Another lesson on how to build your company store the right way, this time from location-based social giant, foursquare. The foursquare store, much like the LinkedIn Store, doesn't believe it has to be Amazonian to be effective. Both stores have:
- a minimal amount of product
- an easy-to-use interface
- fast check out
- big, bold images
- easy-to-access help line
Often, when brands build their stores, those who are responsible for creating it feel as though they need to provide "something for everyone". Problem is, you can't please everyone. You'll go broke (or waste a tremendous amount of time and energy).
Your most important consideration for your store is intent. What do you want your store to do? What will be the ROI? (Both 'return on investment' and 'return on impression').
LinkedIn and foursquare (like many other tech stores) seem to understand that the primary purpose for a store is to provide branded merchandise to their fan base in order to perpetuate the brand.
Sounds obvious, right?
You'd be surprised how many people I visit with who want to build a company store "in order to make a little money". They want to provide merchandise to their fans but they don't want it to really cost anything. In other words: we'll give it to them, but boy are they going to pay.
I'm not suggesting that building a store and making no profit on it is advisable but in order for your store to be successful you must take a long term view to its purpose. It can eventually be profitable, (most can even be profitable right from the start), but you must not forget that the $10 hat or $20 t-shirt you provide on your store has much more value than mere ink on cotton. Its value is in your fan base (or as foursquare calls them, superusers) wearing it, frequently. You'll receive multiple impressions for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising. Your superusers are your biggest potential for word-of-mouth advertising, so what's a walking, talking billboard worth?
- Superfans and superusers: show your foursquare pride with swag (foursquare blog)
- Mari Sheibley On Foursquare's Quirky Images (Forbes)
- Check-In For Swag At The New Foursquare Store (TechCrunch)