A Distributor Asks: One of my clients purchased shot glasses to be used at an event held in Mexico, and I just learned the shipment will be three days late due to shipping delays. The event will be over by then and I’ve already paid for everything in full. Are there any suggestions on what the protocol is for something like this?

It’s a shot in the dark, but:

  • Has the recipient refused delivery? They might go back to the shipper eventually.
  • If it’s not a huge order, you might be able to get a courier to retrieve them from the destination and re-ship them back.


Rich Graham
Chief Imagination Officer,
Dallas, Texas
PPAI 256367, D2

I would contact your UPS rep or have the supplier contact their UPS rep to see what the hold up in customs is. It could be the commercial invoice missing the shipper’s letterhead, harmonized codes and/or country of origin. Or, they are missing your client’s contact information. If you did deliver duty paid (DDP) shipping and paid the duties and taxes upfront, but if the invoice is marked delivery duty unpaid (DDU), that could be another issue.

I have a client that is global, so we ship everywhere and learned every country has a slightly different way of processing customs and what additional information they want. I just had an invoice shipped to Qatar and customs held the order because we didn’t stamp the commercial invoice with an old-school rubber ink stamp of our company logo, even though our letterhead was on the invoice.

Lindsay Jenkins
Senior Account Manager
G & G Outfitters, Inc.
Lanham, Maryland
PPAI 260650, D3

I personally would never take responsibility to ship something to Mexico. Even when dealing with imports coming into the U.S. I never guarantee anything to my customers as I cannot control customs.

Debbie Cino Dennerlein
Ideas to Impress, LLC, an authorized Kaeser & Blair dealer
Toms River, New Jersey
PPAI 103148, D12

I have clients all over the world and I always tell them they’ll either have to take delivery here and ship it with all their other stuff, or they have to arrange for the direct shipping themselves because I’m not necessarily [equipped] to deal with customs and some of the questions they may have about the item and/or the delays they cause.

Rama Beerfas, MAS, CTSM
Lev Promotions
Santee, California
PPAI 218331, D1

A Distributor Asks: How many email blasts should a company send a week where you gain knowledge but are not annoyed by them?

I’d love to pipe in on this. I’m a certified email marketer for distributors, suppliers and multi-line reps. 

  • In order to get the best results, weekly is suggested.
  • Most of my clients send campaigns no less than bi-weekly.
  • The most important component is the value you add in your emails. Don’t just send products and pricing. include how-tos, case studies, basically anything that adds value so that you’re not just selling, but building relationships. Email is a truly valuable way to build a better relationship with your audience. Don’t be spammy. If you aren’t doing anything to try to connect with your audience through content, no one will open your emails.
  • Consistency is more important than you think. You have a sending reputation that’s associated with your domain name. If you don’t send on a consistent basis, your sending reputation can be at risk. (It’s similar to your credit score.)
  • Personalize and segment your messaging. 


Nicki Witek
Wellspring Business Solutions
Pewaukee, Wisconsin

I hate getting emails with the same item every day/week/month. Send me new things to see. Make a PDF available that I can send to a customer on the spot. Have a link on the email where I can go directly to your site to see more information. The heading makes all the difference on if I save [the email] for the future. I like to know what is in the email.

Gwen Timmins Robbins
Commonwealth Printing & Promotions
Mount Holly, Pennsylvania
PPAI 278828, D2

I enjoy the email blasts that not only show products, but also have ideas that I can then use. I dislike the ones that are repetitive and have no value other than just pushing products.

Mariano Arvelo
Sales Executive
Miami Beach, Florida
PPAI 722681, D2

A Distributor Asks: I recently started doing business with a large company. This company was unhappy with their prior distributor partner, which prompted them to find me. However, even though I am now doing some work for them, and we have built a good relationship so far, they continue to do business with the other distributor. How do I ask them if we can be the ones to provide these products for them, too?

What’s Your Answer?

Email answers along with your name, title and company name to question@ppai.org for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of PPB magazine.  

Danielle Renda is an associate editor at PPAI.