Thursday, January 26, 2012

SWAG= Sealed With A Gift: Should You Include Free Samples With Your Online Craft Sales?

Thanking Your Customers Is Important
So, you have made a sale of your handmade crafts online, congratulations! Of course, you want to continue to make sales, and that means striving for stellar customer service. The question of whether to include SWAG, or free gifts, with an order is one that your will have to carefully consider to determine the best choice for your business.

The term SWAG comes from the acronym SWAK, short for sealed with a kiss, and SWAG is very trendy these days, with entire websites devoted to free stuff and free samples and how to get them. Knowing that, please take into consideration that your online craft business will likely encounter request from people for samples or donations. Some may want a product to review for a blog; some may be charitable donations looking for a door prize. Make sure to check that these requests are legitimate. Visit the blogs and research the organizations, then decide if the donation is worth it to you in terms of potential exposure. Don't be afraid to say no and look out for scammers.

A Free Gift With Order (SWAG)
Now, for your regular customers, you want to go the extra mile to please, and that may involve including SWAG; however, keep in mind the following points:

-Make sure you are not losing money by sending expensive samples or gifts.

-Many people dislike waste and throwing things in the trash. Try to make sure your gifts are related to the customer's purchase and to what you sell.

-Don't overdo it with frilly or over-the-top packaging; your customers are likely to be eco-conscious.

-Think about what you can include that will entice the customer to return to you for future handmade purchases. That might mean a sample of your latest scent or a coupon for other goods you sell.

-Always include a written thank-you, if you have the time.

-Try not to use candy or edibles Many people have allergies or diseases, like diabetes.
Soap Samples of Newest Scents

-Make sure your gift cannot be construed as offensive to any group.
There is a soap forum I am part of, and a woman received a button with her order that said, "Got Homophobia?". Even though this is a condemnation of those that discriminate against gays, not everyone appreciates this type of sarcasm. Additionally, the button was not related to the items sold by the crafter online. While I personally find the message amusing, not all of my customers would, so I always try to keep politics out of my business. This would apply to religion as well. You don't personally know your customers, so be friendly, without assuming anything about an individual's world views.

-If you are including a consumable, such as soap, lotion, candy, or perfume, please include the ingredients and the name of your shop. You want people with allergies to know what is in the item and to be able to find you online if they enjoy the sample.

Earrings as a Free Gift
-Be wary of including scented products if you do not sell them. Again, people with allergies might dislike this. In my shop, in my message after the customer checks out, I inform them to please tell me if they would prefer not to get scented samples or if they do not want a free gift.

-Don't assume your customers are all female. Yes, women shop online frequently, but so do men. Things like jewelry as SWAG might not appeal to both genders. Take a look at the customer's name and what they bought to match that with an appropriate gift or sample.

When in doubt, or if lacking any appropriate ideas, you can always include a coupon code for a discount and a sincere thank-you note! Don't feel pressured to include elaborate gifts or SWAG if you can't afford it, or don't want to. Your best way to satisfy the customer is to deliver the merchandise in good condition, in a speedy fashion.

Finally, keep in mind that even though you try your best, you will never be able to satisfy every customer in every way. For each person that thinks a free gift is a monument to waste, there will be another person who thinks you should have made it bigger, or included more. The most important mission is to make your customer know you are thankful for the business, with or without the SWAG.

Please visit this link on the TEAMBORO Facebook page to see the layout of the THANK YOU tags featured in this article. I designed them and am happy to share if you would like to copy it and make some for yourself. They are printed on 80 lb cardstock, available at any office supply store. There is also a tutorial in the archives of this blog on how to make gift tags:!/photo.php?fbid=226483307437311&set=a.130833410335635.34563.109313592487617&type=1&theater

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