Posted on September 30, 2020 6:59 PM Resources
For many businesses, owning a branded company apparel store for employees can be a rewarding and often lucrative investment. When done right, this highly effective strategy can be your team motivator, additional revenue producer, and brand awareness booster.
Read on to find out how you can have a successful apparel store for employees that increases their engagement with your brand, elevates your Human Resources (HR) efforts, helps you keep track of the branded merchandise your business is using, and continuously adds to your bottom line.
The basics of an apparel store for employees
Your store is created to be an efficient online facility that provides a comprehensive way for them to purchase and/or access company-branded merchandise whenever they choose – or are required to – using website-based technology. This can include branded merchandise used for HR initiatives, employee uniforms, special events, promotion giveaways, and more.
Employees simply visit the company apparel store’s website and order their branded apparel or other merchandise, paying for it either with their personal credit or debit cards, or a code that your company creates to provide the merchandise at no cost to them. The online company store takes the order, processes payment for it, prepares it for shipment, and sends it to the employee. It keeps track of all merchandise that is ordered, the inventory of branded items, who ordered the merchandise, and the purposes for which merchandise is purchased.
It’s important to note that creating and running an apparel store for employees has already delivered well over time in many ways for many businesses and other organizations, including:
· Trades including electricians, plumbers, HVAC, etc.
· Medical and other healthcare affiliated groups
· Charitable institutions
· Sports teams
Components of an apparel store for employees
There are several features and best practices to make sure that it is working optimally for your business. These are designed to make purchases as simple as possible, track inventory, gather and understand the store’s sales analytics, and make the site easy to maintain for administrators.
Whichever features you choose for your store, all should be customized specifically to fit your needs and have built-in flexibility for you to change any aspects of the store whenever it is necessary. Here are some features that successful online apparel stores for employees have in common:
· They handle all the functions necessary for the ordering, payment, and delivery of branded merchandise. This includes managing various payment methods and plans, shipping methods, kitting of items, reimbursements, and item returns.
· They have a single sign-on feature for employees. This typically allows users to access your store with the combination of a user ID and a password. Once signed into your website, they can easily navigate through to the company store to make purchases. This is often integrated into the business’s website and login credentials can be set up based on access to other features of the website that are also only for employees. Pricing can be customized by login.
· There is a purchase approval process that works in sync with the store site’s workflow process. Once this is in place, your store will automatically operate efficiently, allowing employees to shop, submit their orders for approval (if needed) for company events, and keep all store functions funneled through a specific group of administrators.
· The store tracks all items sold, who purchases them, the purpose they are purchased for, the method of payment, and profits derived from sales.
· There are customized reporting and analytics processes. You will want to track how your store is performing in terms of sales – including the specific items purchased, when they are purchased, and where they are delivered to. You will also want to easily see the status of your store’s inventory and control it regularly.
· They use variable data products. These features help streamline your store by providing a means for you to add information and/or graphics whenever you choose and for users to be able to easily see the items in their carts.
· They include digital assets in your store’s product inventory. This feature makes it easy for employees to select and use branded digital assets – such as banners and templates for social media posts, branded email announcements, newsletters, and flyers.
· They accommodate employee rewards functions and to keep marketing spend in line with budgeting. Comprehensive company online stores make it easy for businesses to provide their employee rewards – both in merchandise and gift cards – all online.
The benefits of having an apparel store for employees
Many businesses, non-profits, sports teams, and schools decide that having their own branded apparel store for employees and other supporters is right for them because there are so many benefits to this popular marketing strategy. Here are just a few reasons why branded apparel stores for employees make good business sense:
· Consistent branding and quality – Having your own store for branded merchandise allows you to make certain that your brand is always aligned with the quality and specific messages that you would like to convey.
· Efficiency – When executed properly, an online site for branded company apparel and other merchandise is the most appealing, simple, rapid, and professional way to make promotional materials available to your employees also know as your brand ambassadors.
· Controls spending – Online company stores can easily control how much their departments can spend on branded promotional items.
· No need for physical inventory – Because the store is virtual, there is no need for your business to store your branded promotional apparel and other merchandise.
· Promotes employee engagement with your brand – Providing easy, convenient, fast, and 24/7 employee access to your branded merchandise via an online company apparel store means they will likely obtain and use these items regularly. Each time they opt to do this, they become more invested in the company’s brand and their role in representing its laudable reputation.
· Increases your brand awareness – As employees order promotional branded merchandise more often because it is easy to obtain via your company store, and use these items more often, they provide added branded exposure.
Branded merchandise typically sold in an apparel store for employees
While branded clothing is the standard merchandise for apparel stores for employees, many businesses find that selling other branded items in the store also works well – both for employees who want to display their affiliation with a brand and for companies and other institutions that want to increase their brand awareness.
Businesses have also found that this type of store easily allows them to keep track of their branded items used for employee, sales, and promotional functions. Some of the most popular branded company merchandise available in apparel stores for employees includes:
· Fashion-forward branded clothing
· Company onboarding and welcome materials
· Branded trade show merchandise
· Branded office supplies and stationery
· Promotional branded giveaways
· Attention-grabbing branded signs
Cost of creating and operating an apparel store for employees
The cost can be thousands of dollars for businesses and other organizations that choose to do so internally. If you also consider the time and staff needed to devote to the store regularly, the cost of your company store increases exponentially when you run it in-house.
For this reason, most businesses choose to work with a professional promotional merchandiser to create the branded apparel store, manufacture all of the items for sale, and operate it as well. Your cost for this is typically based on several factors, including your store’s operational complexity and an estimation of your annual promotional item spend via the store.
A promotions partner for your apparel store for employees is a must-have
When creating and running an apparel store for employees, partnering with an experienced promotions merchandiser will ensure a smooth process from selecting the merchandise for your store to tracking data for items sold in the store. Their knowledge and experience in this field will be a benefit to you, your company, and ultimately, your employees.
To begin your company apparel store partnership with a professional promotional merchandiser, plan on meeting with their representatives to discuss all of the aspects of the project, including:
· What you would like your store to achieve for your brand
· Your requirements for store features and functionality
· Technology to be used to create and operate the store
· Timeline for the launch of your store
· Cost to execute the launch and maintain the store’s operation
· Types of items to be sold in the store
Working with a professional promotions partner should provide you with several benefits, including:
· You save time – Experienced professionals can launch your online employee store quickly and provide branded merchandise rapidly on an ongoing basis.
· You and your employees can focus on your business, not your company store – Company staff time is not devoted to building and running this online effort.
· No middleman in the process – The same company that handles merchandise manufacturing handles its sales, which results in a seamless process from order and payment to shipping and delivery.
· Your store is run efficiently and transparently – Experienced professionals know how to properly handle your online store – from creation and launch to continuing operations. And, you will be able to see how it is delivering on your goals when you choose.
Fully Promoted is ready to partner with you for your apparel store for employees
With locations across the US and around the world, the Fully Promoted local teams are branded apparel experts standing by to make your employee apparel store a reality. They have partnered with businesses and organizations across many industries including schools and local soccer teams as well as large financial institutions, healthcare providers, and automobile manufacturers. Our local experts are familiar with many of the common features and functionalities that businesses like yours often implement in their apparel stores for employees – they are prepared to make recommendations to ensure the success of this endeavor for your brand.
When you partner with your local Fully Promoted experts, you eliminate the middleman, they will handle every detail of the apparel store from helping you select the items to be sold, the design for these items, manufacturing the items and having them shipped to the appropriate party. The personal attention from Fully Promoted consultants means you will feel as though you are working with one of your own team members. They will be glad to make recommendations as to products that are popular based on your brand identity, budget, etc. There is a wide array of apparel that can be customized either through embroidery or screen printing along with every imaginable promotional product you would want to brand. When you are not sure about your choice, they can present samples of these items to help you make the best choices.
Contact your local Fully Promoted team today to begin discussing your apparel store for employees.