Your client knows what they want, but they need your branding expertise and vast product knowledge to find the perfect item to showcase their brand. When selecting products for your client’s Company Store, there are a few key things you need to consider. First is whether the product or product options you want to include will inhibit choice overload. The second thing to consider is how you want to manage the products.
When it Comes to Products & Product Options, Less is More
Think about the last time you ran out of toothpaste. When you stood in front of the shelves did you ever wonder, “why on earth are there so many options for a tube of toothpaste?” That’s an example of choice overload, or overchoice. The concept was 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.” Meaning that when a consumer is faced with too many items to choose from and a time constraint, they’re more likely not to choose at all.
When determining what products and product options to include in your client’s Company Store, take Toffler’s advice and reign it in. Imagine what the experience would be like for a shopper if you added all of a supplier’s product options for an item in the store. A simple pocket tee can come with 25 color options, sizes XXS to 6XL. 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 do was order a pocket tee for an event!
Another perk of customizing an item’s product options is that it keeps your client’s branding within brand guidelines. A thoughtfully built Company Store ensures that colors follow corporate guidelines and correct logo(s) or artwork are placed only on pre-approved products and in pre-determined locactions.
Offering too many product options in the store can inadvertently relinquish brand control from your client to their employees or shoppers.
Remember: Less Options = More Control
Managing the Products: Inventory, Custom Order, or Hybrid
Another thing you should consider when selecting products is how you want to 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 sell the products that you have on hand to your client. In order to successfully manage your client’s products, there are logistics that you need to be ready and able to manage. For example,
- – Do you have a warehouse facility to store the products?
- – Who is going to pick, pack, and ship?
- – Are you only going to sell what’s in inventory or will you allow for back orders?
If you do want to manage the products yourself, there are features within the store that will help you track and control inventory. To make things stress free, you can set up notifications to alert you when inventory is low on a product or it’s time to restock. You also get access to helpful analytics like inventory reports so you can see what you have available.
With a Custom Order store, the products you offer in your client’s store will be based on your suppliers. You’ll work with those suppliers to determine,
- – What Products Are Available/In Stock
- – Minimum & Maximum Order Quantities
- – Turnaround Schedule
There are features available in your client’s Company Store, such as minimum and maximum order quantities and quantity discounts, that can be used to confirm that your client’s orders are 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 last-minute client 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 way we see distributors manage products is by using a combination of both methods. Your client might require specific products to be on-hand while the rest are custom orders. For example, you and your client might decide to have any print materials, (business cards and letterheads) custom ordered while actual 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.
Adding Products – Supplier Catalogs or Manual?
Once you work through the details outlined above, you are ready to start adding the products to your client’s Company Store. There are two ways you can add products, manually or from our supplier catalogs. The catalog option allows you to add products with a few simple clicks. Moreover, you have the option to edit product information after the products are uploaded to your client’s store. Our collection of supplier catalogs includes thousands of products from 55+ Suppliers, including several full catalogs available in our database via PromoStandards.
Manually adding products to your client’s store can take some time and a bit of a planning depending on how many products or products options you plan to include. If you plan to add products manually, we recommend creating a spreadsheet with all the product information you will need. That way when you start adding products, all the information you need is right at your fingertips.
If you are on a tight deadline and need an extra pair of hands, our dedicated product database team is happy to add the products for you. If you are interested in having us add the products, reach out and let us know!
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Selecting and adding products to your client’s Company Store can be time intensive, especially if it’s your first store build. However, taking the time to thoughtfully select products and work through details like product options and management will help you build a successful Company Store that will benefit both you and your client.