A webstore. An eCommerce site. A swag shop. An online - company - employee - brand fan - merch store. Even the term hut shop is in use. You've heard of them. But what are they exactly? When you boil it down it's a matter of semantics.
For the purpose of this tripartite FAQ series we'll refer to the solution, which offers invaluable visibility to the many overgrown closets of branded gear that exist, as an online company store.
1. What is an online Company store?
An online company store is a corporate-branded e-commerce website offering customized, branded merchandise and materials that have been designed and created for a specific organization and its target audience.
Online company stores can allow employees to order customized logo apparel, uniforms, and branded swag from an online collection of branded merchandise which has been curated and approved by a Marketing or HR Team. Internally they can also be used as a means of hosting and distributing point of sale displays, event collateral, new client boxes, or giveaways for a regional or national Sales Team.
Online company stores can also be a platform for fans to show their support for a brand by purchasing and sporting its gear.
To bring music to the ears of an Operations or Finance Team, behind the extremely user friendly storefront, we offer advanced functionality which includes integrations with several ERP and accounting systems, single sign on (SSO) capabilities, real-time reporting, user groups and permission levels, team/department budgets, and custom payment methods.
2. Who needs an online company store?
As a general rule of thumb, any organization with 50 or more staff can benefit from having an online company store. It is especially beneficial for companies who are overwhelmed by the manual process of managing spreadsheets, budgets, and a 'your guess is as good as mine' inventory of branded merchandise - often referred to as a swag closet.
Once a company is spread across many departments, business units, and business locations, managing a swag closet the old-fashioned way becomes increasingly challenging. With a complete online company store solution, your Team is able to better account for spend while gaining insightful data about how branded merchandise is being wielded as a revenue generating tool.
3. Do online company stores differ from traditional ecommerce?
Our platform is inspired by leading e-commerce solutions and retailers; we wanted our online company stores to look and behave like theirs. In addition to this our software allows us to launch new features, enhancements, and fixes on all client stores.
Traditionally, e-commerce retailers have inventory in stock. Buyers expect that they will be able to order a single item, without having to meet a minimum order quantity, from the e-retailer’s store. In return the retailer responds by shipping the order to the buyer the same or next business day.
Having these same capabilities, by choosing the in-stock model for an online company store, is recommended. For example, a Salesperson may need just one of a particular item, as quickly as possible, to take advantage of an appointment with a prospect.
Despite this, some businesses choose to sacrifice in-stock inventory and 24-48 turnaround times in exchange for an on-demand production model. This avoids an investment in inventory. On-demand items are produced and decorated, one piece at a time, with your logo after the web order is submitted. Production time is typically 7 to 10 business days, depending on the item. Many successful online company stores feature a hybrid of in-stock items (e.g. giveaways) and on-demand items (e.g. apparel).
Traditional e-commerce retailers in many cases offer free shipping. But, as everyone knows, there is no such thing as free shipping. In most cases, the items are marked up 50% to 100% or more, with the cost of shipping buried in that markup. To be continued...
Thanks for reading Part 1 of our 3-part FAQ! Watch this space for Part 2.
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