How to Build an Employee Swag Store with WooCommerce

Objective: WooCommerce swag store

Early in the year we launched a WooCommerce product called StoreBuilder. It's an easy and fast way to get a WooCommerce store started. At launch I wanted to build an employee swag store with WooCommerce that would let everyone who worked on the product get a free (and special) t-shirt.

My requirements were pretty simple.

  • Build an employee swag store with WooCommerce – I didn't want to create a store on another platform. After all, we were launching a WooCommerce product.
  • Eliminate any “membership” or “integration” requirements – I didn't want to integrate it with any corporate systems to validate who was or wasn't an employee. I didn't want to build a membership site either. I just wanted something simple.
  • Allow employees to pick their size and add their shipping info – I did want every employee to get their own shipment and make it easy for them to pick their sizes without having to send me that personal info.
  • Make sure they didn't have to pay for anything – Lastly, I didn't want them to have to pay for a thing. Just go thru a quick checkout and get their shirt. That's it.

Ingredients: What you'll need

The list of tools or solutions you'll need are actually pretty small.

  1. WooCommerce Hosting – I suggest Nexcess; it's better than everyone else.
  2. An account with Printful – They make the whole thing really easy.
  3. The Printful extensionThis plugin helps you connect Printful with Woo.
  4. Artwork – You'll need whatever artwork you plan to put onto the shirt.

That's it. Not much more to it – which is really nice.

Instructions: Steps to take

Time needed: 30 minutes

This step-by-step tutorial will show you, in about 30 minutes, how to build an employee swag store with WooCommerce.

  1. Get a WooCommerce Hosting Account

    You'll get an email from whoever you decided to host with. From there, you'll want to make sure you get WooCommerce installed. And be sure to get an SSL cert. This sounds like three steps, but if you do it with Nexcess, it's one.

    Time Needed: 5 minutes

  2. Now Create your Printful Account

    Creating an account is free and really easy to do. It takes less than 2 minutes and you'll be ready for the next step.

    Time Needed: 2 minutes

  3. Connect your Printful Account with your WooCommerce Store

    When you read the Printful instructions, you'll see they break it out into 6 steps. These steps include making sure you have the latest WooCommerce plugin installed and making sure your permalinks are correct. It's clearly articulated on their site and easy to follow.

    Time Needed: 5 minutes

  4. Now, in Printful, Design Your Shirt

    Assuming you have your artwork, this is also pretty fast. You'll pick your product category (t-shirt, sweatshirt, etc.) and then more specifically the actual product (Heavyweight T-shirt by Gildan).

    Once you select the product, you'll get to decide what colors you want to offer it in as well as which sizes you want to offer.

    Lastly, you can upload your artwork and place it on the product.

    Time Needed: 10 minutes

  5. Finish your Product (by defining prices)

    You're almost ready to step into WooCommerce but you have to finish up your product by picking the mockup images, and finalizing your pricing. Since this will be a WooCommerce swag store, you're likely not trying to make profit.

    Time Needed: 3 minutes

  6. Sync with WooCommerce

    Here's the great news! Even for a single product (like a t-shirt), you have to create WooCommerce product variations that equal the number of colors and sizes available. 3 colors and 5 sizes means 15 variations. But with that plugin that connects Printful with WooCommerce, all of that is taken care of for you. As a result, you'll get all the product variations automatically present in your WooCommerce store. But they'll still have a price.

    Time Needed: 0 minutes

  7. Create a Coupon for Employees

    This is how I use WooCommerce to build a swag store without any memberships or integration. I just leave the price there. And if I want, I can make the price really high (back in step 5). This way, really only employees get it for free – and that's because I create a coupon for them.

    You can also make it so the coupon is only good for a specific product, and for a limited time. This helps limit non-employees from grabbing this product when they shouldn't.

    Time Needed: 5 minutes

It's easy to build an employee swag store

When I wrote the email to employees, all I needed to do was include the url to the product page, their coupon code, and invite them to order a shirt. The coupon took 100% off the product price and included free shipping.

It was a fast project and the employees who ordered shirts loved the experience. Hope it helps you too!