Free gifts and leaflets: Ideas to make your parcel contents stand out

 
Everyone likes receiving a package through the mail. It could be an exciting new gadget that you ordered from China two months ago and assumed would never arrive, or a gift you weren't expecting in the first place.
 
That said, buying something online is a pretty regular occurrence for most Brits - it's said the average internet shopper orders more than 20 items per year. So how do you make sure your brown box stands out from all the others arriving at your customers' doorsteps?
 

The key lies in the opening experience - you have to make it memorable for the recipient, and for the right reasons. Below, you'll find a few ideas of what to include in your next box.

 

The item itself

OK, let's get this one out of the way first as, despite the actual product seeming like the most obvious thing to include, some companies have left customers disappointed by sending them empty boxes. This is a bad move for a various reasons.
 
First and foremost, you've left one of your paying customers unhappy and frustrated at the lack of goods they've received. You've also wasted everyone's time, and your own materials, in having to send a replacement once you've been informed.
 
The biggest problem, though, will be the negative press you're likely to receive. Look at the page linked above and you'll see it has been shared on social media more than 300 times, meaning the friends and followers of more than 300 people are now aware of Flipkart's gaffe. It's a sure-fire way to dent your own reputation.

 

Packaging materials

It's just as important that your item arrives in perfect, working condition, so be sure to include the appropriate protective materials in your box. Bubble-wrap and packing peanuts are the best options because they're as light as they are soft. You could also use old fabrics or bits of sponge, if those are the kinds of things you have lying around!

 

A simple 'thank you' note

OK, with the two essentials covered, we can start looking at what you can do to lift yourself above the competition.
One of the simplest ways to improve your recipient's experience is to include a little handwritten note saying something along the lines of 'Thank you for your business!' It doesn't actually have to relate to the transaction - you could try writing "Have a nice day", or even including a family-friendly joke. Independent record shop Banquet includes hand-written notes recommending a new album, based on the one a customer has just purchased - similar to Amazon's 'other customers purchased' feature, but executed with thought and consideration, not algorithms. If you can make the customer smile, you're likely to stay in their mind for a little while afterwards.

 

Return instructions

Your products are probably great, but it'd be wrong to assume they're always going to be what the buyer expects. A piece of clothing may not fit, for example, or a computer part might not be suitable for the customer's machine. You should have information on your business's returns policy on hand to include with every delivery.
 
This sheet should at least give the buyer step-by-step instructions on how to send a product back to you, and what options they have in the way of refunds and exchanges. If you want to go a step further, though, include a pre-paid shipping label too - it'll make things easy for the buyer, and they should be more likely to order a replacement with you instead of looking elsewhere. It might cost a little extra, but that added convenience can go a long way in the search for repeat custom.

 

Vouchers and flyers

Talking of business loyalty, your deliveries should be seen as a great opportunity when it comes to encouraging second purchases. If you have a promotion coming up, and it's relevant to the buyer, why not promote it? A flyer will let them know what to expect, so long as it includes all of the right info - think dates, websites and deals. Just be sure to target your recipients using the information you have. If someone has ordered a PS4 game, for example, they're not likely to be interested in the big Xbox One 'mega-sale' you're running next month.
 
Once again, you can take things a step further by including some kind of discount voucher with the item. This works particularly well if the product is something consumable; the voucher can be used against the next order of the same thing. It's a great way to encourage loyalty; the recipient feels they've been rewarded for their choice of business, and you get the extra custom - everyone wins.

 

The cherry (-flavoured sweets) on top

Covered everything above? Go all out and include a free gift as well. It doesn't have to be anything massive, just a little extra thought to make the recipient realise how much you value them and their business. Bike retailer Wiggle is a great example here - its customers usually receive small packets of sweets with their orders. It might cost you an extra 5p for each transaction, but you'll soon make the money back when the buyer comes back to you for their next order.
In all of this, it's important to remember that a little can go a long way. Aim to make your customers smile and they should return the favour with their repeat custom.

 

Also see related content...

Sending parcels to the UK

Sending parcels internationally 

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