How To Offer Gift Wrapping To Your Customers & Boost Your Online Store This Holiday Season
Finding the perfect gift is hard enough. The thought of wrapping it can be enough to throw even the most satisfied gift-giver over the edge.
Your online store can help with the first part of the equation, by giving customers great products at great prices. And if you can find a way to help with the second part, by adding a gift-wrap option to your checkout, you can not only ease your customers’ gift-giving experience but also increase their satisfaction and cement their loyalty to your brand.
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The Benefits Of Offering Gift Wrapping To Your Customers
No matter the occasion — a holiday, birthday, anniversary, birth, graduation, housewarming, or just because — nothing makes a gift more special than beautiful gift wrap. The problem is, not everyone has the time, energy, interest, or ability to perfectly prepare packages.
Although many retailers offer holiday gift-wrapping services, the truth is that your customers are shopping for gifts year-round. And especially during times (like during a global pandemic) when it’s hard to deliver gifts in person, many customers will appreciate having the option to purchase, wrap, and deliver gifts with one click of the mouse.
Remember: The easier you make it for customers, the more likely they are to return to buy from you again. So why not test out offering gift-wrapping services, and see how it can affect your bottom line?
11 Gift Wrapping Tips For Your Online Store
If you’re ready to offer a gift-wrapping service as an option in your online store, remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. Read through the list below, pick something to try, see how customers respond, and then add another element once you’ve gained confidence in your abilities and seen how customers respond. Before you know it, you’ll be a gift wrapping pro!
1. Make Sure You’re Up For The Job
It should go without saying that if you offer gift wrapping services to customers, the packages you send out need to look top-notch. You want the wrapping to increase your products’ perceived value, and a sloppy wrap won’t do the job.
Maybe you’re a wrapping wiz, and you already know what you’re doing. But if not, don’t despair. Head over to your favorite video-sharing site and search for some wrapping tutorials. Practice a time or two to hone your technique before wrapping orders start to roll in.
2. Show Your Stuff
Don’t just tell customers you’re offering a gift-wrapping service. Show them! Add a photo of a beautifully wrapped sample package to each product page or at checkout — wherever the gift wrapping option appears. If there’s anything special about the wrapping materials you use or the things you add to the package, say so.
3. Offer Multiple Gift Wrap Options
You can increase the appeal of offering gift-wrapping services by giving customers a limited number of choices for how they’d like their gift to look. Maybe you can offer a choice of wrapping paper, or a couple of different types of ribbon. After all, the option to customize can make it feel more personal.
Don’t make it too complicated, though, because having too many choices can quickly become a negative for shoppers. And you don’t want to make gift-wrapping a headache on your end, either.
4. Give A Gift Message Option
Allow customers to enter a simple message to the gift’s recipient. It’s okay to keep the message short; you can limit the character count so you don’t end up with book-length messages. Just make sure that the recipients will be able to tell who sent them the gift, and why.
You may be able to simplify the process by suggesting a few options, like “Happy Birthday!” and so on, and prompting customers to enter only the “to” and “from” information.
5. Take It Easy On Yourself
Who is going to be the chief present-wrapper? If you are going to do it yourself or at least keep the wrapping in-house, make sure you’re set up to succeed. That means creating a wrapping station that is well stocked with everything you’ll need to wrap quickly, neatly, and efficiently, so this extra step doesn’t become too much of a distraction from everything else you’re doing to keep your business up and running.
At a minimum, you’ll need a large, flat surface that’s kept clear of clutter. Keep two kinds of tape nearby (clear cellophane and double-sided), ribbons, a good pair of scissors, boxes, notecards, tissue paper — everything you’ll need to get packages prepared quickly and ready to mail. As you ramp up and begin to offer wrapping services year-round, you may find it wise to invest in spools to hold wrapping paper rolls and a paper cutter to make the job neater and faster.
6. Pre-Wrap Popular Products
Every business has its busy seasons. Maybe yours is around graduation, or Mothers’ Day, another major holiday, or a certain month or season where your orders peak. Whenever it happens, that’s definitely not the time when you want to spend too much time wrapping gifts for customers.
So play it smart. Think about the way you know your customers tend to order, including what and when. If you know that your sales of a certain product tend to double around a certain holiday, go ahead and wrap up a few of those items now, before you get slammed with business. If you allow customers to make choices about wrapping paper and ribbons, you might need to hold off on the final steps. But you can at least place items in the gift box with tissue paper now, for example. When the orders start to rush in, you’ll be glad you planned ahead.
7. Keep Expenses Low
When you’re just starting, you may not need a lot of supplies. But once you see how your customers respond to the option of gift wrapping, you may be able to keep costs lower by buying supplies in bulk. The worst thing you can do is continue to buy individual ribbons and rolls of wrapping paper at your local store.
Eventually, as you do more and more wrapping, you’ll probably want to sign up for an account with a wholesale service like PaperMart, Nashville Wraps, or WrapSmart. That will allow you to buy larger rolls of paper and bulk up on other supplies at discount prices.
8. Customize Gift Wrap To The Occasion
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting small and testing the waters by offering limited numbers of choices for wrapping paper and finishing touches. As you become more comfortable with fulfilling your customers’ gift wrapping expectations, think about expanding your offerings and changing them by season.
Let’s say you sell a toy for infants. People may want to give that toy as a gift to the parents during a baby shower, when a baby is born, for a holiday like Hanukah, or for a birthday. Offering a generic baby print and a holiday print may be enough to cover your bases without overly complicating things. After the holiday passes, simply replace the holiday print with another fairly generic pattern to maintain the number of choices.
9. Consider Outsourcing
If your online store is hosted by a service like 3DCart, Shopify, Etsy, BigCommerce, or others, you may be able to partner with that host to make gift wrap easier to manage. With 3DCart, for example, you can download a free module that, when activated, automatically adds gift wrap options to your store. And it’s not a one-size-fits-all module. You’ll be able to customize the options you offer to your customers. For example, you can offer gift wrapping only during certain times of the year, adjust the price you charge for gift wrap, and omit the gift wrap option from certain products that might be a little too tricky to wrap.
If you use a shopping cart solution like Shopify or Amazon that offers fulfillment services, you may be able to outsource your gift wrap services as well. Shopify Fulfillment, for example, allows you to provide custom packaging for your products. You’ll probably have fewer options to offer customers, but it may be worth it to hand off wrapping duties.
10. Adjust Your Returns Policies
Any time you’re mailing out gifts for your customers, you run the risk of encountering product returns. That’s complicated by the fact that orders may be placed well in advance of when the product will be opened. A holiday gift, for example, could be sitting under the tree for at least a couple of weeks, and if it’s damaged or the wrong size, you should allow a couple more weeks for the recipient to return it to you.
If you haven’t already written up a return policy for your online store, there’s no time like the present! Add in some information about returning gifts, too. After all, when gift-giving enters the equation, you’re really working with two customers, not just the one who placed the order. That means you have two chances to get it right, make a good impression, and earn repeat business.
11. Add A Soft Marketing Touch
You don’t want your gift wrap service to be all about you. But could you add something inside the box that lets the recipient know where the present came from? A simple message saying “We hope you enjoy your new ____ ,” followed by your business name and contact information or instructions for returning or exchanging the gift, can be seen as an additional service — and not an intrusion — if it’s done right.
How Much Should You Charge For Gift Wrapping?
While complimentary gift wrapping is sure to please your customers, it may deliver a hit to your bottom line. Is the cost of wrapping worth the potential increase in sales and customer satisfaction? Or should you charge a reasonable fee when customers add a gift-wrapping service to their order? You may need some time to figure out the best approach. Think it through, start small, analyze the results, and adjust as you go forward. Here are some considerations and suggestions as you decide how much to charge for gift wrapping:
Know Your Costs
Anytime you add a service, you have to consider the cost. Do the math. How much will you spend on wrapping paper and other supplies per package? If your products vary greatly in size, it’s okay to use an average.
Don’t forget to calculate the costs associated with the person who will be doing the wrapping. How much time will that person need to wrap a typical package? You may be surprised at how much time you’ll be investing in gift-wrapping. Knowing the true costs upfront can help you decide if you should pass all or part of those costs on to your customers.
Consider Outside Costs
If you choose to outsource gift-wrapping duties to a fulfillment center, you’ll be able to see exactly how much each package costs to wrap. Maybe you can split the difference with customers, and adjust your prices slightly upward to cover at least half the cost. Or you may decide that the convenience is worth the price you’ll pay to outsource the wrapping.
Use Gift Wrap As An Incentive
If you want to offer complimentary gift wrapping to customers, one way to contain the costs is by setting a price threshold for the service. Suppose your most popular product costs $20. Offering free wrapping to customers who spend $25 provides an incentive for customers to shop a little longer. The extra $5 or more that they spend on your site may be enough to offset the cost of gift-wrapping — and may even result in a little extra profit in your pocket. Or maybe you can offer complimentary gift wrapping to customers who join a loyalty program, if you offer one, or agree to sign up for your mailing list. The point is, even if you don’t charge for gift wrapping, you don’t have to give it away for free.
Mix It Up
One way to keep costs down while still satisfying customers is by offering different levels of service. In this case, that might mean a free gift wrap service and a deluxe option that customers can pay for, if they choose. Keep the free option fairly basic, and charge enough for the deluxe option to cover your costs.
Extend The Giving
If you decide gift wrapping charges are a must for your small business, you can make customers feel good about paying for it. Just promise to donate a portion of the wrapping charges to charity — and post the total you’ve donated so far. Choose a reputable nationwide charitable organization that almost everyone can feel good about supporting, and you’ve developed a win-win for your customers and your small business.
Start Offering Gift Wrapping Services
You’ve already got great products and customers who want to buy from you. Adding gift wrapping services puts a great big bow on your offerings. Start small by offering gift wrapping for a trial period or around a certain holiday. You may be surprised by how your customers respond. At the very least, you’ll gain the data you need to decide if it’s worth offering year-round.