Everyone at some point thinks about starting an online branded merch store for their company at some point but comes to a point where they get stumped! The idea sounds fantastic, especially as you think about the brand awareness that comes with it and how easy it would be for both employees and clients to use, but getting it started can be some heavy lifting! Where do you start? How do you get the merchandise? Who designs the items? And suddenly, the idea of starting a corporate merch store just gets kicked back into the backlog. But it doesn’t have to and with some tips from this article hopefully, you and your team can feel empowered to say it’s not that bad!
Why You Should Start a Corporate Merch Store
Let’s start with the “why” you should actually move forward with starting an online swag store. While yes, creating an online corporate store will help with brand awareness and create some excitement throughout the company and clients, it doesn’t mean it’s a strategy for everyone.
If your company is small and just getting started getting an online store made can be a lot of work and you may not see the full benefits of creating one. If you are planning to really create a “brand” and your company is a DTC brand that naturally fits what you are trying to do, then yes go for it! If your business is solely B2B and still doesn’t have the brand recognition for people who actually want to buy it and don’t have a large team yet, you are probably better off buying branded swag directly and ditching the store idea for now.
If your company is growing fast and you’re quickly approaching 200 plus employees with plans to see that double, an online merch store would work best! You would be able to buy items in bulk if needed and actually have the demand for it. The worst thing you can do is buy a bunch of branded merch and have it sit. So having volume to support an online store is needed to be really successful.
So while you are thinking about why you should start one, consider who you are doing this merch store for? Is it for clients, employees, promotions, or for sales teams? Starting an online store has a ton of benefits such as ease of getting your brand into your customer’s hands, raising brand awareness, and you can really get creative with marketing campaigns and culture-building once you have one created. Having an online store, is one of those things that once you have one step up your mind will go wild thinking about fun ways to promote it. The sky is the limit and there are a ton of apps out there to help make the experience even better.
How To Get Started
Think about the main purpose of your corporate merch store. Is it for employees, clients, or your sales team? Will it be open to the public or private for internal use only? Understanding your goals for the online store will help navigate you to the right tools and apps you will need to make this a hit! Also, consider if this store is meant to generate revenue or simply break even. Depending on your business your finance team might not want to declare another revenue line that is wildly different than what you already do. Getting an idea of how you want the financials to work can change how you go about an online store as well.
Cool Ways to Use Your Corporate Online Store
While starting a corporate online merch store, there are so many fun ways to get this set up! I’m sure once your team starts using it, the sky is the limit of what you want to use it for. Here are our favorite ideas we have seen customers use swag stores for:
Employee Store With Points Towards Buying Swag
If you are going to go through the effort of building out a corporate store, you might as well make the experience special. There are so many opportunities to really help with building your brand not just externally but within your company culture. Having branded swag is a great tool to create unity throughout your company. Especially with employees & clients being remote, having exposure to the brand it important. Without people being in the office they are not seeing the logo all the time, this is a great way to change that.
Best Tools For Corporate Merch Store
Now that you have your plans for what you want to do for your corporate swag store, here are some of the best tools to get you started!
While you might not have thought of Shopify as a corporate store solution, it very well can be! Shopify is not just for DTC brands to launch their makeup store; it can be used for any store use case. What’s great about starting with Shopify is you will have a ton of flexibility with the number of apps available to really help with your overall swag store experience! Shopify also offers built-in reports and lots of tools to make it a seamless build-out. Even customizing the entire website is easy to use and you don’t need a designer to help you out since they have thousands of templates for you to start with.
Once you have the store part figured out, you’ll need some actual branded merchandise to actually sell! This is where SwagUp comes into play. They will not only help with designing the branded swag for you, but will produce and store the branded items as well. What a relief! They offer an app within the Shopify store that can easily connect your items to the store. Bonus! If you need that branded merchandise for other use cases you would have the flexibility to use the swag for other needs as well. That’s not all, they will ship the items for you as well along with the handling of the shipping issues that come with it.
Psst: Get in touch with a Swag Expert to start building your custom corporate merch store!
While Shopify does offer some out-of-the-box solutions with discount codes, Flints offers the ability to have discounts for certain actions or triggers. This makes it really easy if you want to provide a discount code for anyone that registers. What’s great is the user can manage their credits in their login and apply to purchases they want.
If you are not looking to get an inventory of your merchandise and want an on-demand solution, Printful is a great option. They offer thousands of items to choose from and make it easy to add their application to Shopify for use. They also handle the fulfillment side of things.
At this point, you should be an expert at getting your company store up and running! Soon your brand will benefit from the awareness and exposure your team will get from having an online company swag store. Once you have one set up, trust us, you will be using it for more use cases than you originally thought!
- Think about your company size and brand stage, it’s not for everyone
- Map out your use cases and the main goal of the store
- Make the experience special and unique
- Get tools that align with what you are trying to do
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