If there’s one thing on everyone’s mind this year, it’s the supply chain.
Shipping delays and uncertainty about delivery times are making the holiday season more stressful than usual. Consumers are advised to shop early to ensure they cross off their Christmas gift lists. Businesses, meanwhile, have been stocking up on inventory in advance, but shortages are already felt across the board.
For marketers planning to send end-of-year gifts to leads and customers, it is probably too late to send physical gifts out on time. But there are still things you can do to create a meaningful engagement with customers. If you’re regretting waiting till the last minute and worried about supply chain issues, here are four practical workarounds for your holiday business gifts:
Consider post-holiday timing
Holiday season is a ‘noisy’ time for gifting. Your clients are receiving gifts from many other businesses and partners, and it can get a bit overwhelming. All this is happening at a time when people are out of the office anyway, on vacation and focused on celebrating with family. All in all, it might not be the best time to stand out with your gift.
Especially this year, when the shipping network is hyper-stressed, why not consider sending out a gift in January, during the post-holiday season, when everything has calmed down a little? Not only will you avoid getting lost in the system (literally!), you can also differentiate your brand. For example, a “holiday recovery” gift could include healthy herbal teas and a New Year’s resolution notepad. This is a great option to consider if your gifting plan for December has screeched to a halt because of supply chain problems.
When you can’t rely on the physical supply chain, it is such a relief to have the option for digital gifting. The possibilities are endless, including vouchers or discounts at online stores, access to virtual experiences, content or courses. Digital gift campaigns are not just convenient; they place a tremendous amount of marketing power in your hands. Partner with a gift provider that supports monitoring and tracking, so you can optimize the campaign as you go, and get insights about what engages your customers.
If you don’t want to give up on sending physical gifts, consider a digital first campaign, followed by a gift delivery after the holidays when pressure on shipping companies lets up a little. This way, you can engage customers during peak season with a digital gift that you know will arrive on time, and still give them the enjoyment of a physical gift afterwards.
Beware of overpromises
Christmas comes but once a year, and every business wants to please customers with a special gift that really stands out. But it’s important to stick to reality – as the old saying goes, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably isn’t.
Especially this year, when systems are in overload and you can’t be sure about delivery times, beware of gifting companies that are biting off more than they can chew, promising that your Christmas gifts will definitely arrive on time – and make sure to steer clear of them! Given the reality on the ground, this is likely an overpromise, and will only lead to problems down the road. Set realistic expectations for your end-of-year gifting plan, and then find a gifting provider partner who can meet them. You (and your customers) are much less likely to be disappointed.
Christmas holiday gifts are the perfect opportunity to kick off the new year better with customers. How? By being thoughtful in your gift, and creating an authentic and engaging gifting experience.
This means thinking beyond generic gift cards, branded mugs and standard swag printed with your company logo. Take some time to consider your customers. What would be a meaningful and exciting gift in their eyes? You don’t need to spend a lot of extra money or give the most original or unique gift in the world. Rather, it’s about thinking creatively, and choosing wisely. Gifts that are useful or have extra meaning will be more appreciated. For example, how about a beautiful plant that can be enjoyed for a long time, rather than chocolates that will be eaten within days?
The thought is not the only thing that counts, but it can be the difference between a mediocre gift and a memorable one.
Supply chain got you down?
Don’t let shipping issues cloud your holiday season gifting strategy. The suggestions above can help you create a successful gifting plan even if you need to improvise at the last minute. Above all, make sure to engage with a gifting partner like Outgage, who has the built-in expertise and ready made gifting flows that can get your holiday gifts out to customers in time, no matter what’s happening in the supply chain. Now that’s a reason to celebrate!