There are hundreds of corporate web stores that fail every year because of poor planning and execution. The company store that offers your corporate branded apparel and promotional products to your employees and customers should be an integral part of your branding process. A well-planned e-commerce site will not only launch well but also produce sensational results.
Up until a few years ago, only the largest companies, with thousands of employees and customers, could afford to have their own company store. Initially, these were all operated from printed color catalogs that were very costly to produce and distribute. Today, with the introduction of the web based company store, almost every company can afford a company store. Startup costs range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, dependent upon the design costs of the web site and a minimal monthly web-hosting fee. Plan on spending an additional 15% to 20% for your corporate branded products to cover fulfillment costs if you contract with an outside source instead of warehousing and fulfilling internally.
The low cost of entry into the web marketplace has produced more company store failures than ever before. This is often due to poor planning. In order to be successful, you must have programs in place that will drive your employees and customers to your web store and in turn build brand equity through the purchase of your branded merchandise.
There are several marketing programs that will make your company store successful. That a look at all of the departments in your operation and like their operations directly to your company store. Here are some suggestions, by department, on programs that will drive your company's store sales, profits, and brand equity. Budgets for making company store purchases of branded merchandise could be established for any department within a company
Your Executive Offices Department
Outstanding Leadership Award merchandise
Company Anniversary Gifts
Significant Corporate Milestone awards
Your Human Resources Department
Valued Employee Rewards
Length of Service/Retirement Gifts
Company Visitor Mementos
Best Practices Awards
Safety Program Badges
Quality Improvement Certifications
Total Quality Management Items
Process Improvement or Re-engineering Achievement Buttons
Inventory Management Merchandise
Sales Performance Incentives
Customer Relationship Management
Loyal Customer Thank You Items
Product Innovation Awards
Special Occasion Gifts
Company Party Souveniers
These are only a few areas and programs that will make your company store successful while increasing employee morale, sales and profits. A company store, without a well-thought out plan for linking the store to your company staff and customers, is destined to fail.
For those of you who may feel that business is great, that employees are paid well and that you need to spend another dollar on fringe items – think again! To increase your client satisfaction with your company, you might want to focus your efforts closer to home.
A recent Maritz poll found that customers prefer working with happy employees. However, only 25% of employees said they were happy with their job. A study by the Incentive Federation reveals that when it comes to motivating employees, improving performance, boosting morale and hitting business goals, non-cash rewards are more effective than plain old bonuses. Why? Thre out of five employees surveyed feel that a cash bonus and pay is something already owed to them for their normal hard work over the year. A program that awards employees points for use at the company store is a true reward. Keep that in mind before opening your company store.