BEWARE!! – of the cheap price

Since the credit crunch came to the public eye a lot has happened to this industry and not all for the better. My feelings on the past 18 months are mainly that the business is still out there but the companies taking x product are wanting x product again just cheaper or they are wanting an alternative that once again is cheaper. This is fine and we’ll do everything we can for every customer or potential customer but somewhere along this price path there has to be a limit to what can be done.

Recently I worked on a job for USB memory sticks, the product was roughly £4 and my competition was selling at £3, that’s 25% cheaper than my price, I’m buying this product direct from the factory in China and I’m bringing it in using our own freight company and I’d be more than happy to in the first instance be making 25% let alone wipe off 25% in price – so how is it done? This is my concern and on this product I know how it’s done, the product is compromised, you can only go so long dragging down the price of the product before you get to absolute cost value so to get cheaper you have to drive down the quality of the product. The USB has to have recycled memory so you end up with a high failure rate, the cotton shopper is made in 4oz cotton instead of 5oz and it’s not interlock stitched so when you put a bit of weight in it the handles tear off, the pen has a refill that’s only a quarter full and the end result is that it the end user has a pen that runs out in no time. So how does this reflect on the company giving away the product and of course the company supplying it (us)…it reflects badly.

LSi was not built on this and I know that our MD, Lloyd Simpson, would simply not allow this company to go forward in this way. Our aim is to keep our customers for life not for one order that makes us good profit. We’d rather just walk away from orders like this.

So why the blog? Well I want any customer or any potential customer to know what LSi are about, I will hold my hands up and tell anyone that we’re not the cheapest company out there but I don’t want to be. I want to be the best and I want to be the best value for money for all our contacts and we will NEVER compromise the product.

Be it 10 USB sticks or 50,000 polo shirts, we’re here to help and advise. myself and my team are always available.

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A Little Update From The Web Designer

I’ve had an especially busy time of late, designing a couple of websites for a customer and a potential customer, designing the new site for The Big Promo Gift Show (out very soon) and already working on the LSi site for next year (even though the current site’s only been there a month or two… I never stand still!).

Generally speaking, whenever I create a new website I try to do something I’ve never done before. It may not be obvious to the user but it helps me develop. From the four sites mentioned above I’ve created a new layout style, created a new way of filtering products, found a new way of manipulating CSS to make it specific web browsers do what I want and am heavily playing with mySQL and PHP. If you don’t learn you’ll never get better. I don’t get as much time as I used to for pure learning and development work as I used to so I’m applying things on the job a lot more and testing them rigorously before deployment.

Apparently, the site I’ve done for our new potential customer was better than one that another promotional merchandise distributor did, which is nice, and is helping bring in the deal. The one for the current customer could well lead onto another 3 or 4 as they want one per range rather than a single one for everything they do. It’s be far the most advanced ordering site I’ve created so far using the system we use. Hard work but it’s more to show potential clients when we go to show them what we can do, isn’t it?!

A bit of LSi site news for you: I’ve updated the Who Are We? page on the LSi site to show a few old photos – if you want to see how Lloyd looked in 1995, that’s the place to go! New content for Our Aims and some new products will be coming soon.

Don’t forget that you can follow me on twitter @scottthewebdes.

Ta for reading!

Scott

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Customer Service Survey

The LSi customer satisfaction survey has been launched this week!  We have had a positive response so far from many of our customers, which is great, so many thanks to those of you who have completed the survey so far, all feedback is gratefully received.

If you have not yet had chance to fill in the survey, you still have time.  It is a good opportunity to let us know what you think of us and the service we provide – What do we do well? What can we improve? We want to know your thoughts.  The results received will be analysed and go towards developing our customer service standards.

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RSS Feeds And How To Use Them

This post isn’t about LSi, promotional merchandise or corporate clothing, it’s about how to use this blog – and the Internet as a whole – as well as you can.

You’ll notice that in the top right of each page on this site, there’s a button that reads ‘Subscribe to our RSS feed‘. If you don’t know what an RSS feed is, how you use them and what they can do for you, this post is well worth reading. You’ll get a whole lot more out of the Internet in general when you understand and use RSS.

RSS Logo

RSS Logo

RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a way for websites such as this to give data to people quickly and easily. You may have noticed while on your Internet travels that this little square orange icon keeps appearing – this is the RSS icon. If you’re using Internet Explorer 7 or 8 it appears on your toolbar next to your ‘Home’ button as well as on our pages. If you click it you’ll be taken to a special page which contains just the content of this blog.

RSS Feed in Internet Explorer

RSS Feed in Internet Explorer

As you can see in the screenshot above, there’s a link that says ‘Subscribe to this feed’. Click that to add our feed to your feeds menu.

‘Where is my feeds menu?’, I hear you ask..! Well, click the ‘Favourites’ menu – the one with a star next to it – next to your row of tabs (this only applies to Internet Explorer 7 & 8, remember, I’ll be going onto alternative methods later on – including the one I personally use). You’ll see that this little menu has three tabs, Favourites, Feeds and History. The ‘Feeds’ one is the one you want to click on. You’ll see that our feed will now be in amongst a couple of pre-loaded Microsoft ones.

The feed title changes to bold text when there are new messages so you know what you’ve read and what you haven’t. Have a play about with it, it’s like discovering a new world! Personally speaking, I use a different RSS reader called ‘Google Reader‘, which is a website as opposed to being attached to your browser. This allows me to read all my feeds wherever I am on other computers or on my phone.

Google Reader

Google Reader

As you’ll see, I’ve got loads of feeds coming in from many different sources on many different topics. I can read them in a big list, as seen above, by section by using the panels on the left or by feed by expanding the folders which I’ve organised my feeds into. It saves me so much time each day knowing that I’m only getting the news and information I’m interested in and not having to trawl through websites to find those little nuggets of information that my particular feeds seem to throw towards me. I can only imagine how much I used to miss before I started using this! You can sign up for Google Reader for free at Google.

You can also subscribe by using Outlook so all your feeds come in to the same program as your e-mail. To do this, copy the address of the feed, click on Tools > Account Settings then the ‘RSS Feeds’ tab. Click ‘New’ and paste your feed address in and it will be added to the ‘RSS Feeds’ menu next your inbox, sent items etc. Again, the title will go bold when you’ve got something new to read.

To summarise, if you want to read your feeds anywhere, use Google Reader. If you’re not bothered by that, use your browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc) or Outlook (if you have it).

I hope I’ve described RSS feeds to you in a way you understand and that you can see the benefits in using them, not just for this website but to enhance your internet use all round.

If you’ve got any questions, just leave a comment using the form below, e-mail me directly at scott@lsi-gifts.co.uk or follow me on Twitter @scottthewebdes. I’ll be happy to help.

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