Online company stores are becoming relatively commonplace these days. These online repositories offer companies one destination to access all their branded materials, including brochures, business cards, name tags, and more. Products can be customized, ordered, and produced all via the website store.
Together with a trusted Brand Logistics partner, online company stores eliminate many of the boring, low-level tasks associated with purchasing, storing, and shipping branded products.
Store platform sites also empower frontline team members to order items on their account without having to wait on someone at corporate (who is probably juggling 10 other priorities).
While these benefits alone represent significant time and money savings, there are so many more methods to leverage your company store and make your life and your coworker’s lives easier. Think beyond the ordering and fulfillment category. Once connected to your workflows and technology, your store can drive next-level automation, engagement, and insights.
We’ve put together this guide of 13 methods our customers have successfully used the Thumbprint store platform to impact their business. Each generally falls into one of three strategic buckets:
• Automate workflows
• Integrate with ERP or CRM systems
• Engage customers and employees
Let’s dive into these initiatives and focus on some specific applications and services!
Online company stores and websites allow frontline team members to customize and order branded assets within specific parameters set by the company. For instance, a salesperson can personalize their own business card on the website, but a manager must approve it before it’s sent to print.
That’s a great example of basic automation, but beyond that, stores can be used to streamline many other manual processes. For instance, you can:
1. Ship a series of related collateral at timed intervals as a part of a marketing or employee campaign. Even better, those materials can span multiple channels, such as direct mail, promotional things, branded apparel, and more.
2. Trigger replenishment orders for stocked products at specific inventory levels or actions. Those thresholds can be set based on production lead times for each individual print, promo, or apparel item.
3. Use simple logic (no coding required) to send customers or employees a prescribed kit based on specific dimensions, such as location or industry (check out this case study)
4. Store event and tradeshow setups at your brand logistics provider’s facility. Field personnel, such as marketers and recruiters, can order these kits from your company store and have them shipped wherever needed. Reporting will show where the booth setups are located at any given time.
5. Do you provide things such as polos, tees, and nametags to your team? Allocate apparel and swag allowances and let them choose and order as needed. Track logged spending and prices and receive reporting all through one site for overages that can be charged to employees as a payroll deduction.
Connect your ERP or CRM system
Many company store platforms feature APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that link to other enterprise platforms to pass along data or trigger activities. Here are just a few use cases of the services:
6. Assign each user to a specific cost center(s). Their POs and orders will flow directly to the correct GL account, saving your accounting team from having to allocate tons of orders every month.
7. Allow business development team members to initiate collateral and/or gift mailings directly from your CRM. Or trigger specific mailings once a lead reaches a certain score threshold. Receive a notification within your CRM when the package is delivered and automatically schedule a follow-up task for the lead owner to complete.
8. Attribute spending to specific clients and prospects. This will help your Marketing and Sales teams understand Cost per Acquisition and make better decisions about campaign effectiveness.
9. Company stores help People Ops, too. Automatically trigger gift shipments to employees when they reach important milestones such as anniversaries, promotions, or training completion review.
Engage Customers and Employees
People love choices. Company stores are an excellent platform for delivering engaging brand experiences to employees and customers alike. And by requiring a login, companies can track user activities to gain valuable insights into a customer’s interests. For example:
10. A company store works perfectly for customer loyalty programs. Send an invitation to clients with login credentials and let them select an appropriate gift using earned points. (see this example).
11. Every new employee loves swag, but you can really make an impression by letting them create their own Welcome Kit. Provide new hires a login and budget, and then let them select from a catalog of products housed in your store. Bonus: you can include other onboarding materials with their gift!
12. A similar approach works for employee recognition programs. People Ops assigns an allowance to the recipient’s user profile and grants them access to the “Rewards Store.” Users can then log in with their existing company store credentials and email and shop for their own gift.
13. Gearing up for a large virtual event? Give registered attendees a login to a custom-themed area within your company store where they can download literature before the show or capture emails (You can use swag as an incentive). Reporting will reveal aggregate trends as well as the interests of each attendee.
The Bottom Line
Online company stores can be so much more than just a portal for managing branded products.
From an internal perspective, think of your website platform as an automation, information, and data hub. The connectivity offered by your store website allows you to replace and improve many manual processes. It can also provide valuable insights about customers and employees and helps you make informed decisions regarding spending and ROI.
From an external perspective, your company store website represents a powerful branded experience. Use it as another touchpoint to engage both employees and customers via a familiar online shopping experience.
Ask your Brand Logistics provider about their platform’s capabilities and take advantage of some of these advanced features. As always, we’re here to answer any questions you may have regarding company stores!