Category Archives: Company Stores

The Siren Song of eCommerce

Do you hear the siren song of the company store? If you don’t, your clients most certainly do. Over the past few years, interest in selling eCommerce solutions has exploded. As a distributor, the appeal of selling an online company store is alluring but, if not properly researched, executed, and monitored, can lead to a very unpleasant outcome for all – lost revenue, non-moving merchandise, and a soured business relationship.

To avoid the potential negative outcomes of an online store solution, there are three steps every distributor needs to take:

1. Ask the right questions – As with so many things in our industry, success boils down to effective and honest communication. There are several dozen questions (at least) you should get clarification on before investing the resources necessary to develop a company store. Some examples are:

  • Does the client have a current online solution? If so, what does it look like (who owns the merchandise, how many products, stocking vs. non-stocking, reporting needs, how is it promoted internally, and how are merchandise substitutions handled – to  name a few)
  • What functionalities do they need from the web solution? Is it secured or open-ended? Is there a shopping cart feature? Do they need real-time inventory updates? How is the shipping calculated?
  • What security parameters do they have for the solution? Will it need to be fully PCI compliant for credit card processing? What type of encryption is necessary?
  • What does the communication process look like for the end user?
  • How is customer care handled?
  • How are returns handled?

2. Formulating the solution – Once you have a full understanding of what the needs of the client are, you need to develop the solution. There are several companies within the industry that can assist with this, including a robust program from DistributorCentral. As you look for a partner to help you, it’s important to ensure the solution you jointly create provides the following:

  • Replicate the look and feel of the client’s site
  • Preserve the user’s shopping experience as they transition from the client’s site to the merchandise store
  • Limited choice – too many products can be more paralyzing that too few
  • Reliable up-time

Many solutions – DC included – allow you to get as creative as your client requires: standalone domain name, credit card processing, and even the ability to upload custom client images to products. The key is to build a solution that will achieve the goals of the client.

3. Ongoing Monitoring – Once the site is built, many distributors assume the orders will just roll in without any further effort. The hard reality is that after the site launches, the real work begins. It’s critical to understand that a company eCommerce site is a living, breathing entity and must be continually monitored, updated, and refreshed. Having quarterly stewardship reviews with your client to honestly discuss the below is essential to long term success:

  • What merchandise is selling – and what is not?
  • What product substitutions need to be made?
  • Are there any customer service issues – and what is being done to solve them?
  • How is the client supporting/promoting the website?
  • How are you planning for seasonality of the merchandise?

Partnering with a client to create an eCommerce site for their internal associates can be scary. However, if you ask the right questions, partner with a company that understands the promotional products industry, and continually communicate with your client, you can avoid the rocky coast and sail your ship to success.

Bill Petrie


Customization Preference – Change Prices on your Website / Strike Through Pricing

You can customize the pricing that shows to your customers for products on each of your DistributorCentral websites!

There are a few different options that you can take advantage of when editing the pricing for your websites. There is a $20 charge per website, per month to utilize this feature.

You can mark up the prices with a percentage above Net pricing, mark the pricing down a percentage from Retail pricing, or set the margin for the Retail markup.
This feature could be helpful to those distributors who are creating company stores for their customers or possibly even for those who just want a competitive price on their website for promotional products.
There are many other reasons why you might want to use this new feature to help make your site your own.

Click here to see the instructions to add this feature to your website.

Once you have that preference set up, you can also set up a preference to allow “Strike-through pricing” so your products pricing has a red line through the original cost and have the discounted cost under it. 

Here are the steps to set up “Strike-Through Pricing” – Note: this will only show up after you have enabled the “retail adjustment” preference above. It will also only show up on the details page of each product as it is clicked on.

  1. Go to Websites Menu> Add/Edit Websites
  2. Click on Preferences to the right of your website
  3. Click on “Catalog” to the left
  4. Find the preference titled “Show Strikethrough pricing on product catalog?”
  5. Set that to “Yes”
  6. Save the changes
  7. Publish the website to make those changes live

Compare Pricing On Products Copied From Suppliers

Attention Fulfillment Account users…

We have added a quick compare page for products that you have added into your Fulfillment Account using the “Add Similar From Supplier Product”  link. This will make it easy for you to compare the pricing of your Fulfillment products to the Supplier’s current pricing in DistributorCentral, where you can then update the price if necessary.

To access this tool, login to your Fulfillment Account, and then go to the Products menu >> Advanced Features >> Compare pricing On Products Copied From Suppliers. See image below. Click here to learn more about our Fulfillment Account feature.

Have you Noticed Our Templates?

DistributorCentral has created many new templates for you to utilize for websites in your account.

If you haven’t seen our template section in the last six months then you should look again.

As of today, we have 28 templates for you to choose from and we are always adding more and improving those that are already there.

Each of these templates offer the DistributorCentral product catalog and shopping cart. You can also customize the product catalogs available.

Here are a few samples of some of our templates.

You can use the templates that we offer to create multiple websites in your account. You are welcome to change these templates to fit your needs as well.

You can see the list of all the templates we provide by clicking on the Websites Menu in your account on the far right side of the Navigation bar.

Once you have clicked on the Websites Menu, you will see a section titled “Pre-Made Templates.” In this section, it will list all of our templates available.

To view what these templates look like, select Preview on the right side of the template name. If you find one that you would like to use, select Use on the right side of the template name.
This will create a new website in your account.

All of these templates are available free of charge.

Company Store Websites…

Do you need to create a specific website for one of your customers or clients?

If so, you can create Company Store websites within your DistributorCentral account. Company Store sites can be setup specifically for clients and customized to only display certain products and information intended for those customers. You can use products for the site that are already setup in DistributorCentral from our participating Suppliers, or you can setup a Fulfillment Account to create custom products and customize the ordering process.

Click here to learn more about Fulfillment Accounts.

Click here for full details and to download the Company Store Guide.

Click here to visit a demo company store website created in DistributorCentral. This site has both the standard All Products catalog and also a custom catalog (called Marriam Catalog) using products that were setup and customized in a Fulfillment Account.