Let’s talk PRODUCTS! It’s the whole reason why you are starting an online Company Store for your clients in the first place – they need a more efficient way to order their logoed merchandise from you. While you are busy selecting products and talking decoration options with your clients, it’s important to keep in mind how you will manage the products in your client’s store.
Will you hold the inventory or will the store take custom orders?
With an inventory program, you are selling the products that you have on hand to your clients. There are logistics that you need to make sure you can manage. For example, do you have a warehouse facility to store the products? Who is going to pick, pack, and ship? If your client wants it, do you have the space for kitting products? And, are you going sell only what’s in inventory or will you allow for back orders? If you do want to manage yourself, there are features within the store that’ll help you track and control the inventory. You can set up notifications to alert you when the inventory is low on a particular product and it’s time to restock. You’ll also have access to inventory reports.
With a Custom Order store, the products you offer in your store will be based on your suppliers. You’ll work with them to determine what they have in stock, if the products have minimum and maximum order quantities, and the turnaround schedule. There are features available, such as minimum and maximum quantities and quantity discounts, which are helpful in making sure your clients are ordering within your supplier’s parameters. Some suppliers offer product decoration and kitting in-house and others will drop-ship the product to a decorator who then will drop-ship directly into your client’s hands.
Suppliers in our industry have been known to work miracles with your client’s last-minute requests, so working with the ones whom you trust and have a great relationship with can really help your program go above and beyond your client’s expectations.
Hybrid = Inventory+Custom Order
By far, the most common type of Company Store is a combination of both methods. Your client might require specific products to be on-hand while the rest are custom orders. A good example is having the print materials, (business cards and letterheads) custom ordered while the products (mugs, pens, and notebooks) are held on hand in inventory. While it is common for distributors to have some inventory on hand, make sure your client understands that when their logo is decorated on a product, they own that product.