The topic of a online company webstore comes up in most marketing departments as companies expand, evolve, and streamline their systems. While an online company store can be a “no-brainer” for some organizations (saving countless hours of marketing time and maximizing their marketing budget) it also can be burdensome and boring for others and result in poor use of marketing dollars. How do you know if an e-store solution is the right fit for your company?
Here are the 5 key questions you need to ask yourself about your organization to determine if a online company webstore is right for you.
1. What is the volume and frequency of your branded merchandise orders?
Volume is key when it comes to webstores.
Big quantities, guys! If you use a large amount of promos on a regular basis or are placing quite a few orders per month, then the initial investment of setting up a store will quickly be outweighed by the time saved in administrative to place and follow through all those orders and distribute all the marketing inventory.
If your company uses a relatively small volume of promotional items and orders less than 1-2 times per month, it's probably not worth the investment of setting up and maintaining a company store. A lot of platforms available are free to set-up and you can get started super easy, but it's also super easy to forget the fact that there's often costs incurred with warehousing, maintenance, and/or support. Plus there's an initial investment of time needed to iron out the details and learn the platform - if you're only using a small volume of promotional materials, is it really worth your time? Probably not!
2. Who uses your promotional materials?
Logistics plays a big role in determining if a company store is a good fit.
Do you have reps, sales offices, distributors, dealers, or locations scattered across the country that need promotional materials?
Did we just hear you say yes? Then implementing a centralized platform and having the fulfillment handled for you is an obvious way to streamline this department!
On the other hand, if your need for promotional materials is all in-house and you have ample storage space, it may be more convenient to have your marketing materials on site and available immediately to those that need them.
3. Do you use the same items over and over or are you constantly changing to new products?
If you use your selection of branded items for an extended period of time, a company store is perfect in terms of cost savings! You can order in bulk (generally bulk = save money!) and you don’t have to take up all your storage space warehousing all that inventory. This means you could always have your promo products ready to ship on demand…. without waiting on production, artwork proofs, stock issues at the factory (you know what we’re talking about!).
However, if your company likes to constantly switch out to new items for each event or marketing theme that comes up, it ends up being more of a hassle to keep your store updated and products in stock….and of course you have to remove all the discontinued items that you’re not using anymore! Also, you run the risk of having redundant items that don’t move because there are new things that individuals order instead.
4. Is brand consistency a challenge?
Brand consistency is a huge benefit of an online company store.
If you have other departments ordering promo gear and they don’t always follow your brand guidelines (we feel your pain!) or your logo is complex and difficult to print, a company store can be exactly the solution you need! It allows the marketing department to control the branding on all items produced no matter who is using them. With complex logos, it allows you to perfect the process and logo presentation on each branded marketing piece before ordering in bulk.
By doing this you are able to relax knowing that all items are consistent without having to do proofs and quality checks on each individual order placed.
"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.”
― Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of Amazon
5. Are you able to get promo items in-hands quick enough for your needs?
Company webstores take the stress out of rush orders and last minute requests. If your marketing team is constantly getting bombarded with rush projects and tight deadlines for orders of your standard items, a company store can eliminate all that unnecessary stress and communication load.
Also, with last minute requests, if you're paying for expedited shipping to meet in-hands dates, the online store can save a large amount of shipping related costs. Most webstore services can ship the goods same day or next day - not bad! :)
On the other hand, if your needs are not usually of an urgent nature you may like the freedom to just order as and when needed and not risk having inventory that is no longer wanted or outdated.
To sum it up, if you are using a high volume of promotional materials and need a central place to track and access those materials quick and hassle-free, then ta-da....a company webstore is the perfect solution for your needs!
However, if you don't use a high volume and like to keep your materials fluid and flexible, a company store probably isn't the best solution you're looking for in terms of convenience. It can tie up your marketing dollars in inventory you no longer want and prevent you from acting quickly with needs for new promotions and events.
It is crucial to look carefully at the specific needs of your organization when considering a change such as this in order to determine what makes the best use of your marketing time and money.
Still unsure? Book a time with a CUBIK brand expert for a personal consultation to discuss the specific needs of your organization and learn more about the solutions we offer.