Set Up Your Online Company Store in 5 Easy Steps

Jan 27, 2017 | Branded Products, On Line company stores, Online Company Stores, Proforma Si Blog, Promotional Products | 0 comments

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So, you’re considering implementing an online company store and setting up a central control around the sourcing and distribution of materials across your organization.

You want the finished product to be easy to maintain, effective and of course, controlling your costs is essential. You want to ensure you do it right and avoid complications in the planning and implementation. 

You probably have an endless stream of questions flooding your mind night and day. After all, implementing a company store is kind of a big deal.

Common Questions You May Ask Yourself:

  • Where do I start?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • How long is this going to take?
  • Who’s going to manage a program like this?
  • What are the costs to implement & maintain?

The good news is, with our system and support, your team shouldn’t need to spend more than 2-3 hours working on the implementation of your online company store. We’ll take care of the rest for you!

Step 1: The Discovery Meeting

Every online company store program begins with a quick 30 minute discovery call to determine fit.  What kinds of promotional gear does your organization purchase?  What are the specific problems you are trying to solve?  What will it cost to maintain an online company store?  This focus of Discovery is on the customization and functionality that your online company store will require.

We will discuss things like:

  • What products will be offered in your program?
  • Is on-demand or warehouse fulfillment going to be the best fit for your organization?
  • What budgets and financing will you need?
  • What permissions and approvals are needed?

Upon completion of the Discovery and FIT is confirmed, we move to DEEP DIVE for a more in-depth discussion.  Deep Dive covers everything from setup, approvals, groups, payment methods, logo management, brand guidelines and other detailed program requirements.

At this point, we have enough information to create a statement of work (SOW) and a service level agreement. We have identified what the finished program will look like and now we must build out the necessary steps to ensure the work is done in a logical order and within set deadlines.

From here we move on to product selection that will be available through your online company store.

Common Product Categories:

  • Print Materials, Brochures, Forms etc
  • Corporate apparel & Uniforms
  • Promotional Products
  • Rewards/Awards

Step 2: Product Selection

Choosing the products that will be made available to your salespeople, marketing team and other employees must be done with care. You want your products to reflect the high quality of your brand and be directly aligned to your overall goals.

There are two ways to go about choosing products, and it really comes down to Geography and the time you have available for sitting down as a team and making the selections.

Two Methods for Choosing Products:

Approach #1: Committee or Team.

It can be difficult to get the key decision makers in the same room at the same time, but, if possible, it expedites the entire process.

We will arrange for showroom tours for your team, allowing you the advantage of being able to touch and feel the products and meet with the product experts.

This method is feasible only to clients and teams in the Toronto, Canada area.

Approach #2: Browse Search Engine (Starter Store).

For companies that just can’t make an in person meeting happen, we are happy to provide our Search Engine to browse promotional products.  We have created a specific category called Starter Store which allows you and your teams the opportunity to make your selections on your own schedule.

You may want to form a product committee to help, after all the goal will be  ‘pleasing all the people in the organization’.  Different groups of people in the organization may have different needs.

Once you’ve made your selections, we’ll ship you physical samples of each so you can touch and feel each product in your own time and give your final approval.  Pre-production samples are available at reduced cost and can be used to increase excitement during the launch phase.  Pre-production samples allows for final approval of quality and fine tuning relating to decorating process that will be used.  Finally it takes care of all the setup costs upfront.

Step 3: Site Development

Once product has been selected, we start with the development of the site your online company store. Depending on the size of the store and the complexity, this could take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

Step 4: User Acceptance Testing

Once we have a working online company store in place, we will move into user acceptance testing. This testing allows you the opportunity to place a couple orders and ensure the system is working properly. During testing, we will take the time to right any issues and make any changes needed before we go live.

Step 5: Training

The final step in setting up your new online company store is ensuring your employees know how to use it.

Two Options for Training Employees:

Option #1: Video tutorial

We could create a video tutorial for your employees explaining how to use the store and what options they have for ordering. This video can be published to the homepage of your company store so it’s the first thing your employees see when they visit the website.

As new employees join your organization, they can watch the tutorial right on your company store and be introduced to all the benefits you’ve put in place.

Option #2: Webinars

We will host anywhere from two to four separate webinars, allowing your employees the opportunity to attend the one that best fits their schedule. During the webinar, we will go over What is an online company store how to use it.  Any questions your employees may have will be answered in real time.

We can also record the webinar to share with employees hired later and those who were unable to attend.

Set Up Your Online Company Store

It’s important to have a proven process for ordering materials in place to avoid potential issues in product quality and brand management. By creating a systematic process and centralized ordering center, you will maintain complete control over the products and quality of products available, information printed on materials and management of who has access to ordering and when. These initial steps in setting up your online company store lay the foundation for a more organized, systematic and successful organization.

Once we’ve completed all 5 steps, you’re ready to start using your new online company store! All we have to do is flip the switch and you’re ready to start ordering.




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