Selling and distributing corporate branded merchandise to company employees and loyal fans was once an expensive and cumbersome process, reserved for large companies with big marketing budgets. Product was selected once a year by a few people making their best guess about what their audience would want in the coming year. Paper catalogs were designed, printed and distributed. Product inventory was purchased, stored and shipped from a main warehouse. And at the end of the year the corporate buyers and their promotional product partners worked hard to find a home for any leftover inventory so the process could start all over again.
Happily for everyone, technology came on the scene and offered e-commerce solutions for company stores that eliminated the need for print catalogs, deep inventories or even the staff tech specialists we all relied on to build and maintain the early on-line stores. Suddenly, company stores became accessible to not only the largest corporate players, but also the smallest local merchants. Offering everything from an embroidered fleece vest to a coffee mug with the company logo, on-line company stores can be customized to accommodate just-in-time inventory for 1-piece purchases that can ship out immediately – or on-demand merchandise options with no inventory exposure, but longer lead times and minimum quantity purchases.
A simple e-commerce store can offer a custom product selection and shopping cart, without the bells and whistles of more sophisticated sites. And that is all the functionality most small companies would need or want. More intricate sites with multiple payment options, multiple pricing levels, currency & language requirements, and/or site integration with a client’s internal tech platform are available for any company with the size and sales volume to support it. But, point in fact, those companies have always been well-served by company store providers.
Today’s e-commerce solutions finally include solid, sophisticated options for small businesses. Do you have a dozen logoed items that you want to make available to your customers and brand fans? do you want a temporary shopping site to offer employees a choice of end-of-year appreciation gifts that can be shipped directly to them? or do you simply want one place to go to view and order product from pre-selected vendors that reflect the quality standards you set for your company? Then consider an on-line company store – it’s easier and less complicated than you may think.