An Intro to Company Stores

Whether we’re looking to purchase groceries, a new pair of glasses, or that perfect promotional product our natural instinct is to go online. However, most eCommerce platforms are missing key distributor features. Luckily, Company Stores were developed as an eCommerce solution specifically created for the promotional products industry.

What are Company Stores?

A Company Store is a flexible and robust online store that helps you promote, sell, and manage your client’s logo’d merchandise while offering your client and their shoppers a centralized, retail-like shopping experience. The majority of stores are used internally, think Uniform or a Points Program, but these stores can also be used to help your client promote their brand to the public.

The storefront can be customized to bring forward your clients brand with easy-to-use design tools, themes, and more. Whether you decide to design the store yourself or have our team of experts help, you can rest assured knowing that you have the tools and resources available to make the storefront match your client’s vision.

You can also customize how shoppers navigate the store by creating categories to guide shoppers to specific products. For example, if your client wants to set up a store where student-athletes can order gear for the upcoming spring season, you could create a category for each sport. That way when a student logs into the store all they have to do is click on the product category labeled with the appropriate sport to view the products they need to order.

When it comes to what type of products you can offer or how many, the possibilities are endless. Whether your client is looking for promotional products and branded gear or corporate branded print materials, these stores do it all. Plus, products are easy to add manually or you can use one of our supplier catalogs to copy products directly into the store.

To view our current list of suppliers, click here.

Company Store Features

All of our Company Stores come with a plethora of available features that allow you to make the store as streamlined or as robust as you and your client desire.

We’ll be highlighting some of our most popular features in the sections below but keep in mind that as with almost everything in our stores, it’s entirely up to you and your client IF and HOW you use them.

Logo Management, Product Personalization, & Virtual Samples

Since Company Stores were created just for the Promotional Products Industry, including features like logo management was a no-brainer. This feature lets you and your client offer shoppers a choice of logo when selecting a product, the ability to choose the placement of the logo, and even the option to upload a logo of their own.

Product customization doesn’t have to stop after the shopper chooses a logo. With product personalization, shoppers can add all sorts of things to products — from an embroidered name on the left chest of a cotton polo to laser engraving their favorite quote on an office mug. Once a shopper has personalized their product or chosen a logo, they can use the virtual samples feature to see what their final product will look like and even give proof approval directly from the storefront to avoid any surprises or confusion when the product arrives.

Virtual Samples aren’t just for promotional products. It can also be used for corporate branded materials like business cards, stationary, and more so users get to see what their business card will look like as well review their personalized text for any typos.

Permissions & Rules

One of the major benefits of having a Company Store is that you can run multiple programs in one store by utilizing features like permissions and rules.

Permissions can be assigned to a user or group of users and allow you and your client to restrict what users can see and experience in the store including:

  • – How users can access the store.
  • – What categories/products appear.
  • – Which logos the user can access.
  • – Where logos can be placed.
  • – What payment and shipping methods appear at checkout.
  • – The price of the product.
  • – Access to the admin side of the store.

If your client is worried about their bottom line, you can utilize Manager Order Approval (MOAS) or add users to a budget to keep track of store spending. With MOAS, an email will be sent to a specified manager to approve or deny an order before it begins to process.

Checkout Experience & Reporting

Checkout, like many features in our stores, is completely customizable so you can make the experience as streamlined or in-depth as you like. Also, don’t forget that with permissions you can create unique checkout experiences for specific groups of users.

One of the most significant choices you will need to make when it comes to checkout is what payment methods you and your client would like shoppers to use. We have a variety of ways’ users can “pay” for an order including,

  • – Custom Payment Methods
  • – Advanced Payment Methods
  • – Payment Gateways

Since most of our stores are internal facing, traditional payment methods like using a credit card won’t always cut it. Instead, most shoppers pay with a Purchase Order, Department Code, or a name to bill against but custom payment methods can be whatever you like. If your client is looking to incentivize shoppers, we recommend providing users with an account balance, gift certificate, or coupon that they can use towards store purchases. If you are launching a new store and want a way to motivate shoppers to use the new online store, coupons, gift certificates, and account balances are all great ways to get shoppers excited to use the store.

You have a few options when it comes to adding sales tax and shipping to your store. As a distributor, you know have confusing sales tax can be with rates changing depending on location, product type, and more which is why our stores come ready to integrate with Avalara to pull in real-time rates. If you only have a few products in your store or have an understanding of sales tax, you can also choose to pull in zip code based sales tax rates. For shipping, you can add one flat-rate or base shipping off of the order’s weights and dimensions or total dollar amount. If you or your client would like to pull in real-time rates at check out to help shoppers choose the most efficient shipping method, you can integrate the store with your FedEx, UPS, or USPS account.

Once your store is set up, and orders start coming through, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to access reports to send to your client? Lucky for you, our Company Stores come with robust reporting capabilities including a custom report builder with over 70 drag and drop fields. All of our reports can be downloaded as a CSV or XLS file so you can easily send reports to your client each month to review what’s being order and how much their employees have spent.

Conclusion

One of the reasons Company Stores have been around for almost two decades is because of their flexibility. With a long list of integrations and an even longer list of robust features, Company Stores provide you and your client with a perfect, customized solution that will help streamline the order process for both you and your client.

If you are interested in seeing a store live in action, register for one of our weekly Company Store demos. You’ll get a guided walk through of the storefront, select and personalize a product, view a virtual sample, place an order, check an account balance and so much more. Or reach out directly to request a one-on-one demo!

No matter what your client is looking for in an online store, we have a solution to fit their needs with Simple Stores and Company Stores.

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This post was written by Lucy Taylor