When ordering promotional merchandise and corporate gifts, it is normally the case that the more items we order, the better the unit price we get. Because of this, Shop Central have developed their Join Order functionality to enable Shell employees across the globe to see what volume orders are currently being placed and offer the opportunity for people to join in with these so that they can also benefit from the economies of scale that these large orders can achieve.
Everytime a large order is placed, or every time a sales promotion occurs, our team will review the details of the order to see whether it is possible to advertise this on the Join Orders area of the website. This can be done regardless of where the initial order originates from and regardless of whether the item is something from the standard Shell range or a bespoke item which has been created for a specific promotion.
There are only two qualifying criteria which we look at before we advertise an order as a Join:
The Join Orders are open to every member of Shop Central and anyone can participate. Once you have reviewed the product which is on offer, all you need to do is fill in the online form to send a request to get involved in the Join, specifying the quantity of goods you would like to purchase and the date you would like to receive these so that we can ensure the factory has the capacity to produce these goods for when you need them.
Every Join has a minimum order amount, and the quantity you ask for as part of this Join must be greater than this. This minimum level is usually set above the in-stock quantity as Shell have already invested heavily in making sure that these products are available at certain volumes at heavily discounted prices and it is our responsibility to ensure that this stock is used for these smaller orders.
At this point the price which you will be shown will only be for the cost of the goods being ordered and will not include any delivery costs. These can only be calculated once the Join has closed and we know the total quantity of goods that need to be shipped to each location. Doing it in this way again ensures that we can get the very best price as if things are being shipped to the same location we can combine shipments and reduce the delivery cost.
As soon as you submit the form it gets routed to one of our account managers who will first speak to our suppliers to ensure that your request can be met. Once done, we will then get in touch with you to confirm the order. On the rare occassion when a factory is already at capacity, we will also suggest some alternative options which would be available to you.
Once we have had chance to chat about the Join and you are happy to proceed, we will need an official purchase order for these goods to formally accept you onto the Join. Once this is received by your account manager they will process your request. You will then receive an email notification to confirm your acceptance into the Join, and if you go back to Shop Central, you will also see that the total quantity on order for the Join has now increased.
Unless an item has been specifically purchased in bulk for Shop Central, you will normally find prices breaks are offered when you order more than 250, 1000, and 2500 units, for example. In a similar way price breaks are also offered for Join Orders, but the price breaks are often much larger, where you may see the unit cost decrease when you go over 10,000, 20,000 or 30,000 units. The price breaks will always be shown on the Join Order so it is clear what unit price you will pay, and we will work with the suppliers to make sure that these prices are honoured for the duration of the Join.
Our system will always quote you the current price, regardless of the quantity you wish to order. So if the initial quantity on order is 10,000 units for example, and the next price break is 20,000 units, then the system will quote you the 10,000 unit price on your request regardless of whether you order 10,000 units or more. If your request is large enough to take the entire order into the next price break, the unit price will be updated to the new rate once your order is confirmed, and our team will send you and all other people in the Join an email to confirm the same.
In a similar manner, if others are accepted into the Join at a later date which then takes the total order quantity into the next price break, a further notification will be sent to you to let you know that the price has decreased once again.
If you send us a request to participate in the Join then your participation will only be confirmed once our team has had chance to speak to you and once we have received a purchase order. Our team has to be quite strict on this rule as if we were to approve people before getting the official PO this would impact your colleagues should you later decide to pull out of the Join. A withdrawal can have a big impact as it could result in an increase in the unit price, and if others had only been able to participate based on the lower price that had been achieved with your involvement, it could result in even more people pulling out. As such we follow this one simple rule to ensure that the Join Order price you have is safe and will not change.
On extremely rare occassions we understand that there may need to show some flexibility in this and so if you feel you need to exit a Join which you have already been accepted onto then you should notify the Shop Central team immediately. We will then work with Shell Brands International and your Shell colleagues who are also part of the Join to understand the impact of such a withdrawal.
We will always do our best to reduce the severity of any withdrawal, but just as you will see the price go down when more people participate and get involved, you may see the price go up slightly if someone is allowed to exit the join.
A Join Order has a set life time, and as soon as it expires the Join will close preventing further people from being involved. Don't worry if you've missed out on a Join though - we receive requests for products all the time, and if your request is large enough that it cannot be met by the in-stock programme, we will setup a new Join and the process will repeat itself once again.
The process followed when a Join closes is very simple. First, our sales team will contact all the people involved in the Join for final confirmation of their order. We will also discuss further details, such as where the product is to be delivered, to ensure we can provide the final unit cost for your team including any delivery and taxes. Once this is complete for all people involved in the Join, we will place the order with the manufacturer who will then begin the production process.
Here at Shop Central we have extremely reliable suppliers. However, for large orders which are generated from the Join Orders process, we are aware that there is more risk in the production process and so our sourcing team will monitor the production of these goods from start to finish to ensure that any issues are dealt with swiftly so that delivery dates are met. You will receive frequent communications from our team and you will be informed as soon as the items are ready for despatch. As per our standard process, tracking details for your order will be supplied, and we too will monitor the delivery to ensure that it safely reaches your warehouse.