How to Build a Successful Swag Store

8 Steps to Build a Successful Swag Store

1. What is the purpose of the store? 

2. To Fund or not to fund the swag store

3. What are the minimum requirements?

4. How do I communicate this to our company?

5. How do I keep the store fresh?

6. How do I know what people really want/need to purchase?

7. How much are people willing to spend on company branded merchandise and apparel?

8. Do I need inventory?

I am frequently asked what makes a successful online company store, or “Swag Store”. There are several questions to answer that will help determine if your company needs a corporate program and if so, how to build a successful swag store.

I will start by saying that not every company needs a swag store, even if they think they do. I frequently talk customers out of a store, because I know that it won’t be successful. Why sell a customer something that they don’t need? Like all companies, our goal is to grow, however we want to grow with the right customers.

We have built over 150 stores, some of which sold nothing, while other flourished. Why?

This was a good exercise to define why some swag stores flourish while others don’t. It has helped us steer programs in a direction that will make them successful.  Follow these steps to determine if you need a swag store and if so, how to build a successful swag store.

1. What is the purpose of you having a swag store? 

  • Why do you need a store? (Marketing, brand awareness, employee swag, etc.)
  • What are your goals?
  • Is there a demand? Who will purchase from the store and what are the items used for?
  • Do employees have budgets, or are they spending their own money?
  • Will employees and distributors be required to purchase corporate logo merchandise through the store or can they buy from any vendor?

2. MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

A lot goes into building a company swag store, so among the criteria we evaluate is the minimum spend. We will build a swag store if it fits our philosophy and model and if the company spends a minimum of $250,000 per year in sales. This is a very low cost of entry for an amazing custom store with a large selection, multiple logo options and little or no inventory liability.

3. FUND THE STORE!

Many companies believe employees will spend their own money for promotional products, swag and logo apparel, however they are usually disappointed. If you GIVE swag to employees, they love it, but typically they will not buy it.

The best way to make a company store successful is to fund it. Some companies give employees an annual budget of to purchase company branded items. Other companies give points for birthdays, anniversaries, performance, safety, attendance or other criteria. Our system allows you to easily manage points and budgets for all employees.

4. COMMUNICATION

Funded or not funded, monthly communication is key (company newsletter, e-blast, company intranet). The communication can feature new items or specials, offer free shipping or just showcase items. We have learned one thing, “out of sight, out of mind.” Without gentle reminders about the store and products, it will slowly die. We send custom monthly e-blasts to store users.

5. KEEP IT FRESH

Frequently adding new brands and styles of company logo apparel and promotional products is important, especially if the company store is the only place to purchase logo merchandise. No one wants to see the same choices every time they shop, so we strive to frequently add items.

6. LISTEN

Sending a survey to your employees is a great way to understand what they want, price points, etc. We can work with you to do this. It is a great starting point before launching a company store, or getting feedback on an existing store. When employees feel like they have a say, they are all in and will use and promote it. Employee word of mouth is a great and helps the company store’s success.

7. PRODUCTS AND PRICE

The product assortment must match your demographics and their price points. Who is buying and why are they buying (personal use, events, customer gifts)?

8. INVENTORY

Do you want inventory or Just In Time items, or both? Depending on your volume and who is buying, we can determine the best choices for you. We call it Rightsourcing.

To build a successful swag store, it takes planning and proper execution. iCoStore will consult and work with you to build a very successful corporate swag store or steer you in a different direction if one isn’t needed.

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