What do rocket popsicles, space animals, and advertising campaigns all have in common? They’re all available in Major Tom’s new eCommerce store, The Tin Can (www.tincan.shop). The store offers the ability to buy web services online that provide instant-value alongside a Major Tom-inspired fashion line. Read the press release.

The Tin Can eCommerce store was the brainchild of Chris Breikss, Major Tom’s co-founder and lover of all things David Bowie. Originally, the eCommerce platform was born from Chris’ generous nature: he wanted a place where the team could redeem prizes won in interoffice contests and order merchandise or swag online. Using Hootsuite Amplify, Major Tom runs a reward-based social media sharing program. The more someone shares a piece of Major Tom content, the more times they’ll be entered in a draw to win prizes. Initially, The Tin Can was created to give our social media sharing program added incentive with a variety of prizes. 

Monitor showing the Tin Can website

The concept quickly snowballed into a platform larger than anticipated. We discovered we could use the store to test and experiment with Shopify plugins and integrations into various marketing technologies like the Google Merchant Center as well as Facebook and Instagram product feeds. So, evolving to showcase gifts and products that our clients or vendors may be interested in was a natural progression. The Tin Can’s launch saw new heights not originally imagined.

Adapt-or-die: Productizing our services

The launch of The Tin Can has, inadvertently, coincided with an unprecedented shift in the marketplace due to COVID-19. Now more than ever, marketing agencies need to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. For us, discovering incremental revenue streams while still fulfilling client needs called for creativity. Already exploring ways to innovate with eCommerce on The Tin Can, it didn’t take us long to consider productizing beyond merchandise. 

screenshot of The Tin Can's service webpage

Taking our complex services and productizing parts of them is a way we can offer valuable, easy-win purchases. By packaging individual service deliverables as a defined piece of work for a set price, we’ve found a way to serve organizations that need a lower price point and value a low barrier to entry. The instant-value of these offerings gives clients a fast turnaround time which, right now, may be necessary for some. Clients know exactly what they’re getting, how much it will cost, and what it will do for their business, providing clarity upfront. It also allows some clients to start smaller and test the agency relationship first before committing to a larger project. On the flip side, it allows Major Tom to collect payment and revenue faster and eliminate overhead with no sales proposals and contracts required to get started quickly.

Exploring the world of eCommerce, for us and our clients

Part of the values that form our company’s attitude and ethic is to “bring a curious mind” to every project and every day. One of the motivations behind creating The Tin Can is to support the growth of our team through professional development. The Tin Can is an opportunity for team members to develop expertise with not only launching an eCommerce store but understanding product design and supply chain logistics. Employees are to learn and experiment with Shopify, eCommerce, Amazon integration, Google Merchant Center and Shopping, gift cards and loyalty programs. Additionally, we can test new strategies and tactics for our clients through The Tin Can store.

Merchandise that doesn’t suck

Implementing a just-in-time (JIT) inventory management system helped us to create a sustainable eCommerce store for the physical merchandise line. We can keep costs low without having to stockpile inventory and can provide products on demand. Our platform is also fully integrated with Amazon FBA, giving us maximum flexibility as sellers. 

The merchandise available at The Tin Can practices brand cohesion with an overlying space theme for the clothing line. The name of the store is also a subtle nod to David Bowie’s Space Oddity song (it’s not the first time we’ve done this—if you know, you know). The clothing line features the 2020 Spring and Summer collections Sci-Fi Summer, Rocket Popsicle, and Space Animals. The attire is energetic and casual with bright, cosmic designs. You’ll find everything you need to get decked out, including t-shirts, shorts, flip flops, hats, backpacks, and awesome sock designs that will, ironically, rock your socks off.

The design concepts were created by a team at Major Tom who “wanted to make company merchandise that doesn’t suck.” The merchandise is branded but not plastered with our logo—our employees are proud to work for us but we understand that doesn’t mean they’d like to be walking Major Tom advertisements. Too often, company merchandise looks like uniforms with logos printed on standard polos and windbreakers, featuring little-to-no creativity. Involving creative team members helped us avoid that corporate pitfall, leaving us with company merch that people want to wear. 

The Tin Can is an evolving platform, as industry needs change, more services and products will be added to the site. Watch out for limited edition apparel, accessory collections, and updated service offerings. Major Tom is a full-service agency that’s been purpose-built to help organizations succeed in an increasingly complex landscape, including one of economic uncertainty. We’re here to help you adapt, evolve, and thrive.