One of the major benefits of providing your clients with a Company Store solution is creating the opportunity to be the exclusive distributor for your client. If you are managing their program, it’s highly unlikely they will shop elsewhere for their promo products – especially if you are providing them with top notch service that only you can. Before you invest your resources into offering an online solution, you need to make sure that a Company Store will be the right fit for your client. As much as we would love to see every single company and organization in the world have their own online store – we know that’s just not the case, not all of your clients will need a Company Store.
So, what’s the magic formula for knowing who will be a good fit for a Company Store?
There isn’t one! We get this question all the time…how much do I need to sell to make it worthwhile? Company Stores can be a good fit for small businesses to large corporations and everything in between. The system is easy to use and very flexible. While we can’t give you an exact number, we can help you with some identifying clues to help you make the decision.
Staying in tune with your client’s ordering patterns is a good indication of whether or not you should move them to an online ordering platform. For example, are they placing multiple orders from various locations? Perhaps your client is a franchise or they have multiple office branch locations. Providing them with a centralized online ordering location will not only make the process easy for them but will also help you stay organized when processing and managing those orders. Another clue to be on the lookout for is if your client is placing repeat orders or consistently requiring a quick turnaround on their orders. A Company Store solution would allow them to order anytime and anywhere – putting their order in motion much more quickly than placing pen and paper orders.
Finally, if your client needs to provide different products to different employees, you can easily make that happen by setting up permissions in the store. Maybe the Marketing Department has access to more of the logoed merchandise for events and promotions whereas other employees are only allowed to order uniforms. Once a user logs into the store, they will only see the products they are allowed to order based on their permission level. Additionally, you can set up permissions for payment methods, shipping methods, and even logos. A Company Store will help you and your client follow any type of restrictions they might need to put in place to their shoppers.
Who Pays for the Store?
This is a question we get often when Distributors are researching Company Store options for their clients. A Company Store is a tool you build so your client can order more products from you. Deciding to take on the cost yourself or pass the store cost onto your client is dependent on how much business your client gives you. For a large program, you might cover the cost of the store and consider it a cost of doing business with your client. By providing this service to your client, you are really adding value to their Promotional Products program by showing commitment and partnership.
On the other hand, if your client is not one of your biggest spenders, it wouldn’t make sense for you to take on that cost because you run the risk of losing money over time. If this is the case, and they still want a Company Store, you can layer the cost of the store on to the products or charge an additional fee. You can also work out an agreement with your client to cover the cost of the store as long as they spend a certain amount on products (either monthly, quarterly, or yearly) with you. There are a variety of ways you can cover the cost of the store. We always say, no two Company Stores are alike, we are always more than happy to go over your client’s particular scenario with you to decide the best way for you to cover the cost of the store.
Inventory or Drop Ship?
Another big qualifying factor to take into consideration is the products. How will the products be handled? Will there be inventory on hand or will there be product minimums that need to be met as a drop ship program? A majority of the time, we see a hybrid of both methods. Your client might require certain products to be on-hand while the rest are custom orders. Whether it’s a full inventory store or a hybrid store, you need to make sure the client understands that as soon as their logo is on the product, they own that product and are responsible for covering the cost of that product.
Commitment from Your Client
Client Commitment tends to get overlooked but is the most important factor to consider when building a store. After you spend the time and money it takes to launch a Company Store program for your client, make sure they are fully invested in using the store. Are they promoting the store within their organization or making it a requirement for purchasing all products? If they drop the ball on properly promoting the store to their employees, you’ll run the risk of having a store that’s collecting dust and not taking orders. Make sure that your clients are enthusiastic about the store and ready to invest fully into this solution before you start the store building process.
Know When to Walk Away
Now that we’ve covered how to qualify your clients for a Company Store, there will be times when you just have to say no. You work hard to create relationships with your clients, so it’s hard to walk away from their business. So when would you have to turn down a request for a Company Store? If they begin to place unreasonable demands on you, refuse to own inventory, refuse to meet minimums or commit to an annual spend – these are major red flags that could put you in a financial bind if you agree to manage their program. Just because your client wants a store doesn’t mean it will automatically be a good fit. If you are unsure, give us a call! We’re happy to walk through your client’s scenario and help you determine if a Company Store will be worth your time.
Once you have fully qualified your client for a Company Store, let’s present a Company Store to them! Build them a demo and show them how easy it is to order their logoed products online. Keys to a Successful Company Store Demonstration