When we first start talking with a Distributor about starting a store on our platform, the conversation quickly leads to the following questions:
“How many products can I have in the store?”
“How many product categories can I have?”
“How many product options can I have?”
“How do I get products into the store?”
These are fantastic questions because other online store providers place limits or charge per item. Well, on our platform, you can have as many as you want! There is no limit to how many products you can have, how many categories/sub-categories you can have, and how many product options you can have. But then the conversation inevitably takes another turn: “Great! I want to add all of my favorite supplier catalogs into the store.”
This is where we pause and say, “Do you really want to offer every product, size, and color your suppliers offer in this Company Store?”
We understand that you want to make sure your clients have all options available to them when choosing promotional products, but let’s think about this. A popular t-shirt will be available in 25 different color options with sizes ranging from XXS – 6XL. A simple pocket tee can come in even more color combinations. Not to mention that same style can come in 100% Cotton, 50/50 Blend, Performance, Ringspun, Specialty, and so on and so forth! That’s enough to make anyone’s head spin – and all the employee was trying to was order a pocket tee for an event!
Our biggest recommendation is to reign it in.
The purpose of a Company Store is to efficiently collect orders from your clients as well as provide an online location for them to manage their brand. A well-controlled Company Store will ensure the logo is placed on only pre-approved products, the correct artwork is used in every instance, and the exact color combinations follow corporate guidelines. By offering too much, your client is relinquishing brand control to their employees or shoppers as well as creeping into product or choice overload territory.
Choice overload, or over choice, was first introduced in 1971 by futurist and businessman Alvin Toffler. According to Toffler, “Overchoice takes place when the advantages of diversity and individualization are canceled by the complexity of the buyer’s decision-making process.” If a consumer is faced with too many items to choose from and a time constraint, they’re more likely to not choose at all. In an industry where there are literally hundreds of thousands of products, your clients are coming to you because you are the expert who will help them find the right products to represent their business.
Before setting up their store, have a meaningful consultation with the company’s representatives to find out what they value. Are they strictly picking products based on price or quality? Perhaps a mix of both. Rather than having them browse through hundreds of pocket tees online, hand-select ten for them to choose from and then narrow it down when deciding the final products that will go into the store.
When building the store, make it easy for the shopper to find what they need. Create a strategic path to the products with categories and sub-categories. And as you start selling and fulfilling orders, take advantage of product sales reports. Know which products are the top sellers and replace the low performing ones with current trends that will be a good fit for your client’s corporate culture.
While you don’t want to tell your clients exactly what to buy, you can provide them with a manageable assortment and variety to help them create a thoughtful, well-curated store that’s going to make shoppers happy.