Price Versus Value in Embroidery Digitizing and Artwork

One of the most common questions prospects ask me is about our pricing. During tough economic times, price is extremely important, and prospects frequently seek to compare us with extremely low-cost providers. This makes me question:  is price all that matters?

Let me clarify: Affinity Express prices for embroidery digitizing and vector artwork are very favorable. In fact, when we had our customer survey earlier this year, 40% respondents rated us 5 and 31% rated us 4 on price (on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the best). Many customers also commented that we provide great quality compared to the cost, and that our prices are one of the aspects they like best about us.

On the other hand, our prices aren’t the lowest either. And to prospects who are only considering price – who haven’t tried our services and don’t have experience of our quality and reliability to judge us by– this can be a problem.

But in a way, I understand where these prospects are coming from. It’s easy to compare price among vendors: it’s a number. Evaluating and comparing other indicators of value is much more difficult.

So, instead of insisting that your vendor reduce prices, here is a list of recommended questions you can ask them.

  1. What are your quality standards? Affinity Express follows lean Six Sigma, and we provide error-free designs to our clients at least 98% of the time. In the aforementioned survey, we were rated 4 on quality of graphic work, and 43% of respondents rated our quality of graphic work as 5. Ask your provider pointed questions about quality and how they measure it.
  2. What are your turn times? We state our turn times up-front (they vary based on the order priority and price) and stick to them more than 98% of the time. In the survey, customers rated us 3.8 on turn times and 3.7 on quality of delivery. 68% respondents rated us 4 or 5 on turn times, and 65% rated us 4 or 5 on delivery.
  3. What do your customers think of you? Look at the vendor’s website and see if you can find testimonials. (For instance, we have put some up here. Also, Kelly put up some customer comments in these blog posts.) Ask for testimonials. Ask for references, and call up and talk to those clients. If current clients are satisfied, it’s more likely you will be too.
  4. How easy is it to place orders? Many providers accept orders via email.  This is certainly convenient, but a web-based system can be a more efficient tool.  Affinity Express developed a complete, web-based order management system (called IDEA) for accepting orders anytime from anywhere.  Plus, IDEA is also a tracking and archiving system.  Customers can store files for use later at no cost and can easily re-order or request changes.
  5. What kind of experience do you have? Affinity Express has been in business for decades, and has tenured employees with a broad range of skills and expertise.  Our digitizers are true artists, as well as production specialists.  The designs they create are production-friendly – this is critical to getting an order sewn and delivered to your customers on time every time.  The artwork team knows the promotional products industry very well.  They work with many suppliers, so they understand what is needed for the multitude of products that are available in the market.
  6. Do you have back-up systems? Small providers can charge so little because they have almost no overhead.  Unlike Affinity Express – we have two redundant production facilities, two data centers in the U.S. and business continuity plans to ensure uninterrupted service and peace of mind that important files will be delivered.  Many smaller providers don’t even have back-up for power and equipment.
  7. Will the business be around for the long term? Who owns the business? Is it a small company that might fold tomorrow? Affinity Express has the backing of the largest conglomerate in the Philippines:  Ayala Corporation.  This means you can trust that we will be here next year and beyond.

So the next time you use price as the most important criteria for evaluating vendors, think again. Even when every penny counts, do you really want to risk something going wrong: making the client unhappy with a poorly created design or having to apologize because the designs aren’t ready in time… yet again?

If you carefully review your providers, you may be surprised that they come up short on the above criteria.   That might be just fine if you are in a competitive situation or have to deliver on a tight budget for an important client and every penny counts.  But when you have an order that must be perfect and on time, you might want to turn to Affinity Express.

There’s a reason why several of the top ten suppliers and distributors in North America trust Affinity Express. And why so many of our customers are delighted to work with us.

About Joanna Grant
One of the founders of Affinity Express, Joanna is vice president of Graphic Production and Support Services at the company.

One Response to Price Versus Value in Embroidery Digitizing and Artwork

  1. Pingback: 100th Blog Post « Affinity Express Blog

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