
  • Packaging Options: Custom boxes, eco-friendly materials, and more, to wrap up your merchandise just right.

7. Shipping & Logistics

  • Expedited Shipping: Speedy delivery at a premium price, ideal for rush orders.
  • Standard Shipping: Regular delivery times, usually the most budget-friendly option.
  • Tracking: Keeping tabs on your shipment’s journey from dispatch to doorstep.

8. Leave-Behind Items

Leave-Behind: Any item you give after a meeting, conference, or event to stay on someone’s radar. From business cards to high-end corporate gifts, these keep you memorable.

9. Lead Generation

Lead Generation: Identifying and cultivating potential customers. Promo products can draw attention and encourage people to learn more about your business.

10. Premiums

  • Premiums: Incentive or reward items given away in exchange for an action (like making a purchase or filling out a survey). Think t-shirts, hats, and water bottles.

Understanding these key terms can make the process of ordering branded merchandise smoother and more efficient. Whether you’re after custom t-shirts, promotional pens, or branded corporate gifts, being familiar with this terminology will help you communicate more effectively with your account manager and ensure you get the best possible results for your projects.

At sourcey.m, we’re the experts in navigating this merch landscape. Our team is here to guide you every step of the way, committed to delivering the best customer service in the biz. So, next time you’re ready to take your brand to the next level, we’ve got you!

Need some killer merch for an event or tradeshow?

Get in touch with the team and we will ensure it leaves a lasting impression.

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