Online Company Stores: The Easiest Way To Manage Your Branded Merchandise
Management of your company’s branded merch can be a cause of wasted time, conflict, and ultimately frustration for marketing staff, as well as other departments. Buyers of promotional items don’t want to check in with marketing to get permission to create materials. Marketing is charged with maintaining the integrity of the brand, but may not have the time to deal with requests coming in from multiple departments. It’s an ongoing dilemma. How can you protect the integrity of your brand, especially when there are multiple entities creating promotional materials (always with the risk of not following your brand guidelines)? This is where online company stores come into play.
An online platform (like the one Metron Branding offers) will distribute and manage your branded merchandise for you. These customizable sites are designed specifically for your organization, and simplify how recipients access your incentive items and corporate gear. Your employees (and also your customers and distributors) can simply go online to order approved branded items, on demand, without having to go through the approval process every time. Additionally, these platforms can be set up for many types of items, including:
- Brochures, folders, business cards, and other print collateral.
- Signage and graphics, banners, tablecloths, and other items for trade shows and events.
- Promotional products such as pens, USBs, water bottles, and other items.
- Branded apparel and accessories like hats, shirts, jackets, bags, etc.
- And more!
This may sound good, but what are the actual advantages to online company stores? Here’s a few:
Condensing all of your materials into one portal will bring clarity and consistency to your brand. By utilizing the services of one vendor, you can control how your logo and brand guidelines are used, and ensure that each item meets your specifications. Also, the portal should be customized to your brand and marketing requirements, conveying a uniform message across all communication channels. This leads us to our next advantage, design.
Design of the site is the first impression of your brand, and design elements can be customized to meet your branding requirements. Elements such as banner/slider images, menu and background colors, categories, and more can be adapted to what you want. The platform design should also be responsive, ensuring that visitors can access it anywhere, and will see essentially the same design optimized for their smartphone, tablet and desktop. Images should be sharp and detailed to ensure your company brand is being represented well.
User experience is perhaps the most critical component to the success of your platform. Options such as multiple check out and shipping options, discount code and point allocation, and up-to-date security protection make for a seamless transaction. This, combined with a sleek, intuitive design will have users returning again and again. Look for a vendor who will handle any user issues or questions pertaining to the platform. That’s what online company stores are all about!
Real time reports monitor your platform performance and maintenance. Reports such as current inventory or order history will show an ongoing record of where your items are at any given time. You can control where the inventory is, as well as track who is ordering and where the items are going.
Time & Cost Savings
Simply put, managing your branded merchandise yourself can be wasteful. Typically, waste occurs when:
- Items are misplaced, lost, or forgotten about
- Over ordering results in unused inventory
- Items are not the right size for the promotion
- Items end up being ruined due to poor storage practices
- Items take up valuable inventory space
If you consider the amount of time spent on branded merchandise, it can be staggering. Sourcing and ordering, receiving and storage, and coordinating shipments to events and recipients will no longer be a part of your job. Lower inventory and direct shipment from one location will simplify the management of your budgets and spending. It just makes sense to have someone manage your gear for you. Online company stores save time and money in the short and long term, and free you up to concentrate on what’s most important. Check out our online company store guide to learn more about how a store can benefit your company.
Metron Branding can help you launch an online company store for your branded merchandise, tailored to fit your needs. We have the experience and passion to help you reap the benefits, and the support to simplify the process for you. Book a free consultation today, and we’ll schedule a meeting to show you around. Still unsure? Give us a call and we’ll help you decide.