PromoStandards: Changing How the Industry Communicates

Simply put, PromoStandards is the industry technology solution for an “Amazon Like” customer experience. 

In a technology evolving market, the Promotional Product industry is under pressure to reduce touchpoints and streamline our supply chain communication flow.  Moving forward, we cannot rely on a litany of email chains and phone tag to complete simple task like checking the status of an order.  Enter PromoStandards.

So, What Is PromoStandards?

PromoStandards is an open collaborative technology standard that connects supplier, distributor and service provider systems.  In a technical sense it is an XML standard, hosted by individual suppliers that responds with structured data when requested by distributor and service provider ERP’s, CRM’s, Websites and Databases.  Those systems then translate that XML for their customers and users to provide them data ranging from Inventory, Order Data, Product/Pricing Data and Invoice details.

The concept was birthed in Vegas 5 years ago by an impromptu meeting organized by fellow PromoKitchen Chef and current PPAI Board Chair, Dale Denham.  In five short years the collaborative project has evolved into an official non-profit organization whose purpose is to “create industry-leading open standards that enable industry participants to improve customer experience, reduce transactional friction, and effectively execute their digital strategy.”  PromoStandards was founded in a joint collaborative undertaking by industry participants: Sanmar, PCNA, Hit Promotional Products, BIC Graphic, Starline, Staples, Halo, Geiger, Facilis group and Essent.

Mike Knapick, CIO of Sanmar explains PromoStandards like so:

“I think of Promo Standards like the evolution of the railroads.  Originally, every rail line had their own gauge tracks.  Eventually, everyone figured out that was a bad way to do things and a hinderance to transportation and commerce.  So they standardized the gauge and that allowed trains to run uninterrupted across the country.  That is what PromoStandards is doing – standardizing the gauge of our rails for uninterrupted commerce.”

So, Who is using PromoStandards?

PromoStandards adoption reaches across the industry from suppliers like Sanmar and Alphabroder, to an individual distributor checking inventory in CommonSku or on ESP Web.  Over 125 suppliers are currently connecting with more than 500 distributors and 20+ service providers to create streamlined experiences. 

In 2018, PromoStandards doubled the number of endpoints/services hosted by suppliers and listed on  At the beginning of 2019, 83% of the “Top 40” suppliers had adopted PromoStandards.   Large distributor participants span the names of: Staples, Halo, Geiger, Facilis Group, Proforma, Summit, AnyPromo, Epromos and many more. 

The deepest reach of PromoStandards comes on the backs of service providers who are integrating the standards into their product offerings to create new solutions based around the standardized data.   Those service providers include: Essent, CommonSku, ASI/ESP, Distributor Central, Antera, Brightstores and many more.

So, What is in Store for the future with PromoStandards?

PromoStandards the organization in 2019 will continue to develop new standards that serve the needs of the greater industry.  An organization in its infancy will begin to seek out new members to build a future driving continual development and adoption.

There is a ton of momentum right now with PromoStandards.  Adoption has doubled each of the last 4 years. Mike Knapick’s take on the future growth is, “As organizations realize the benefit of building something once and using it multiple times, momentum will grow and adoption for both suppliers and distributors will expand”.

The biggest impact in 2019 will be felt in Purchase Order processing.  Long sought after as the “Holy Grail”, automatic purchase order transmission provides the greatest benefits to the supply chain and ultimately gets us close to that “Amazon Like” customer experience.

How do I stay informed?                         

PromoStandards host two education events each year.  The first being in conjunction with the PPAI Tech Summit and the second is at the Expo in Las Vegas. 

There is still time to register for the 2019 Las Vegas Event:

You can stay up to date with Standards and events on:

Jon Norris is a PromoKitchen Chef, Starline VP of Operations, and the inaugural Chair of the Board for PromoStandards Inc.  You can reach him for more details on PromoStandards at