If you are a CEO or a top manager in a large company, then working on motivating the team is your daily task.
Personnel in large corporations need to be inspired and encouraged to perform well. Why not launch a corporate online store of branded gifts for them? This article sheds light on must-have features of such a store and the way of how it should work using the example of Simtech Market, the Simtech Development company store.
What is a online company store for employees
A online company store is an online platform created by the company for its employees. Literally, an eCommerce website where your staff can buy goods and services under special conditions or at a discount. This type of store is often referred to as an employee discount program or employee perks program.
Microsoft Company Store applies just the same principle, providing their employees with the opportunity to buy software, gadgets, accessories and subscriptions to cloud services at a discount. This is a typical case. Today, we will talk about another option for a corporate shop, which is gaining popularity.
We are talking about stores where employees purchase branded souvenirs, gym memberships, and tours, paying for them with points or corporate “currency”. This internal “money” can be earned for participating in activities that are meaningful for business: speaking at exhibitions and conferences, organizing a holiday, mentoring support for newcomers etc. There can be a lot of options here. The main thing is that these activities should:
- Correspond to the mission and values of the company;
- Bring financial or reputational benefits;
- Strengthen a positive image among target audiences (clients, staff, partners, authorities, media);
- Promote a sense of responsibility and pride in belonging to the team.
Features of the company online store
The development of company online stores for employees is becoming a common practice among corporations, manufacturing enterprises, factories, and IT companies. A well-known example of a online company store for employees is the Google Merchandise Store. Google has an online store specifically for its employees, offering a variety of branded merchandise, including apparel, accessories, and tech gadgets.
Google Merchandise Store
In 2023, Simtech Development also launched a corporate web shop. It was called Simtech Market.
- No commercial purpose
The “buyers” here are the employees, the “seller” is the employer, whose goal is not to make a profit, but to involve the team in corporate life, strengthen trust with them, and motivate their growth.
- Payment system
Most often, companies launching a store for employees come up with their own “currencies” or use combined payment options for goods and services. For example, in Simtech Market you can pay for your purchase in coins, and if you don’t have enough for the desired souvenir, you can pay the difference in a regular currency.
- Authorization and access
Only company employees can use the corporate store. However, if necessary, the website can be available to external audiences. For example, some brands use company stores to raise funds for charitable causes.
The organizers of the event invite their colleagues to make a purchase and donate the profits from the sale of souvenirs to those in need. To attract more participants and increase the donation amount, organizations can involve other target audiences in the campaign. For example, clients or the media. This is a great way of free advertising, by the way.
Company online store design is created in accordance with the company’s brand book. The store displays corporate colors, shapes, and images. Pay attention to the Simtech Market logo: it repeats the color combination of red and gray, like the Simtech Development logo.
When purchasing goods on Amazon, we pick them up at the point of delivery. The employee will receive a souvenir from the corporate online store in the HR department. For remote staff, merchandise is sent by mail or with courier.
Ayrat, HR Director of Simtech Development:
ー Online store for employees is not just a convenient space for purchasing corporate products. This is a way to improve the employer’s image. We reward specialists for their activity, thereby increasing their satisfaction with their place of work (eNPS, Employee Net Promoter Score), and this is the key to long-term strong cooperation.
Using your company online store, you can also increase brand awareness. If employees really like the merchandise they receive, they will use it in their daily lives. For example, the guys from Simtech Development love branded backpacks – they are high quality and stylish. Not only friends and acquaintances, but also passers-by on the street pay attention to a fashionable bag with an unfamiliar logo. Perhaps, when they get home, these people will look for information about the company on the Internet. They might want to work here in the future or become a client. This is how employees become not only experts, but also real ambassadors (“advocates”) of the brand.
Features of company online store for employees
Apart from the above-mentioned features a corporate web shops should provide the following functionality:
- the ability to track employee activities and award appropriate bonuses;
- integration of the website with internal company systems, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) or time tracking;
- a reliable security system that guarantees the confidentiality of insider information and the protection of employee data from unauthorized access.
Other functionality of the company online store depends on the goals and business processes of the customer. When developing such projects, most of the team’s time is spent discussing site options and working out the logic of its operation.
Simtech Development analysts help managers responsible for developing a store for employees to systematize the requirements of stakeholders, because there are quite a lot of them in large companies. After that, requirements can see their implementation.
How Simtech Development developed Simtech Market
Alex, Development Team Lead :
ー We developed a company online store at the request of our HR specialists, who wanted to have a simple and understandable tool for motivating staff (ed. note: for this reason, such sites are also called “HR online store”).
Before development began, my colleagues and I designed the site architecture and database schema. We divided the project into blocks, discussed the order in which we would do them, and got to work.
When developing the backend (the internal part of the product, hidden from users), we used PHP 8.2, Laravel 10, MariaDB 10.6. In my opinion, this was the optimal technical solution, because the set of these tools provides:
- quick start of work on the project,
- minimum cost of the product,
- high performance,
- security and fault tolerance.
We talked in detail about choosing a framework for eCommerce projects in the article Development on Laravel.
When the main functionality was developed, a UI/UX designer made prototypes of website pages and later our frontend developer created the interface. Special attention was paid to the mobile version. . By the way, the interface part was created using Vue3, Vue router, Laravel mix.
When the frontend part was almost developed, we focused on the functions of the administrator, who was supposed to manage products, applications, accrual of bonuses, and send notifications to users.
Then the QA engineer got involved. After testing, our team again went headlong into fixing inconveniences for a couple of weeks. Well, then, when all the bottlenecks were fixed, we launched an MVP (minimum viable product, the first “minimum viable version of the product”), which we are now constantly improving and updating.
Basic MVP functions of a company online store
Simtech Market got the following functionality:
- Registration and authorization (Google authorization uses corporate employee accounts).
- Access management (administrator, user).
- Administrator features:
- Inventory management (creating and deleting product pages, editing content),
- creating tasks for employees (for example, conducting an excursion for school children).
- User features:
- viewing and selecting goods/services from the catalogue,
- placing an order,
- editing the cart (removing unnecessary items, adding new ones),
- sending an application to complete a task, coordination and approval through an expert;
- payment for the order in coins or a local currency.
- Crediting coins to the employee’s balance in their personal account.
Ayrat, HR Director of Simtech Development:
ー I’ll add a couple of comments about the so-called “tasks”. Let’s say there is an IT conference next month, and our company plans to speak at it. We need a speaker and a topic. I or my colleagues from the HR department place a task in the online store: prepare a report and present Simtech Development solutions in the field of eCommerce development.
Employees will receive notifications by mail, and those interested submit an application. The task itself and the status “In progress” will be reflected in the user’s personal account. After the conference, the speaker will specify the expert (his or her supervisor or the initiator of the task), who confirms that the task has been completed. Once done, the status will change to “Completed”. The user’s balance will be replenished with coins, that can be safely spent or saved for future use.
Benefits of a company store
Benefits for employers
Corporate online stores have their advantages. Let’s figure out what they are.
1. Additional channel for the sale of goods and services
If your staff counters the same number as Walmart, about 250 thousand people, then this is equivalent to the population of an entire city, such as Richmond, Virginia or Salt Lake City, Utah (USA). Thanks to this huge audience, a business owner can earn additional profits and offset operating costs.
2. Quality control
In-house stores allow the company to closely monitor the quality of the goods and services offered. Employees will quickly convey to management information about defects or inconveniences of a merchandise.
3. Data analysis
Company online stores provide the company with access to data about employee preferences. They can be safely used to analyze purchasing behavior and thus improve marketing strategies.
4. Increasing employee motivation, improving their satisfaction
Purchasing company merchandise as an incentive is the proof of your contribution and value for the company. And this, in turn, affects the employee’s self-esteem and satisfaction. According to HR managers, such personnel are more motivated and productive at work.
5. Brand promotion
Company online stores are an effective tool for increasing brand visibility among external audiences. Exclusive merchandise is able to convey the uniqueness, values, and philosophy of the brand. And the employees and all those who wear it will become living advertisements.
Benefits of company stores for employees
1. Discounts and perks
Company stores offer special prices, discounts or preferential terms for the purchase of goods by company employees. This saves money and time for shopping.
2. Convenience and accessibility
Company stores have simple functionality and a simplified system for receiving orders. Most often, the product can be picked up directly at work, in the same office or branch.
3. Self-realization and meeting interesting people
In the process of completing tasks, employees can upgrade their skills (for example, public speaking or teaching students). A person can reveal his potential, and also form a circle of acquaintances, find like-minded people or friends. Build new professional connections and establish yourself as a more qualified specialist!
An online store for employees is an excellent tool for developing corporate culture and promoting a brand. It will help maintain unity within the company, create a fruitful atmosphere and strengthen the brand.
Online stores for employees suit you if:
- Your company has a network of branches with a large number of employees who need to be united and encouraged;
- You need a tool for motivating staff and improving interaction between specialists;
- There is a need to maintain a corporate identity and conduct consolidated purchases of branded products;
- You want to introduce the brand to a wide audience;
- You consider an opportunity of selling corporate souvenirs not only within the company, but also outside.
Many tech companies have their own corporate culture and traditions that can be reflected in a company store. Some companies often organize hackathons or innovation challenges where employees can collaborate and work on new ideas or projects. Why not use an online store to promote company values and encourage people to develop?
If you face similar challenges and are considering launching a company online store, contact us. Simtech Development developers will help you word out product requirements and create a store in accordance with the specifics of your business and real needs.