The swag closet.
Every office has one. It’s the place where stress balls go to die and cool t-shirts dare to live another day. Half-full boxes are stuffed inside other half-full boxes, taking up precious storage space for years because the marketing team doesn’t know what they already have or what the sales team has found useful.
There’s probably even a Merch Minder—maybe it’s you—who is constantly sifting through the swag jungle to find the appropriate product for the appropriate person for the appropriate event or reason. Sort. Assemble. Ship. Track. Repeat.
WE BELIEVE THERE’S A BETTER WAY.
Today’s organizations have evolved and are becoming increasingly decentralized, meaning employees who work on a team don’t often work together in the same office. While a decentralized workforce has its distinct pros and cons, managing the tangible side of sales and marketing campaigns becomes challenging once your team spreads out.
Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar:
Your employee Julie—also known as “Hat Trick” around the office because of that time she landed three clients in one day—is heading to an important industry tradeshow on the other side of the country in a few weeks. She’s set up appointments to meet with high-potential clients and wants to give each one a thoughtful gift. You know, something that really rocks their socks. Oh, and she also wants a few of the latest company shirts to wear while she’s there. (Not the ugly ones, yo. The cool ones.) A stack of fresh business cards would also be nice.
There are a few ways this can go down.
Julie can email back and forth with your company’s designated merch manager– the one who wears all the hats and never gets to inbox zero– and hope she gets the items she needs. (They know which one is the “cool” shirt. Right?)
Julie can log right onto your online brand store to order customized collateral and the exact branded products she needs for her events and meetings.
ONE HUB FOR EVERYTHING
Imagine sending everyone to one site for complete access to everything branded. A few clicks are all it takes to get exactly what they need.
Automated brand stores — sometimes referred to as company stores — are a streamlined way for employees to order company merch for clients, events, tradeshows, or themselves. A comprehensive online hub simplifies the ordering process and frees up time to focus on growing your business instead of fussing over logistics.
Here’s how an integrated brand store works:
• You maintain brand control by preapproving branded merch and materials. Your logo, design, and messaging work together for brand consistency and compliance. No more policing of brand guidelines.
• Authorized employees have 24/7 access to the online store, making it easier to obtain the preapproved materials needed for their job. Brands maintain control without doing the heavy lifting. Your store partner handles logistical tasks such as production, storage, and shipping.
• SSO (single sign-on) and punchouts (where users gain access to your website and can shop for products and purchase them through an electronic procurement system) allow for increased visibility and accountability. Permissions are set according to your guidelines, while an intuitive dashboard tracks every move.
• Users can customize items at the point of service for specific locations, teams, or business lines. This is especially helpful for larger organizations that need to tailor their branded products to specific markets.
• Anything digital is measurable. Know what your people love and need through order analytics (instead of clunky spreadsheets). Integrated data can help with budgeting and reduce unnecessary waste from ordering products people don’t want, like, or need, thus allowing you to make informed decisions about merch for your brand.
TIME IS MONEY
What is the real cost of managing your promo closet?
Minding the merch can be both time-consuming and overwhelming. From sorting order forms, coordinating employee inquiries, and managing production to finding vendors, figuring out shipping, and dealing with logistics and storage headaches, it all adds up to more time spent away from the work that really matters.
One of our clients recently told us she would need to add a full-time person to her team of five if she didn’t have an automated brand store. By systematizing processes such as ordering, assembly, storage, fulfillment, and shipping, she gives back valuable time to her team.
THE IMPACT OF EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES
We all want things to be easy. Life. Love. Math time with your kid.
And work. Maybe it’ll never be easy, but hopefully, it can be easier.
When it comes to your branded merch program, outsourcing the hassle of procurement and logistics is a no-brainer. Corporate stays in control. Managers get their time back. And employees are empowered to choose instead of being told.
The power and convenience of choice allow employees to become the clutch players in a growing business. Frontline team members are often in the best position to determine what their customers want. Corporate needs to trust them to order what is necessary without resorting to gatekeeping or micromanaging.
Empower them. And then get out of the way.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating…
Happy employees mean happy customers. And happy customers mean a happy bottom line.
TAKE IT FURTHER WITH TECH
Have a specific workflow in mind? Chances are, we can make it happen. Thumbprint’s online platform manages orders, inventory, and fulfillment for your branded merch and identity materials. We can help you manage inventory and get your branded products out into the world with speed and scale. Contact us to schedule a Brand Store demo!
ARE YOU ONE OF THE CLUTCH PLAYERS IN YOUR OFFICE?
Then you need to let the world know! Shop our “Be Clutch” merch and 50% of your purchase will go to the First Responders Children’s Foundation.