TREVOSE, PA – January 4, 2009 - Advertising Specialty Institute®, the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, today launched an ESP Online™ upgrade that allows suppliers and distributors to communicate more rapidly, network online with peers, and end-buyers to place orders directly with distributors.
The features of the upgrade also include PromoCafe online chat and instant messaging, product videos, and supplier management features.
The announcement was made during the first exhibition day of the ASI Show Orlando. The show is the first national show in the industry and the largest on the East Coast, happening at the Orange County Convention Center from January 3-5.
The new end-buyer ordering feature provides an interactive CenterStage™ presentation that allows an end-buyer to place an order for the products shown in the presentation. Buyers can specify quantity and product options and they can enter shipping and billing information. When an order is submitted, it will automatically be sent back to ESP Online and an alert is generated to indicate an open order. Distributors are able to view, manage and track orders in one central location.
The release also features PromoCafe, the new chat application that allows the 32,000 users of ESP Online to communicate with other members of the ESP Online community instantly. There are multiple chat rooms for discussing a variety of topics and users can also send instant messages and can create buddy lists to maintain frequent contacts.
At launch, this is the world’s largest online community in the advertising specialty industry.
The upgrade also provides new supplier management features, including:
- Product videos. Distributors can now view videos of some products, providing a real-life snapshot of a product’s look and feel. Clicking on the product video image will open the video in its own pop-out window, and viewers can use the video controls to get a closer view of the features. Suppliers who want to add product videos may contact Dan Dienna, advertising director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Preferred pricing. If distributors have preferred pricing from suppliers, that pricing can now be set and maintained in ESP Online by the distributor’s administrator. Preferred pricing can be based on net cost or list price.
- Supplier ratings. Users can now click directly on the supplier ratings star icon inside “client projects” to view supplier performance ratings and any comments left by distributors.
- Coded product numbers. All CenterStage presentations can include coded product numbers, which are unique to specific distributor companies and which can remain hidden from view by an end-buyer. Users can also search for products by using the coded product numbers.
The enhancements in this ESP Online upgrade, which were based on surveys and focus groups, will help distributors and suppliers operate more efficiently and have more time for selling.
“This new ESP Online provides distributors and suppliers with the ability to communicate better and streamline their order management process,” said Timothy M. Andrews, president and chief executive officer of the Advertising Specialty Institute. “For the first time, an end-buyer can place an order within a distributor’s client presentation, and distributors can track and manage a sale from start to finish. ASI provides more ways for distributors and suppliers to do business productively than anyone else in the industry.”
In addition to the new tools included in the upgrade, ESP Online continues to provide the industry’s best image quality, producing higher resolution and providing 95% of all product images with solid white backgrounds. Also, ESP Online’s premium virtual sample tool, powered by Technologo™, is the industry’s benchmark for virtual samples.
Advertising Specialty Institute is the largest media and marketing organization serving the advertising specialty industry, with a membership of over 26,000 distributor firms (sellers) and supplier firms (manufacturers) of advertising specialties. Supplier firms use ASI print and electronic resources to market products to over 22,000 ASI distributor firms. Distributor firms use ASI print and electronic resources, which contain nearly every product in the industry from more than 3,500 reputable suppliers, to locate supplier firms and to market services to buyers. ASI provides catalogs, information directories, newsletters, magazines, websites and databases, and offers e-commerce, marketing and selling tools. Visit www.asicentral.com.