If you’ve ever been given a gift card for your birthday, you’re familiar with the concept of “stored value”. Gift cards (or “stored value” or “retained value” cards as they’re sometimes known in the retail industry) are just one way to give customers a limited amount of money to spend at a store or restaurant.
While your storeBlox CS company store can process normal credit card transactions, it also has numerous methods for giving customers money to spend. There are a lot of reasons you might want to do this:
- Your client wants to limit the amount of money their customers can spend
- Your client wants to reward an employee
- A client’s department (a group within the company) has a fixed budget that they cannot exceed
A storeBlox CS company store has three primary methods for handling this:
Gift Certificates: Gift certificates in storeBlox CS work pretty much the same way they work anywhere else; you assign a dollar value and an expiration date, then storeBlox CS generates a unique code. This code is used by the customer when they place an order.
Every gift certificate has an audit trail, which is a fancy way of saying we track all the transactions against the gift certificate, right there on the certificate itself, including the final balance:
Budgets: Budgets are kind of like gift certificates on steroids, and they are used for a different purpose. Gift certificates are meant to be handed out to anyone, where budgets are assigned to specific users or groups to control spending.
Two other big differences you’ll see in budgets from gift certificates: You can continually modify a budget as needed, adding or subtracting funds down the road (and even adding notes as to why!). Budgets also have built-in detail reporting of usage, and these reports can be exported to your favorite spreadsheet program whenever you like!
Points: Points stores are a topic unto themselves, but points are simply an alternative “currency” that a store can use when regular dollars are not desirable. Points have two distinct advantages over other methods of storing value.
First, points can be accumulated. That means that your client can use points to reward employees for, say, safety or performance, and the employees can collect points over time to get the things they really want. 30 points might get them a shirt, but if they have six straight months of perfect safety they can get that iPod Touch they’ve been craving.
Second, using points may have accounting advantages over other methods of giving customers money to use (we’re not accountants, so please talk to your friendly CPA about this). Since things like gift certificates can store value, your client may be “on the hook” for that dollar value until it’s used or the gift certificate expires. Points usually have no real dollar value, so the accounting implications are often less complex.
Look for a separate Company Stores 101 on points stores very soon!
Does your company store handle orders that get fulfilled by multiple outside vendors? For instance, do your stocked hard goods come from a fulfillment warehouse, while your name drop apparel gets routed to a embroiderer? Good news: Using Vendors in storeBlox CS, you can handle any kind of order routing, from simple to complex.
A Vendor in storeBlox CS is any entity that fulfills a product for your store. There are two types of vendors: “Manufacturer/Supplier” and “Warehouse”. In practice, you’ll want to use the former for drop-ship (custom) orders and the latter for in-stock (fulfillment) orders.
Setting up a product to use a vendor is a two-step process.
Create the vendor
First, you create the vendor in the dashboard, entering the relevant contact information:
Second, you assign your product a vendor on the product edit page:
And that’s it! The rest of it is done automatically for you – when a customer places an order, storeBlox CS automatically sends the relevant document to the vendor for each product in the order. Manufacturer/supplier vendors get a Purchase Order while Warehouse vendors get a Pick Slip.
Best of all, it doesn’t matter how complex an individual order is; even when a customer orders items across multiple vendors (say, a dozen custom-decorated polos and a couple mugs from the warehouse) storeBlox CS automatically breaks the order down and sends the appropriate documents to each vendor.
One other cool benefit: By using vendors, your shipping rates will be calculated accurately from the vendor facility to the shipping address for each item in the order. This means accurate shipment rates for every item in an order, regardless of how it’s split up. If you’re not using vendors to streamline your fulfillment processes, give it a try now!
You probably know that you can highlight products and categories using banners on your storeBlox CS company store home page (all easily managed in your dashboard), but there are a few other methods for showcasing specific products throughout your site. Need to promote a brand new product or move a product that isn’t selling? Give these a try!
Any product in your company store can be put on sale using Specials. Specials have a number of cool features that make them easy to set up and run. First, you can group multiple products into a special and then apply certain rules to all those products at once, like start and stop dates and discount percentage.
Second, specials allow you to set pricing at the product level if you don’t want a global discount. So, while you may want to put all your in-stock hats on sales for 10% off, you might also want to set a specific special price for your custom-ordered golf towels, since your customers can order them in larger quantities and you have to use column breaks. Either way, Specials has got your company store covered.
In addition to all the special pricing and messaging on the product page, products on special get highlighted in your search listings and category listings:
Another nifty way to highlight products is to use the New feature. By checking the New box on a product in the dashboard, you highlight the product with a special flag on the site, similar to the Special flag. This is a fantastic way to call out products you’ve recently added to your store.
Of course, don’t forget to use the storeBlox CS Product Activity Report to find out which products are moving and which ones are gathering dust. This report is a great way to target products to put on special and move them out of that warehouse!