In an extremely competitive market determined primarily by price, Spectrum Packaging has carved a niche for themselves with their superior customer service. As a result, almost 60 percent of their new customers come through referrals. Pat Bennett, VP of Spectrum Packaging, recalled when their supplier of poly bags changed manufacturers and delivered much thinner bags that repeatedly broke. "These were custom printed bags, and they were all bad. We gave our affected customers new bags at no charge. That is significant, especially with a custom printed bag, but we stand behind our products. We want each customer to come back, and we want each customer to refer us to someone else. Word of mouth remains our best marketing strategy."
Spectrum Packaging began in 1996, when Bennett and Sander Rubin, the owner, capitalized on their respective experience as packaging distributors. Shortly after that, they bought out a small company called Maxx Products, which included the Maxx 1 Price Marker gun, for which the owner had secured a patent. Although they carry carton sealing tape, shipping supplies and other packaging products, their main items are the Maxx 1 and its accessories. "It is unlike any of the other label guns on the market. It is a lot less expensive and easier to work with," she said. "Loading the labels is one simple step, and the ink rollers are easy to put in. With other guns, it is a more complicated process."
Bennett said that although the guns are plastic, they are durable. "Some customers have been using their guns for ten or 15 years, and send them back only for cleaning and tune ups." If the durability and ease of loading is not enough reason to use the Maxx 1 gun, Spectrum Packaging provides a lifetime guarantee. "If there is something wrong with the gun, return it to us. We will repair it and replace any broken parts," said Bennett. "The program is working well."
The second item many of their customers purchase is the poly t-shirt bag, which can be ordered generically or custom made. This is the main reason why Spectrum Packaging's market is primarily small retail stores and flea markets. "With larger companies, it is always about price, not quality. They would rather we find a cheaper product for them to buy in quantity, than one of quality that lasts. We don't find this attitude with the smaller customers," Bennett said. Bennett likes being able to provide excellent service by being familiar with what customers want. "They want a good price, but they also want a quality product. They do not want to buy a Thank You bag and use three at a time because it is five dollars cheaper, when they can use one bag and save more money in the long run," said Bennett. "We have found that customers would rather get a better, more expensive bag than one that breaks."
Many customers order custom printed bags, which is when the quality of the bag is particularly important. "Customers don't want to put their name on a customized bag if that bag is not going to hold up. The poor quality of the bag becomes associated with the store itself."
Spectrum Packaging's website has been hosted through WholesaleCentral.com for almost ten years, which Bennett says has been tremendous for them. Their site has clear navigation, which makes it easy for a buyer to browse their products. Bennett said that if a customer calls looking for some type of packaging or marking supplies not among the 20 products listed on the site, she will try to get it for them.
"Customers also call to order, because not all of them want to order on the Internet, so the personal service is important," said Bennett. "We do not have an answering machine that takes orders. It is a one-on-one situation. I know most of our customers by name because I have talked to them through the years, and I know what they need." Bennett said their philosophy is very basic. "We provide quality products and service. We really try to be a service company to small retail stores, for the packaging, marking and other in-use products they need to run their business." Minimum order: $10
For more information:
Spectrum Packaging Co., Inc.
PO Box 10880
Cleveland, OH 44110
Toll Free: 888-274-9354
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