By Lisa Young, Chief Operating Officer
When we think of a company’s branded materials, it tends to be about selling these items to customers. However, internal branding – that is, products for employee use – is a terrific way to increase your team’s connection to your brand. Items are best purchased, delivered, and managed through an online company storefront, just like the materials you might offer to the public. A great E-Store should be easy to use, effective for inventory tracking, and tailored to your company’s processes, whether employees are purchasing simple branded products like business cards, stationery or t-shirts, or marketing materials such as brochures and posters. Here are the three factors that have the biggest impact on the success of your internal company storefront.
Enterprise software is designed to make everyone’s life easier. However, when an application or piece of software isn’t intuitive or designed well, it can have the opposite effect. A recent study showed that nearly 92% of enterprise software errors are not system-related, but rather caused by users, due to bad design or confusing functionality. In fact, if the software causes issues, employees may not use it at all. A study performed by G2 Crowd found that adoption rates for internal software was only about 51%. Creating a company storefront is a great idea, but it needs to be designed with features that can serve the needs and habits of your employees. Here are some vital elements for a great user experience:
1. Single Sign-On
This feature allows your employees to log in to the company storefront with a single authenticated click. Single sign-on makes your users more efficient by removing the need to remember passwords or manage accounts. Additionally, it can lessen the workload on your IT team, as a study found that as much as 50% of IT help desk tickets were for password resets.
2. Ease of Payment
Branded materials employees purchase from an internal company storefront are usually paid for by the company itself. A well-designed company storefront provides the ability to assign payments to a cost center. Doing so will not only make the ordering process easier, but it will allow your accounting department to track all the costs in a centralized location.
3. Make It Look (and Work) Like a Website
Data has shown that a surprising 64% of features in enterprise software are either rarely or never used. Though there may be many reasons for these low numbers, a confusing layout or poor functionality will definitely drive down the effectiveness of your company storefront. Users should be able to drop items in a cart, easily search for products, and make changes to their order. If you offer customization options, it should be clear how to use them, and what is not permitted to be changed.
Just the same as it would with a public eCommerce store, an internal company storefront needs to integrate with your inventory, ordering, and shipping practices. For instance, when an employee orders 200 company T-shirts for a retreat, they’ll probably need those in varying sizes and colors. Your storefront should only allow the user to place this order and receive it in a timely fashion. Additionally, it should allow for your marketing team to track the current supply on hand for each size and color, as well as know when to refill the inventory.
A well-built storefront can impact your team in three important ways:
1. Centralize Your Inventory
The internal company storefront should be making lives easier. But without the right software, it might become easier for an employee to skip out on the online ordering. Instead, they might just head down to the marketing department and ask for items directly. Even if your marketing team keeps track of these printed materials, they’re not necessarily storing the inventory in their office closet. Connecting all orders and supplies means a more complete understanding of your current supply of materials. It can also reduce over ordering on products that are only used every so often.
2. Fewer Rush Orders
Imagine an employee is getting ready to head to a yearly trade show. They’ll need branded materials for the booth: handouts, banners, and company swag. Without an internal company storefront, they’ll likely reach out to the marketing department and request these materials. But what if they’re not ready? What if there have been changes to the copy of the handouts, and the ones in stock are inaccurate? That’s going to mean a rush order, which is going to cost your business extra money, time, and stress. A company storefront that connects your inventory, ordering, upcoming events, and shipping, can avoid these errors.
3. Make Fulfillment a Snap
When employees place orders for branded materials, the last thing they want to worry about is shipping logistics. A connected storefront can provide peace of mind and ensure the products are delivered to the right place and at the right time and are shipped via the most cost-effective method & charged to the appropriate cost center. Your shipping process can be automated, and this cuts down on the chance of a user error, such as a box of shirts ending up at the wrong offices. A customizable software option also provides trigger points that can automatically reorder materials when your inventory gets too low.
Employee Satisfaction and Retention with Your Company Storefront
Improving your company storefront is about more than just stationery, coffee mugs and hats with your logo. It’s part of the larger efforts to make your employees’ lives easier and improve the overall work experience. A study found that over 50% of employees are unhappy at their jobs. Streamlining ordering and support processes will undoubtedly lighten the load for teams across multiple departments.
A well-built company storefront automates and streamlines the ordering process for all parties involved. It cuts down on fulfillment and inventory errors, and that can be a welcomed change for your marketing department. They can get back to doing their marketing job rather than scrambling to fulfill requests from other departments.
The right storefront solution can improve your spending and budgeting. Your accounting department will be happier through the utilization of cost centers, which can directly oversee every dollar spent and order placed, and reporting features that help to forecast ordering needs.
Company storefronts have a huge impact on your internal marketing, efficiency, and morale. Though there are out-of-the-box solutions, these often require companies to change their processes. The best way to create a strong internal storefront is to partner with a technology first printing and fulfillment vendor that can design software that integrates with your practices. That’s why we created Finelink. Learn how to take control of your brand by contacting us today.