Brand stores, also known as merchandise stores, have become a key way for corporates to brand themselves to a larger audience or to establish loyalty among their employees.
What is a brand store? It is an online store that allows a company to sell merchandise with their logo printed. Many of the top brands flaunt such stores. They can also be used to build a gift inventory for performing employees.
Here are some examples.
- Coco Cola: https://us.coca-cola.com/store/
- Google: https://www.googlemerchandisestore.com/
- Microsoft: https://www.microsoftmerchandise.com/
- AT&T: https://estore.att.com
- Deloitte: https://www.deloittemerch.com/
- McDonald’s: https://smilemakersonline.com/
In general, these stores sell apparels and consumer durables, such as t-shirts, water bottles, hoodies, gift cards, bags, etc.
Brand stores also help you spread word about your brand to a wider audience. It’s free advertisement.
Let’s learn in this article how you can build your own brand store.
Shopify is the world’s leading ecommerce store-building platform. It powers over 500,000 ecommerce websites out there.
Shopify allows you to start off with a trial of around 14 days or more depending on your location.
Once you sign up on Shopify, you are invited to create your own online store and add a template to make it stand out. In order to learn the nuances of how to use Shopify to your advantage and how to add and sell products, we have come up with a complete ecommerce guide that you can download here.
We are also a Shopify partner and will help you build your brand store for free. The plans available on Shopify are as follows.
Once you sign up, you will get to the Shopify interface as shown below.
As you see above, Shopify interface gives you the options to add your products, process orders, manage customers, do marketing, add apps, etc.
You don’t want to create and dump your store in a sub-folder within your main website. As in: yourcompany.com/store. Instead, a better option would be to create a subdomain and keep the store there, as in: mystore.mycompany.com.
You can always have the first URL redirect to the subdomain URL if you feel that the first URL is a cleaner one.
There are key advantages to creating subdomain stores. Some are as follows:
- It’s usually treated as a fresh domain, so you can separate your existing assets on your website from the store assets.
- You can install a different content management system on the subdomain, which is not an option in case of sub-folders.
- Subdomains still get all the value accumulated by the parent domain.
- Subdomains will work almost like independent websites, so it will not affect your main domain even if you have completely different kind of content on subdomains.
- You can rank your subdomains for separate keywords.
In order to add a subdomain to your store, go to “Domains” under “Online Store” in your Shopify admin screen. Then you can select the option of “Connect existing domain” and use the Shopify domain management instructions to make it work.
There are two ways you can find merchandise vendors for your brand store:
- Finding local suppliers; stocking products in your own warehouse or within theirs with an arrangement to ship based on demand
- Finding a Shopify print-on-demand dropshipper who will take care of the entire product inventory and shipping.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both models.
In the first case, you can keep the product in your warehouse and do quality checks for every order very easily. But it adds the extra burden of shipping and inventory management on your head. In the second case, your supplier can be anywhere in the world, and the products do not pass through your hands. But you cannot do any quality checks for ongoing orders. You need to do the quality check by ordering from the supplier before creating your dropshipping contract.
After you create your Shopify store, head over to the Shopify App Store (Click Apps->Visit the Shopify App Store).
Here, you need to look under the option “Finding products,” where you have “Dropshipping,” “Finding suppliers,” “Print on demand,” and “Product importers.”
For brand stores specifically, you need “Print on demand” suppliers. The print-on-demand supplier that we prefer is Printful, which is top-rated and used by hundreds of thousands of stores to dropship high-quality custom-branded products.
You can add Printful through Shopify App Store, or you can add your Shopify store to Printful through your Printful account.
Head over to Printful, create an account and then you will see the dashboard where you can select your Shopify store.
Click “Choose platform” and then connect Shopify; you can finish the integration through the Shopify App Store.
Once the store is selected and connected, it will be visible in your Printful dashboard as well as your Shopify Apps section. After this, you will see the “Add Product” page.
In general merchandise stores do not thrive on all kinds of products, but only those that are popular among brand followers and employees.
Some of the products that generally do well on brand merchandise stores are as follows.
- T-shirts and polo shirts
- Hoodies, sweatshirts, and jackets
- Coffee mugs
- Water bottles
- Backpacks and tote bags
- Low-cost jewelry
- iPhone covers
- Throw pillows and pillow covers
- USB accessories
In order to add some of these products, head over to the “Products” section on your Printful app page and click “Add product.”
Select the product you want to add to the store, and you will be presented with a page to upload your print design. This is where you upload your brand logo to be printed on the product.
Click on “Upload file” to upload your logo. You can upload directly from the device or from cloud services such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Select a PNG file of high pixel resolution to upload. At least 1000×1000 pixels is needed for a high-quality print output.
Once you have uploaded the logo, check the print quality mentioned by Printful. Anything around 300 DPI should be excellent. Depending on the size of the print area, your DPI value will increase or decrease.
Proceed to mockups to see the print in actual situations. You can click on “Mockup view” tab to see all the mockups of the product with the logo in place.
Select the mockup style and click “Proceed to description.” You can edit the default description if you wish. But for most cases, the default description itself serves the purpose. Then proceed to pricing and set the price for each item and the profit margin beyond the base price set by Printful.
Based on the demand, Printful gives the following discounts.
After you review the pricing, select the Shopify collection where you want to add the product and then click “Submit to store.”
Once the Printful product is submitted to the store, you can edit it in Shopify among other products you have there. In certain cases, you may have to upload the product images manually from Printful product settings to the Shopify product page.
After publishing the product, the following is how the product page appears on your Shopify store.
The printing and shipment processing are handled by Printful directly from their warehouse.
You will have to follow the same steps to add any product from Printful to your Shopify store.
Is Printful the only print-on-demand dropshipper on Shopify App Store? No. There are other cool alternatives. Here are some of them and the kind of products they showcase.