Are Company Stores for You?
If you have not heard of or considered offering a company store to your repeat customers, you may want to check into it! A company store, in our industry of custom decorated apparel on-demand, means a web page that is dedicated to a specific customer that offers a simple online shopping solution for that company and the people for whom they purchase their decorated apparel.
In plain English, it is a site where the Booster parents and family members [or soccer, band, scout, church, employees, etc. etc. etc ] can buy their logo'd stuff without you or anyone in their organization having to deal with paperwork!
Here is how it works - a person goes to a custom website (stay with me here -- don't panic -- you do NOT need to know how to build a website or even have your own website), selects their items from a list of predetermined products with predetermined design options, puts their purchases in the shopping cart (just like on Amazon or any other online shopping page), they pay for the order, and then they leave the site. On the other side of the transaction, you as the apparel decoration professional receive an email with all the order details, including the item style #s, sizes, colors, quantities, and design details along with the payment. You produce the order and then either let the customer or the organization know that it is ready for pickup, or you ship it, depending on how that company store is set up.
You can give the company or organization a percentage or fixed dollar amount of the purchases to help that organization as a fundraiser, or not. You can leave the company store website up all the time or only allow orders to be placed during a specific time period. You can hold all the orders until a deadline, and then produce them all at one time, or you can produce the orders as they come in. You get to decide all these details!
Company stores are completely customizable. You can include 1 item or 24 items. They can select only one design, or from 10 designs. You can offer 3 colors of a hoodie, or just one. You can include sweatshirts with embroidered designs, transfers, rhinestones, sublimated or DTG designs.
There are company store solutions available at a variety of levels - from the most basic to very sophisticated. They range in price from as low as $29/month up to $100+/month, depending on the features you need for a specific customer. Some solutions have an upfront cost, and then no monthly costs.
Here are some company store solutions to check out, if you want to learn more about creating company stores for your customers:
- AGP e-Solutions*
- ASI Company Stores*
- Order My Gear
*Indicates a company that is a Preferred Vendor with NNEP, offering current members a savings opportunity! We always encourage you to start with those companies, as you may get the most competitive option from them.
Getting a company store set up can take as little as a half a day, or it can take longer, depending on if the customer's needs are more complex. You and your customer still need to do some work to make this solution work optimally. You/they need to promote the company store. Have the customer send out emails reminding their folks that they can order their stuff at XYZ.com [insert the custom url of their custom company store page]. Suggest that the customer includes the custom URL on their employee paystubs or stuffs a flyer in with their employees' payroll information. The company store is great, but people have to be reminded to GO TO THE WEBSITE to place their orders.
If you have a customer that is ordering for a bunch of individuals, even once for a family reunion for example, offering a company store solution may be just the edge you need to win the business!
Here is a link to a webinar presented by Joan Miracle of ASI, where she walks you through the process of getting started with company stores: Company Stores Webinar by Joan Miracle, ASI.
If you have any questions about company stores, please let me know. Post your question or comments below, or email me at email@example.com.