Your intranet is a rich environment where employees get social, are informed, and increase engagement. Your intranet is a productivity tool. It’s convenient. It’s available where and when employees want to work, including using their smartphone or tablet.
But you can take that engagement and brand further. Your intranet can be a place where employees get merchandise from your company store with your company’s logo – t-shirts, golf balls, cups, and totes.
What’s a company store?
First, let’s define what a company store is. It’s an online location – available on your intranet or extranet – where employees, partners, etc. can purchase items with your company’s logo on it. The types of merchandise in the store should directly reflect on your company’s brand and values. For example, if your organization is in the healthcare industry, known for its empathy, you may want first aid kits, thermometers, and other items – with your company’s logo – that improve people’s health.
An example of a company store is Jack Nadel International.
How to use a company store for more than customers, prospects, and partners?
Chances are good your sales and marketing teams have access to a company store, hopefully online. But there’s so much more potential. Company stores can be gifts to customers, prospects, partners, the community, and even employees. And you shouldn’t wait for a re-branding effort, just to build brand awareness and brand ambassadors.
Here are a few ideas for when to use your company store and why it matters.
1. Give merchandise to customers, potential customers, and partners
You probably have this one nailed – giving merchandise from your company store to customers, partners, and potential customers. When your sales and marketing teams head to a trade show or conference, they’re probably wearing and armed with merch. Your account managers, hopefully, are also passing them out to their favorite customers. Your partner marketing team is building brand ambassadors through your company store items, too.
Making the company store easy to get to through an online presence helps. That means they’re ordering the needed shirts within the budget they’re allotted. It’s self-service, which means they can do it at their convenience. If that experience is mobile as well, they’re able to even order on-the-go.
Ensure you know your audience and what they may want. Are cool socks perfect for your IT audience? Maybe your potential customers love totes. Having that stock in the company store will continue to build brand ambassadors who love or using items with your company logo.
2. Reward employees and teams who excel
So, you’re asking employees to wear merchandise when representing your company to customers, partners, and prospects.
What about rewarding employees for delivering on the brand values, such as a project team who delivered on-deadline and on-budget? How about giving recognition to a customer service representative or account manager for turning around a harrowing situation? Maybe it’s time to give kudos to an employee who discovered a way to save thousands of dollars every month – they probably deserve merchandise from your company store.
There are lots of ways to say thank you, in addition to actually saying the word – thanks – and writing a note. Your HR department may already have a program in place, but it may not include your company store. Using your company store is just one more way to say, thanks.
Using company store merchandise also reinforces your company’s brand and values. In fact, in the recognition area of your intranet, consider asking the employee to pose with the company store item. If you let them select the item, within a certain budget, it may even be more meaningful to them – something they’ll use and talk with others about. It’ll also be helpful to show people with branded merchandise posing for your company news, demonstrating your brand and values.
3. Reward employees and the community for volunteer opportunities (it’s marketing, too)
Your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is robust, making an impact to help people, the environment, and more. Congratulations! You’re ahead of most companies.
Now, take it to the next step and get your teams to wear clothes with your logo. Whether employees are volunteering for Habitat for Humanity, answering calls on PBS, or whatever your employees do to make a difference – they’ll feel rewarded wearing your company logo. More than feeling good, these volunteering employees are also demonstrating your organization’s values and reminding others how your company is making a difference.
In fact, if your company signs up for fun runs and sponsors these events, make shirts available for people who aren’t employees to thank them. You’re building brand awareness. You’re also demonstrating your values, including your commitment to the community.
4. Recognize employee service
In today’s job market, it’s unusual for employees to stay at one organization more than five years. According to The Balance Careers, the employees generally stay at one employer only 4.6 years.
If employee longevity matters to your organization, reward people who stay with additional pay, esteem, responsibility, and branded merchandise from your company store. Again, don’t forget to display them on your company intranet news, showing off who’s staying and why.
5. Build employee engagement
Employee engagement worldwide is less than 15%. Many companies are trying to get creative about how to engage employees. Beyond flexible schedules, decision-making opportunities, and more, many companies are encouraging team outings. It’s an opportunity to get to know people outside the normal day-to-day work and more a chance to know them personally. Relationship building is a sure way to ensuring a more engaged team, according to Rachel Sprague, director of operations at ElevatePoint.
While they’re engaging, and if your budget can afford it, why not give them a memento of their team activity? The merchandise can be related to what activity was done. For example, if you played miniature golf, you could give your team golf balls with the company logo and a personal note thanking them. They’ll remember the experience.
Why add a company store to your intranet?
Good reasons to make your company store available, right? But why add it to your intranet?
Putting your company store on your intranet makes it convenient and easy to access.
Besides, your organization is probably encouraging self-service for other important processes, including benefits.
By enabling employees to simply access your company store from your intranet, you’re ensuring they’re doing everything that matters above. You’re even making it super easy to do it.
Where to add your company store on your intranet?
You want to add your company store to the intranet, but you’re not sure where it belongs or you’ve heard employees don’t understand where it’s located. Don’t worry about who owns your store (such as the Marketing team), and instead think about the uses as indicated above. For all those uses, you’ll want to provide links or make it accessible from those areas. For example, your company store should be included in your reward and recognition section, manager area, as part of your internal CSR, and in your brand section.
You may be thinking that sounds like too much. Because most modern intranets run on databases, you won’t have to maintain separate links while you make it more accessible.
In addition, make your company store accessible through search. If people want to see what’s in the store, they should be able to type a few keywords into your search box and get results quickly.
It goes beyond brand awareness and re-branding
Using your company store on an intranet or extranet has benefits beyond just customers, partners, and potential customers. Your employees and the community at large can also benefit.
Best of all, employees — such as salespeople, marketing professionals, managers, and HR professionals — will have access anytime they need it, online, using their mobile device … even on the spot. Yes, it will build brand awareness, but more importantly, reinforce why your brand and organization matters to customers, to each other, and even the community. It’ll even give you an opportunity to say thanks.It’s easier than you think to have a company store online. Get a demo of a mobile intranet with artificial intelligence and integrates with Microsoft Teams.