Blog: promotional products
While many company stores are open to the public, some clients require a more limited form of access. They may not want the general public viewing the store at all, or they may only want specific people to be able to place orders or see certain products. Your storeBlox CS Company Store includes a variety of methods for controlling access to the store itself, as well as the products within it. For access to the store as a whole, there are four different possibilities:
- Public Access: This is a normal, publicly available store with no restrictions on access
- Public Access – Registration not required to place orders: A variation on the above, this allows users to order products and check out without even creating an account (also known as Guest Checkout). This can be useful if you get mostly one-off orders.
- Closed Access: A visitor cannot access the store at all without a user name and password. This is a locked down site, with all user access managed by you or the client, by creating user accounts for authorized users.
- Limited Access: This is like Closed Access but allows for registration of visitors who have an Invitation Code. In general, this is going to be the preferred method of handling password-protected company stores, because it allows new visitors with an invitation code to register and gain access immediately. Unless you need airtight control (and don’t mind managing every single user in the store), Limited Access will be your best bet for a restricted store.
One other method of controlling overall access to a store is restricting by email domain. This can be in addition to other restrictions, or it can be on its own. If you restrict by email domain, a visitor cannot create an account without using the correct email domain, e.g. email@example.com. This is often a reasonably foolproof method for making sure that only the employees of your client’s company can register at the site and place orders (assuming you don’t have Guest Checkout enabled).
Finally, as we discuss in detail separately Building Mini Stores using Group Features, Groups are a fantastic way to restrict which products any given user in a store can view. Why would you want to restrict product visibility in a store?
- Private Categories: If your client has a public store but has a few items that are only available to employees, Group-based category restriction handles showing those restricted products to employees only.
- Department-specific products: Some companies have products geared toward specific divisions or groups within the company – for instance, the marketing department might be able to order sell sheets and signage, while the rest of the company can only order apparel and hard goods.
- Multiple locations: Sometimes different locations need different product mixes, but you don’t want to manage multiple stores and your customer doesn’t want to pay for them. Group-based access can create virtual “mini-stores” for each location.
Group-based access to categories handles all these scenarios easily; just assign a category to the appropriate groups, and storeBlox CS handles who gets to see what. For more detail on Group management, check out our Company Stores 101 post here Building Mini Stores using Group Features!
Sometimes you need to provide a different company store shopping experience for different groups of users, but you don’t want the headache and expense of setting up a bunch of different stores. Maybe some users need to see products that other users don’t see. Or maybe a department at your client’s company gets to pay with a purchase order, while everyone else has to pay via credit card.
storeBlox CS lets you manage all this with Groups. Splitting your users into groups enables much finer control over what users can view and purchase, and how they can pay for it. Essentially, you can create a “micro company store” for each group.
Using groups instead of multiple stores has numerous advantages over multiple stores (reduced cost being the most obvious one), but don’t sleep on the management benefits – you get to keep all your product management and reporting consolidated into a single place. With no product duplication or store switching, your management overhead is much lower.
For some stores, however, putting users into the groups is the most daunting task. Manually assigning each user to their appropriate group is a time-consuming task for company stores with many users. That’s where Group Landing Pages & URLs come in!
These features let you assign a user to a group automatically. When you send a user to a Group Landing Page, they are automatically assigned to the group you selected when you enabled the page. They don’t even need to know that they’re a part of the group; it’s transparent to them. From that point on, they will only see the products and payment methods that they are allowed to see. Orders they place that require approval will automatically be routed to their group’s approver.
A second option is a Group URL. This is a foolproof way to ensure that a user is assigned to a group even if they don’t register at that time. Once they have visited a group URL, anytime they register afterward, they will be automatically assigned to the group.
Either way, you’ve eliminated the need to set up users and assign them to groups ahead of time. It’s fast, easy and included with every storeBlox CS company store. Ready to learn more? Attend our monthly free Company Stores 101 webinar!
Sometimes your customer may be looking for something specific – not just a polo, but a blue polo. Or a polo that fits within a specific budget. They can now do all that and more with new color and price filtering enhancements to storeBlox CS.
Now your customers can narrow down their choices in any listing by product color and/or specific budget. Hunting around for a Turquoise t-shirt and tired of clicking on every item in apparel to find it? Color filtering shows the colors available for the list of products currently being viewed. Now it’s crazy easyto find the item in the color you want.
Price filtering lets customers set their price ranges to the penny, and they can combine them with color filtering to find that special item that satisfies their Goldilocks needs!
Plus: Shopping Cart Conversion Tracking
If you use Google’s Adwords or other ad networks to drive customers to your company store, you can now track all the details of purchase conversion. This enables true ROI (return on investment) tracking of your advertising efforts, by transmitting the order amount back to the ad network:
The new feature includes a variable that can be inserted in any snippet of conversion tracking code, so this can be used with any ad network or analytics tool that tracks shopping cart conversions. It’s easy to put your ad network’s tracking code into the dashboard, but if you need help, just call us!
Under the Hood Improvements
Web sites aren’t perfect, and occasionally they produce errors. In an effort to make the company store experience more robust, we’ve introduced a new automated, detailed error reporting system into storeBlox CS for 2017 that will allow us to track down those pesky problems and squash them even faster than before.
All these features are in your store, right now! Need help or a tutorial? Give us a shout today!