Swimming with the Big Fish: Company Store Programs
July 5, 2012
As a distributor, you have the opportunity to work with a nearly-endless variety of clients, from small local businesses to nationwide corporations. Some clients will only need a dozen gifts of the same type, others will need thousands of a wide variety. Many times in the case of the latter, though the corporation may be ordering 500 of the same item, each branch may only need 10.
That's where the company store comes in.
Company store programs provide a way for branch offices, sales representatives, or stores to order a selection of items imprinted with their corporate logo. They often benefit from special pricing and lower minimums on the items included in the program, allowing each branch more leeway in their orders than if they ordered the same item outside of the company store program. The items included in the selection are determined by the corporation and can include anything under the sun; although each supplier will have their own company store policies, distributors and corporations are able to manage the final program as they wish.
So how is a company store set up? Once you've acquired your client and determined their desire or need for a company store, the first step is of course to contact suppliers. The programs can vary by supplier, so be certain to verify each supplier's policies. Armed with information, you're then able to begin to determine the items to include in the store. Many suppliers will suggest a mix of best sellers and new items that fit the corporation's image, but selections can, naturally, be tweaked should you or your client have other items in mind.
Once the items are selected, it becomes time to consider your presentation of the program. Many suppliers will offer advertising options. Maple Ridge Farms, for example, provides PDF flyers and images displaying the corporation's logo on each gift. (View a sample here.) The flyers are able to be printed or emailed, while the images are suitable for display on the company store website. Whether your client plans to use flyers, a website, or both depends entirely upon their individual needs.
With the tools in-hand, promotion begins. Our own experience recommends multiple emailings for holiday gifts, either including the flyers or promoting the website. We find that mid-September and the first week of November generate the best return.
This is barely scratching the surface of company stores. For more information and additional resources, we offer a short, 90-second video. You may also contact Traci Simonis or Virginia Lemmer here at Maple Ridge Farms for additional information in setting up your own company store program with us.
Although the number of clients who can support a company store program is not large, you never know when the opportunity may present itself. Knowing the potential tools at-hand is a powerful resource to ensure that you're prepared should that opportunity arise.