As someone who has reviewed a lot of company stores, I've always loved the simple, creative edge to the LinkedIn store and I had actually planned to highlight it at some point. Now I have an excuse as the LinkedIn store adds new gear and new pics with (very smart!) links to the LinkedIn profiles of their models. The store was created by Paul Navabpour with Jack Nadel. (Hey, I don't mind discussing the competition and their work, it's rare to stumble across a store site that has been done exceptionally well!) Kay Luo discusses the new store here. You can buy your LinkedIn gear here.
What would be really cool, particularly for a social media giant like LinkedIn, is to incorporate some sort of Reactee gear, (the shirts that text back). Better yet, with everyone getting into full iPhone/G3 mode where internet accessibility is now convenient, even something as simple as a custom shirt for LinkedIn users that features their LinkedIn public profile address would be enough to spark more connections on LinkedIn. I may not be so vain as to wear my own public profile often (okay, maybe I might) but I definitely would wear my company's profile, the profile of a charity I support or a group I belong to. Printing one-off's on t-shirts is now possible and those of us in the promo industry have always known that to personalize a product for someone greatly increases the branding factor (i.e., I will be more inclined to wear it or use it more if it bears my name, too).
If you are thinking of creating a company store or a gear store for your brand, a couple of key take-aways from the LinkedIn store will help:
- Start small: begin with 6-12 items and then get feedback from your audience with plans to increase your store in the future
- Take the photography of your product, seriously (even in a fun way). I've seen too many stores with shoddy pics of their product. Your internal audience (i.e., employees, colleagues) are accustomed to quality images. Don't sacrifice your brand's image, even on an internal store site.
- Personalize your store. This takes time, but make your store reflect your brand. A great number of stores are created in haste without much consideration for how it reflects your image. Plus, if you can incorporate models from your company, do.
- The cardinal rule: in the end, the functionality of your store is more important than aesthetics. Build both: a creative store and also a store that works. The final analysis of any store is how it performs. How a store looks brings first time users; how a store performs brings users back again (and again). Did your store users receive their merchandise as quickly as humanly possible? That should be the ultimate goal. (This post was not intended to be a self-promotion, but it fits well here: if you want more info on how to create an effective store, you can download my Company Store Planning Guide here).
Congrats to the LinkedIn crew, Nadel and photographer Dave Getzschman for a sharp store.
Update, July 17th: Dave informed me that Kay Luo was the genius behind the concept of the LinkedIn store.