In Blog, Brand Management, Branded Products, On Line company stores, online company stores, Promotional Products

What is PRO-ecom?

PRO-ecom is the name of our ecommerce platform used to host online corporate stores.

What does it do?

It streamlines and automates accessibility to pre-approved marketing assets throughout large organizations.

What challenges does it solve?

There are several benefits that an online company store addresses head on.

Brand Control:  It provides a secure process that maintains complete control of the brand, in that all of the items selected and available on the store are pre-approved by the organization’s marketing or executive teams. 

This pre-approval includes the logo(s), taglines themselves; pantone colors, logo sizes and placement rules across all products and categories.  Best colour palette and decoration techniques are considered as well.  Strict adherence to the brand guidelines is guaranteed 100%.   It is part of our process at Proforma SI to provide spec samples and sew outs for approval prior to launching the stores.

Protects Brand Integrity: Control the brand’s image through the products themselves.  Great care must be taken to build consistency of messages that over time create an association between the brand with quality and value.  Choosing high quality products is is essential.  Why People Buy Name Brands is a key component so well worth the read.  Your customer’s perception of the branded merchandise you choose will become his perception of your brand as well. 

Our advice is this: Send the message that you appreciate value.  Show your customer they are worth a high-quality promotional product. 

Saves Time & Resources: Consider the time and resources involved in sourcing and securing branded merchandise and marketing materials. For some Company’s the administrative strain is more than they can handle and the result is that there is no centralized process in place at all.  This means that employees are on their own to fend for themselves – taking them away from their core objectives they quickly become lost in an unfamiliar world.  Decisions around PMS colors, font types, proof approvals, production time, delivery requirements becomes daunting, not to mention risky. Set it and forget it with online stores.

Eliminates Rogue Spending: A recent Employee Spending Survey among 500 US office workers found that 54% of employees admit to ‘going rogue’ or making purchases without advance approval.  It happens because it can, with a foundation in at least one of these issues.

  • Lack of knowledge – He just didn’t know there were resources available or he didn’t understand the current processes. His manager suggested he “work out the cost for a couple of options” and that sounded like permission to order. Processes and approvals which are unclear (or hidden entirely) are not followed.
  • Lack of confidence in the process – He is frustrated with either the timelines for procurement, support in head office, or the tools (or lack of) at his disposal.
  • Location – The rogue spender might be removed from the hub of your business: the marketing control centre. He is quite possibly a franchisee, dealer, branch office member or a partner.
  • Unclear (or no) budget – A budget is a plan, controlled by permission levels and spending authorities. Without them, it can be open season on print, promotional products, and corporate apparel.
  • Distinctive needs – It had to be customized for the local market, a new product, a special event, or a second language. The rogue spender believes this means starting from scratch.

Companies can spend up to 35% more for marketing materials when rogue spending occurs.  This comes from the higher unit prices and greater overall spending.  Even small purchases, little by little erode the bottom line.

Online stores, with built in approvals, allows you to strategically create and adjust budgets.  It controls access to resources and tracks spending centrally.  This provides the true cost of your marketing efforts, so you’ll know what’s working and what is not.

Leverage Buying Power of a 500 Million $ Partner: Through association, Proforma SI is one of the industry leaders with more than 500 Million dollars of buying clout that spans across all marketing categories, not limited to branded merchandise.  Through our store programs we offer discounts based on total annual spend, regardless of the quantities ordered on each individual order.

Security: An automated 24/7 system that empowers your teams to get what they need when they need it.  While you stay in control with permission based access, approval levels, budgets and spending accounts and flexible payment methods.  Preloaded users gain access to the products and categories as needed.  This could be based on their role within the organization.  Orders placed are first sent to managers for approval.  A manager may approve or decline the order as he wishes.  Budgets may be set by department or employee for added security and control.  Spending accounts can be charged back for goods purchased.

What Can We Put On Our Online Company Store?

From: Business cards, brochures, forms and sales kits to Company apparel and uniforms.  Promotional products or swag, rewards, awards and incentives.  Don’t forget safety products…and everything in between.  Virtually any product your employees need limited only by your imagination.  How about a category for “Fast Turn Options” for those last minute needs?  Pre-loaded with products we can make ready to ship next day.

Who Owns the Inventory?

We have two main types of programs offered with online stores.  We have the flexibility to provide a program that is a combination of both.

  1. Warehousing and Fulfillment – which involves pre-paid inventory.
  2. On Demand – just in time inventory.

In recent years, promotional suppliers have had to step-up their game and provide what the market has asked of them.  And the market demanded delivery, NOW.  Around the clock order entry, art proofing and production means branded merchandise can be produced within 24 hours.  On Demand programs have skyrocketed in popularity as a result.  There are no upfront costs associated with inventory.  No waste due to obsolete materials and the benefits go on.

Other business challenges we solve through online stores is global distribution for your marketing materials, custom packaging and kitting.

What Is Your Approach?  What are the steps?

To ensure that an online store is the right fit for your company, we conduct a 30 minute discovery call to analyze the current situation.  Based on size, locations and organizational needs – is an online store going to solve some of your big business challenges.  We will discuss the pros and cons of On Demand vs Warehousing and fulfillment and help you make the right choice for your Company.

From there, we head into a Deep Dive Session which is designed to provide us all necessary information to  Co-plan your custom store.  What unique organization requirements will need to be addressed, product selection and categories, user lists, budgets,  cost centres and more.

Implementation plans are discussed and formulated to ensure successful creation and development of the site and communication and training for a successful launch.

Online company stores can offer your staff and partners the flexibility they want, without compromising the control you need.

We have a proven track record of over 700 online company stores managing over 21,000 orders monthly.   

Let’s talk!

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