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Jun 1, 2009
by Judi Perkins
Their website is comprehensive and easy to navigate, which makes browsing through the items fun and interesting. Many of the products they sell are made exclusively for Prizes!, including the softee baseball, the 6 inch softee football and a brand new 15 inch hoodie bear.
They also do custom work. Tom Portale, President of Prizes! explained, "The Seattle Mariners asked if we could make a series of items featuring their mascot to sell at the stadium. We've done that for several other teams."
Prizes! went online about fifteen years ago. Although they have had their current site for about six years, Portale does not anticipate changing it soon, because customers find it so user-friendly. "They like being able to drill down and click on Products, then Licensed Sports, then choose their sport and see all the teams right there." The retailer can click on a team to see what products are available. Clicking on the picture blows it up. "In general," said Portale, "I am a fan of the KISS philosophy. I think about hiring someone to change it from time to time, but when people compliment us on how easy it is to navigate, it discourages wanting to change it."
In addition to Products, the navigation buttons on the left include Customer Service and About Us, which provides background on the company. There is also a page For New Users, which provides a bit of information about the Prizes! site structure, and notes that if there are no buttons on the screen, the back button will return the visitor to the previous screen. This is helpful, because if a novice user is viewing a close up of an item, that is exactly what they see, an extreme close up of the item with no buttons to click.
The Order Now button provides four different options for placing an order since there is no shopping cart. "The website is an information source. We do not use it to sell," said Portale. This is why the product shot blow ups, found by clicking on either the product picture or the Contents button at the top of the site, are essential. "The primary purpose of the site," he said, "is to show prospective customers' the colors and design of the item, and the logo, because that is the most important part of the product." This is also why their catalog has just a few products for a few teams, but their website is so comprehensive. "Customers want to buy team souvenirs, but they want to see how the logo looks on the product," said Portale.
Prizes! products are successful across the entire spectrum of market segments, including supermarkets, drug chains, airport gift shops, sports fan stores, sporting goods stores, general gift shops and anywhere else that carries souvenirs or gift items. "Our products are on the very low end of the price spectrum for licensed souvenir sports. For store owners looking for inexpensive souvenirs, our product fits right into that niche," said Portale.
Minimum order is only $100, and Prizes! will break cases. Portale emphasizes Prizes! is a very customer friendly company. "We do whatever the customer needs. We have display pieces available, and we will mix and match for them. Whatever the customer wants, we can do."
He leaves the markup percentage to the store's decision, noting that gift shops like to double their cost, and that airport gift shops prefer more than that. "We do not have a price roadblock with our products. Of course, the better their prices, the faster they sell," he said.
MINIMUM ORDER: $100
For more information:
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Toll Free: 800-992-2388
Topic: Company Profiles
Related Articles: sports souvenirs
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