Interviews | October 01, 2019
Top Trade Printer Deep Dive: #9 Stouse
Stouse LLC landed at No. 9 on the 2019 Top Trade Printer list in the August issue of PS Magazine this year, up one from 2018. Recently, Stouse launched an innovative website and distributor education tools to up its game in the industry. We talked to Nikkie Freeman, Stouse’s chief commercial officer, about the company’s recent upgrades.
When did Stouse turn to its website to make it as effective as it is?
We believe in making it easy for our distributors to do business with us. Some prefer to use the catalog, and we continue to invest in that. Some prefer to call in and talk to one of our very knowledgeable customer success representatives, and we have a whole team of print experts here to help. Where we weren’t serving our distributors well were those who wanted to run instant quotes and place orders online. Our old website was on outdated technology and was difficult for users to find what they were looking for, unless they were very familiar with our catalog. We surveyed and interviewed distributors and used their feedback to drive the design and functionality of our new and improved e-commerce site.
What digital equipment is Stouse investing in / wants to invest in?
We continue to make significant investments in the latest digital press and finishing technologies to provide the highest print quality and range of options to our distributors. This year alone we have invested in new large format, roll-to-roll and roll-to-sheet digital presses, with another installation planned this quarter. From a technology perspective, we are investing in applications that will allow us to better serve our distributors and deliver products to their customers more quickly. For example, we launched Stouse Express last year, which allows them to order printed products to ship as quickly as the next day.
Why do you think it’s important to be on the cutting edge of digital equipment capabilities?
Our goal is to help our distributors grow successful businesses. To accomplish this, we have to keep investing in the latest and best equipment and technology to stay relevant and allow them to be competitive in the marketplace.
Tell me about your distributor education tools. Why are these important? What do they help Stouse accomplish? How do you know they work?
With the new website, we created a dashboard that includes an entire section of sales tools for logged-in distributors. We provide unbranded digital catalogs and brochures, samples of product, sales sheets, social media images and educational guides all for free. We know our distributors are very busy, so we want to make selling our products as easy and turnkey as possible. Our customer success representatives are also one of the best sources for distributor education. There are a hundred different ways to make a decal or label. They’ll ask you all the appropriate questions to ensure you’re getting the right material, ink and adhesive to perform well in your customer’s specific application — whether it’s going outside on a rough-textured trash bin or inside on a restaurant take-out box.
What excites you about Stouse right now? What excited you about the industry?
Stouse has invested a lot to implement the latest equipment and applications to continue our long-standing reputation of delivering high quality and superb, personalized service. And there’s more to come. We’re also introducing new product lines, such as canopy tents, in order to give our distributors more options to grow their businesses. What excites me about the industry is seeing the rapid pace of technology development taking place to make it easier for distributors to do business with their suppliers.
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