What is an iBuy?
iBuy is an online platform that makes group buying easy. We’ll set up a site with the items you want, and you send the site out to your people. They select the products, sizes, can pay via credit card (if you want them to) and even enter their individual shipping addresses.
If I want to use an iBuy, what do I need to do?
First, tell your creative project manager you'd like to use iBuy. Then work with us to finalize the art and which items you want to offer. Your iBuy can then be activated and sent out to your people.
How does my iBuy get activated?
Your creative project manager will activate your iBuy, and you’ll get an email with a link to the signup page. Forward this email to anyone you want to be able to sign up so that they can see the items.
What will the link be, and how long will people have to sign up?
Your creative project manager will assign a link that relates to your order, which will be on our site: www.kotisibuy.com/your-text-here. As for how long people have to sign up, this is up to you. Usually we give people 3-7 days, but can change this to more or less depending on your schedule. Keep in mind that the longer the signups are open, the later the delivery will be. A good rule of thumb is no longer than 10 days.
- The max # of products on an iBuy is no more than 6 (combined, not per iBuy job).
- $2500 minimum per iBuy job.
iBuy in Action
What do I do while signups are open?
Just advertise the items. Make sure that everyone who might want the items knows what the link is, and remind them to buy the items by the deadline. You can review what items people have purchased on your order summary page.
How do I track what items people have purchased?
On the previous page, you’ll find all the information relevant to your iBuy: the address to purchase the items, the signup deadline, and a link to view who’s signed up for items.
What do I do once signups close?
After the signup period is over, you’ll need to confirm that everyone has had a chance to sign up, and submit your order to production. You can do this on the previous page, where you’ll also be able to see how many of each item have been ordered.
What if I want to add more items that I’ll pay for separately?
You can do this on the previous page too. In the product grid, you’ll see how many of each product was ordered through the iBuy, and can enter additional quantities. We’ll send you an invoice for these additional items after you submit your order.
When are credit cards charged?
If it's a regular iBuy with each person using their own credit card, then it's charged upon check out.
What if I don’t hit the 25 per design order minimum or the $2500 spend minimum?
If the iBuy reaches its deadline and is under our minimum quantity or value threshold, you have 3 options:
- Extend the deadline to allow more time for orders to be placed
- Cancel the orders
- Purchase extra product up to the minimum order quantity/value.
What if we run into stock shortages once the iBuy orders are sent to production?
With the iBuy system, products cannot be backordered. If an item is out of stock, you will have 2 options:
- Switch to an in-stock comparable product
- Cancel the iBuy we will initiate a refund
What if someone wants to cancel/change an item?
If someone wants to make a change, have that person contact us with their order number, and what they’d like to change. You can tell the individual to respond to their confirmation email. As long as the items haven’t been sent to production yet, we are happy to make any requested changes.
Everyone in our group needs to have their individual name (or number) printed on their item. Can an iBuy collect that info?
Yes, we can collect this info to be printed on the items. Ask your creative project manager about adding the necessary fields to your iBuy.
I want you to ship the items individually to everyone. Can you do that?
How the items are delivered is up to you. We can ship you a box with all the items in it, or we can do the fulfillment for you. Make sure to tell us before the iBuy opens if you want us to do the fulfillment, so we can collect shipping addresses.
What is polybagging?
Sometimes called “bag and tag”, we can fold and bag each item individually (and optionally add a label with the name and/or size) to make it easier for you to pass the items out. Ask your Creative Project Manager for details!
iBuy Best Practices
Like most retail right now, the promotional product industry is experiencing stock and leadtime challenges. Simply put, items that are available one day may not be there the next. These stock challenges introduce an additional variable when using a pre-order platform: items that were selected for ordering may not be available once the ordering window is over.
Here are some tips and best practices for running a successful iBuy. Note that even if all suggestions are followed, stock challenges may still be encountered.
- Keep the ordering window as small as possible: A one week order collection period is advised in order to avoid changes to product availability.
- The fewer products, the better: Each product offered introduces another opportunity for a stock-related challenge. Keeping the offerings as consolidated as possible lowers the risk of stock issues.
- Stock and backup: Choose items with ample stock and consider backup options.
- Be flexible on garments: Can we substitute for a similar quality garment or garment color that has better stock if issues are encountered?
- Minimum quantity: Ensure that production minimums will not pose a problem. A good rule of thumb is 25 units for apparel. Non-apparel items will have a higher minimum (150+ depending on the item) and are more difficult to substitute if there is a stock issue.