Gifting: it’s more than a holiday tradition. By now, you’ve likely sent and received gifts throughout the course of doing business.
Whether it’s for client appreciation, prospecting, or employee anniversaries, corporate gifting is a “thing” you need to get done. But what would you look for in a gift platform? Are you even ready for one? What questions should you ask a potential corporate gifting solution?
You’ll get answers to all these and more in this guide.
- The Value of Corporate Gifting
- Signs You’re Ready for a Gifting Platform
- What To Look For In a Gifting Solution
- When Corporate Gifting Doesn’t Work
- Questions to Ask Before You Buy
- Better Gifting Starts Here
The Value of Corporate Gifting
When people think of corporate gifting, they usually immediately think of sending swag, eager to book a meeting, but the use cases go far beyond that.
Sales, marketing, and customer service teams all leverage corporate gifting for prospecting, customer appreciation, and employee engagement. The end-game is to make recipients feel appreciated and valued. However, it takes more effort to find, send, and deliver the perfect gift regardless of the underlying initiative.
Corporate gift annual spending sits at $258 billion, climbing about 6% each year. It’s estimated to surpass $306 billion by 2024, according to Coresight Research. This figure is all-inclusive of gifting platforms, virtual gift cards, and physical gifts. Let’s dig deeper to find out why.
Benefits of a Corporate Gifting Platform
- Better recipient experience – No asking for invasive information, unexpected swag, or awkward moments. The recipient experience is paramount to fulfilling the objectives of your gifting strategy. The last thing you want is to apologize for having recipients pay duty fees on arrival.
- Leverage their swag partners – Unless you’re gifted at geometry, you won’t need to measure the aggregate volume of a curated gift set or locate the right-sized gift box. Corporate gifting platforms establish tight-knit relationships with the world’s top merchandise producers and shippers to get the job done so you can focus on your craft.
- Streamline your gifting campaigns – Connect your CRM or marketing automation software to your gifting tool. This way, you can trigger a thoughtful gift when their behavioral intent suggests it’s the ideal time to reach out.
- Do less work – Send high-quality gifts in seconds. No more verifying addresses, assembling gift boxes, logistics, or worrying if someone will get their gift. Gifting software companies handle a lot of the back-office work here.
- Ditch the swag closet – Gone are the days of sifting through outdated branded swag. Now, you can deliver it on-demand anytime you want. Less waste. Lower risk.
- Bring a preferred vendor into the platform – Love using a custom gift vendor? One that includes handwritten notes? Add them to your all-in-one gifting solution.
- Reporting, analytics, and privacy – Safeguard customer data and prove the value of your outreach and customer success campaigns. ROI is just a click away.
Gifting can be as simple or complex as your organization wants. Celebrate client milestones, surprise employees with a gift box, or send a personalized gift on account renewal. There’s no limit to what’s possible when you use a corporate gifting company.
The important thing is that it supports the business objectives you’re trying to achieve.
It’s safe to say that you should send at least a dozen gifts per month for it to be worthwhile. For many B2B companies, that’s likely. But a smaller firm or agency that wants to send a gift annually to their customer list might not need a full-featured gifting platform.
Gifting is sometimes viewed as optional, but I’ve talked to plenty of marketing and sales professionals, and it’s a must-have within their toolbox to acquire and retain more customers.
Now that we’ve outlined the general situations, let’s dig into the signs that you’re ready for a corporate gifting platform.
7 Problems Corporate Gifting Software Solves
1) You’re finding it challenging to get attention.
Let’s be honest: it’s extremely hard for sales and marketing teams when budgets get tight. Why should someone invest in a gifting or direct mail platform if they think it’s just a nice-to-have?
The number one thing I hear a lot is, “I want to break into accounts that aren’t paying attention to me.” When you’re in a digital-first world, everyone’s fighting for that same narrow mental real estate. If you can break through the noise by adding touchpoints into your process that are personal, relevant, and thoughtful, you’ll be able to get the foot in the door far more effectively than just trying to talk louder.
2) You want to be proactive with customer churn.
This will ruffle some feathers, but Net Revenue Retention (NRR) is more critical than Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR). Full stop. Whenever there’s a down market, everyone remembers that it costs a lot less to retain a current customer than it will be to grab additional market share or acquire new ones.
By using a corporate gifting platform in these situations, you can surprise and delight, making them feel like VIPs. That way, when their contract is close to renewal, they feel, “This organization really cares about my business.” Remember, customers don’t want to leave. All things being equal most people would rather stay precisely where they are.
Pro tip: You’ll generate sales pipeline and grow revenue predictably with an outbound marketing strategy over a slow-and-steady inbound effort.
3) You’re struggling to keep up with logistics.
Coming up with gift ideas, sourcing, warehousing, and so on can be a huge time drain. Simply keeping track of which swag is where and how much can be a full-time job. Likewise, if you’re losing sight of these things, it can be a revenue drain on the organization.
Unfortunately, in my experience, it’s usually tacked on top of someone else’s already full-time job. Logistics are undoubtedly necessary, but if it’s keeping someone from completing more strategic work, you could lose out on contributions from that role/group.
4) Getting negative feedback on unsolicited sends.
I hate to admit this, but I love to read the feedback some people get on cold emails. Sometimes the reaction is so over the top that one can’t help but laugh. But that’s just a bunch of pixels.
Manually, there reaches a point where you can’t send unique gifts or handwritten notes to everyone. Plus, there are other potential mishaps. For instance, if you’ve sent beef jerky in the mail to a customer and your recipient is vegan, you will have a bad time. So instead, opt for a gifting platform that provides personalized gifts or a familiar e-commerce experience where they can pick something they want or donate.When recipients exchange business gifts in Alyce, they can choose an alternative gift based on your criteria.
5) Using separate, disconnected sales/marketing systems.
The more time your teams spend switching between platforms, the less time they’re doing the strategic work that adds value to the organization. That might mean closing deals, engaging with employees, or just offering a bit of surprise and delight in someone’s day to stay top of mind.
A corporate gifting platform is right for you if you’ve been longing for a better way to connect your customer database to a gifting service (without technical APIs).
6) Tired of lugging a swag chest around to events.
I have lugged swag to events. In a word? It’s been nothing but a hassle. Between stuff getting lost, not showing up, or the tire kickers taking our event swag. But moments later, I spot them in the trash while throwing out my Dunkin’ iced. It’s just a lot of effort for little gain.
With a gifting platform and a laptop, you can hand out a card and let them browse through things they want. You’re also casually conversing with them while they redeem your digital swag. That way, your target audience gets to pick what they want and something they will actually use, which also has an eye toward sustainability since it’s not just going to end up in the trash next to my cold brew.
7) When gifting feels like a chore (even if it’s fun).
Manually sending out company swag wastes a lot of time and resources. What other projects or campaigns could get done in its place? Trying to curate a variety of high-quality gift options available for my sales teams or for events can get in the way of trying to do all the other things tied in with supporting those teams or initiatives. If gifting is last on the list of things you want to do, it’s time to switch gears and look into a corporate gifting platform.
It’s worth pointing out that a corporate gift solution like Alyce provides tailored gift recommendations anytime you ask. Reach out to your account manager, submit a support request, or peruse their gift ideas if you’re stuck on a campaign idea.
Using a Gift Platform vs. Gifting Manually (DIY)
For some companies, gifting is an ad hoc, an occasional activity that one or a few team members carry out. Manual gifting can be great for a startup, it can burn a lot of valuable resources (read: money) for a mid-level and enterprise business.[table id=12 /]
What To Look For In a Gifting Platform
Being able to deliver memorable gifting experiences at scale is the ultimate way to establish an emotional bond with anyone you’re trying to reach.
This results in higher engagement, more conversations, and strengthens business relationships.
At this point, you’re likely already using gifting in some capacity in-house. However, if you’re looking to deliver exceptional gifting experiences at scale, then it’s time to explore what gifting platforms could add to your team’s toolkit.
Then comes the hard part. There are plenty of corporate gifting companies that can help, but figuring out which is best for your goals is something only your team can do.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Don’t let gifting software sit idle. Find a tool your teams will use. Make sure there’s an advocate eager to implement it.
- Make sure the process easy to use. Any gifting platform should make things easier, not more cumbersome. Get a few stakeholders on a demo call so they can ask questions early on.
- Corporate gifting platforms should be additive. Make sure it complements your sales and marketing strategy rather than operating in a silo. Going rogue can be a pilot, but it’s not a long-term gifting strategy.
- Give your recipients a choice. Allow recipients to choose what they receive if they choose to get anything. Get creative with themed marketplaces and relevant charities.
Top gifting platform features
The good news is that the top gifting platforms (Alyce, Giftpack, and Sendoso) have similar features.
Here are the top 10 features you should prioritize in your quest for the best gifting software.
- Personalized Gift Invites: Add a personal touch with a note or video to the branded gift invitation.
- Gift Acceptance Choices: Allow people to accept, exchange, or donate a gift’s value to charity.
- Address Verification: Privacy-conscious address verification when redeeming gift items.
- Curated Marketplace: Access an intuitive and custom-curated gift marketplace.
- Tech Integrations: Sync your existing business apps so gifting campaigns are personal, relevant, and thoughtful.
- International Gifting: Tools and partnerships to deliver the right message and experience worldwide.
- AI & Human Gift Research: Tap into automated and human-led recipient research to deliver an eyebrow raising gift experience.
- Meeting Scheduler: Book more meetings as a part of the gift acceptance process.
- Campaign Insights: Get clear on the outcomes and ROI from gifting campaigns.
- Branded Swag: Send the finest merch to your strongest brand advocates without a swag closet.
Chat with a gifting expert!
When Gifting Doesn’t Work
⚠️ Gifting software is not for every company or industry.
Gifting campaigns require tact and more creativity than most marketing campaigns. Many variables are at play, such as gift selection, invite messaging, and the most effective follow-up workflow.
? Gifting is an investment. It requires a thoughtful approach to succeed. It’s less about the gifts themselves but more about the experience for recipients and the ease for users to manage gifting campaigns.
We suggest avoiding corporate gifting when it is:
- Used as employee compensation
- Influencing unnatural purchasing behavior
- Exclusively used for bulk lead generation (spam)
These uses tend to bring with them unwanted effects like fraud or the potential appearance of impropriety. In addition, the following sectors may find gifting troubling:
- Financial Advisors
- Real Estate
- Age-Restricted Retailers
- Medical Devices
Check your industry for restrictions placed on accepting or offering gifts. Remember that with Alyce, recipients always have the power of choice to accept, exchange, or donate the gift value to a non-profit. And yes, “no thanks” is an option as well.
Otherwise, you’re probably okay to use gifting as a part of your customer and employee appreciation campaigns. Check with your legal team if you’re unsure.
Alright, so what’s the good news here?
The advantage of using a gifting platform is that every interaction between senders and recipients is documented. This means if accounting needs to inspect or limit the gift expenses, there are plenty of controls to keep your team and company safe.
10 Questions To Ask BEFORE You Select a Gifting Platform
Not all gifting platforms are the same. Don’t be shocked when you run into a roadblock that you just “assumed” would be fine.
Get answers to these questions as a part of the consideration phase.
1) What is the gift recipient experience like?
The recipient experience is what sets corporate gifting platforms apart from each other. Ensure that you and your team have seen firsthand what a prospect, customer, or partner will see when they accept their gifts. Also, what if the recipient dislikes the gift – what are their options?
2) What hidden fees do gifting software companies charge?
Don’t be shocked by the hidden fees for holding gift inventory, unused deposits, handling fees, or additional margin on sent gifts. Be crystal clear about what fees are included with each sent corporate gift. For instance, there can be an additional fee for digital gift cards, curated gifts, and custom-branded swag boxes. It’s always better to ask than assume.
3) How much does it cost for additional users?
Gifting software companies sometimes assess monthly fees per user, no matter if it’s an admin or team member. As your team grows, you shouldn’t be penalized for letting them use your gifting tool of choice.
4) Do gift invites cost extra?
Throughout the gifting industry, invites are capped to push you into paying for a more expensive plan. We’ve seen this inhibit generous gifting and limits your team’s growth and outreach capabilities. Get it in writing that gift invites don’t cost extra, or be extra confident you won’t exceed your limit.
5) Does the gifting software markup the cost of gifts?
Depending on the gifting solution you pick, you also pay for extra added markup on business gifts. For instance, a $169 pair of AirPods could cost you 30% more ($219) when it hits your corporate gift deposit. If you budgeted for 100 AirPods, you might only have the budget for 77 of them. Now’s not the time to play chicken with procurement teams.
6) What kind of support is available?
Often an underappreciated benefit of a gifting service like Alyce is the support available to accounts, users, and even gift recipients. As one of the largest corporate gifting companies, we’ve seen many questions pop up that can’t be solved with an FAQ. Get an idea of the response times and satisfaction scores provided by customers.
7) Do gift recipients get technical support?
Ensure that your gifting provider is equipped to help recipients who moved, changed email addresses, or want to exchange their gift after making their selections. Support ensures they have a positive interaction when accepting a gift from your company. For instance, it’s typical for employee appreciation campaigns that they would use their personal email to accept an e-gift and might forget to check it for their gift card code.
8) What happens to your gift deposit if you cancel?
Did you know some gifting companies will hold your gift deposit if you switch to a competitor? It’s true – we’ve seen it. This can lock up your budget, and they could assess additional charges for transferring gifting inventory to another distributor. Be sure about what happens if you move on from a gifting software solution – how soon are funds returned?
9) Is the gifting platform sustainable (financially and environmentally)?
What good is a gift if someone tosses it in the trash? This isn’t a rhetorical question. If you send unsolicited gifts to people, a shocking amount will end up in a landfill. Digital swag offers recipients the choice to accept gifts they genuinely want. Also, your gifting provider can source environmentally responsible gifts – or you can bring on a custom gift vendor you like that does.
10) How does the gifting platform integrate with your sales and marketing tools?
A corporate gifting solution might need a deeper integration that works for your needs. Most B2B companies use Salesforce CRM; find out if they provide pre-built dashboards or native integrations, so sellers streamline sending gifts that are personal, relevant, and thoughtful. Browse their integrations to confirm functionality with your martech stack.
You could be in for an unwelcome surprise when you don’t have these answers. For instance, we’ve seen some gifting software companies withhold gift deposits when they choose not to renew. (It’s yours, not theirs!)
We’re confident Alyce is the best choice for mid-size and enterprise businesses. It provides better value, more transparency, and responds faster to customer needs than others.
But you don’t have to take our word for it …
Better Gifting Starts with Alyce
Alyce is the gifting service exclusively made for B2B teams. Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, HR, or any combination. I bet you’d like to see what its gifting platform looks like.
You will need to fill out a 16-field form and submit a copy of your driver’s license, fingerprint, and retina eye scan. Then cancel your meeting with sales because the time they picked for the demo conflicts with your parent-teacher conference, and sit on a 45-minute canned demo …
Does gifting get any better than this?!