FedEx Office Introduces Promotional Products
FedEx announced last week that it will now start selling promotional products, joining other big names previously separate from the industry, like Costco and Walmart. FedEx’s plan has even more in common with those two, as they are all sourcing products from Harland Clarke.
“Through our business insights, we know our small to mid-size business customers are looking for solutions t will keep their brand top of mind as they reopen and work to reengage with their customers and drive revenue,” Kim Dixon, executive vice president and chief operating officer for FedEx Office, said in a press release. “This brand offering is the latest example that demonstrates the FedEx Office commitment to provide our customers trusted services and solutions to grow their businesses.”
FedEx Office said in the release that it hopes to appeal to businesses that experienced financial hardships during the pandemic and are now working to build their brand back up using promotional advertising.
The product offering itself from FedEx office is similar to what CostCo and Walmart offered, too—apparel, drinkware, bags, office supplies, food, toys and writing instruments. The only difference is that now there’s a heavier focus on PPE, such as face masks, as they’ve now cemented themselves as a cornerstone of the promotional products industry.
This timing could also have implications for the Staples-Office Depot. merger that was originally blocked. Given the new nature of the industry just a few years later after the first attempt, thanks to Amazon getting involved in the office supply and promotional products industry, the merger might finally go through. FedEx Office is just one more competitor on that plain of promotional products existence.
But, like we also saw with Amazon, Walmart and Costco, there’s no reason to believe that anything like this would do too much damage to the traditional supplier-distributor model used in the promotional industry today. Customers who use FedEx Office already might start using this service. But, like we saw with Walmart and Costco joining the industry, the impact on the industry will likely be minimal.
For most end-buyer clients, they have existing relationships with distributors who work directly with suppliers. A name like FedEx is well-known, and this is certainly something to pay attention to, but it’s not quite the industry disruptor that some might think it appears to be.
And the promotional products industry is also particularly aware of the importance of relationships. Big-name stores like this can only offer so much, and strong personal bonds and friendships between distributors and end-buyers aren't typically part of the package.