Online team stores have become a big part of how Select Printing is helping high school, middle school, junior high schools, club teams and business get the right gear to the right people. Over the last few months, every store that we have set up is now run online, as opposed to the traditional paper forms/check collection/gather and turn in method that was driving coaches and team leaders crazy...and taking their focus away from their main jobs.
But are online team stores
the right choice for your team? Should you mix in some traditional bulk ordering as well?
Here are some questions to ask as well as a few things to consider when setting up your team store.
One of the first questions to ask is "what is your ultimate purpose for your online team stores?" and "what are the goals?" These answers will set the foundation for your store and will help you answer even more questions later.
Are you trying to give players more options? Are you trying to make the process simpler and easier? Are you using the store as a source of revenue? Do you want to get your brand name out there? Based on your goals you can dial in on how to set up your store.
As with most things, it is tempting to do more when less is really better. This applies to your team store as well.
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Finding the right selection for your online team stores is a big part of having success[/caption]
From our experience, the best online team stores typically offer 7-9 items. They cover their bases but don't over do it with choices. You don't want to create the restaurant that has so many options on the menu that you can't make a decision.
When choosing items, consider what your team is going to need and how they might be used. Are you playing or working out doors and need warm gear or items that can be layered? Are there items that are optional while others are mandatory? Do you need a couple items that fans, friends and family will want to wear?
You may also consider bringing some of your team members in to the decision making process. They will give you real feedback for what will work and get to feel like a part of the process.
The most successful stores will typically keep their designs to 1 or 2 at the most. When choosing your design(s) consider where the designs will be printed.
Are they going to be for family members that want to show their support? Consider a bigger bolder graphic that can be seen from the stands.
Is the print going to be smaller, such as on the front chest pocket area or the side of shorts or sweats? Consider using a design with less detail since it won't be as big.
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Considering how your online team stores items will be used will help determine which designs to put on them[/caption]
As the store administrator, you probably know your team and people better then anyone. You also might be in charge of fundraising. This is where your knowledge of your team and their needs will lead to success.
Name brand items are typically going to be more expensive. They are ofter higher quality items and the printing will show up better on them. Will the people purchasing them be ok with a higher price?
Some off brands provide value but aren't as expensive. Is your team alright not having the swoosh or triangle on the item?
Here are a couple of ways to keep your price points down:
- Keep the number of design choices to a minimum. If you do more then 2 you will likely need to pay some set up fees.
- Keep the number of colors in your design to 1 or 2 colors. The more colors you add, the more the items will cost.
- Use a high quality off brand instead of name brand items. Often you can supplement some of your items without sacrificing quality or losing the "wow" factor you get from name brands.
- Consider purchasing mandatory items in bulk. If you know up front how many items your team will need, buying them in bulk (instead of having them purchased individually) will generally get you a better price.
- Keep your design costs down by providing print ready artwork. This will save on set up time and can eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of design time needed. Click here to view Select Printing's graphical guidelines.
Timing and store set up
Keep in mind that deciding on what items to offer and which designs to use is part of the process. But knowing when you need the items is also important. We suggest closing your store about 2 weeks before you need them so that the items can be ordered, delivered and printed. This is not always a factor for stores aimed at your staff or at leisurely purchases. But if you have an event or a game that requires these items by a certain date, be sure to set up the timing of the store accordingly.
Most stores will run about a week long. It takes about 2 days to get your store set up. Deciding on price points and items to sell can also take a few days. So a good rule of thumb is start the process around 4 weeks ahead of when you need them. That timeline can be shortened but that means perfect execution from everyone, including shipping companies like UPS, which is not in your control.
Promotion of your online team stores
Finally, the key to a successful store is promoting it to the people that will use it. The way that you promote it is up to you and your best judgement. Here are a few suggestions:
- Verbally tell all the people on your team, in your organization or clients and customers of your business about your store. This could be done at any point you are together in a group or individually. Give them a summary of what is available and where to find the store.
- Follow up with an email and / or text message. Include a direct link to your store.
- Post an obvious link to the store on your website. Whether it is on the main page, a navigation bar or in a blog, connecting that link (and making sure it works) is critical.
- Use your social media channels. This is beneficial to you by more then just promoting your store. It shows that you care about your personnel and are going the extra mile to do cool stuff for them.
- Reach out to the "extended network". For example, if the store is for the high school track team, there may be other students that would like your school gear as well. A message during the morning announcements and a post from the school's Twitter account could help to hit this extended network.
By running an online store for your team or company, you are able to provide a convenient way to get your brand's items out to the people that want them. Planning around selection, designs, pricing, timing and promotion will make the overall process smooth while taking the burden of collection and organization off the team leader. Team leaders are free to do their jobs and their team ends up with the perfect product and looking great!