We all love getting something in the post (bills excluded). But sadly the days of personal letters tumbling through mailboxes are behind most of us. Fortunately though, for lovers of the tangible, package shipping isn’t.
Even if you ordered one, even if you expected one, even if you’d be on Twitter waging a war of words in one’s absence, the arrival of a parcel in the post is still a very special kind of reward.
To online retailers, this presents a unique opportunity. One that starts with good feelings and, if done right, ends with renewed brand loyalty. Put another way? If you’re not personalizing your customers’ shipments, you might not be connecting with them.
Did your mom always nag you to write your thank you notes? (Does she still?) It might have taken a few years to understand, but as we all know, a personal ‘thank you’ makes a real difference.
Business is no different. So why not try including a simple, handwritten note thanking your customer for their purchase? You’ll find it humbles and humanizes your brand in a way that can only mean good things.
The beauty of this approach is its ease and affordability; building a more authentic bond between you and your customer, regardless of the actual distance between you.
Short on inspiration? Check out this sweet and simple card that baby clothing delivery service Beanstalk Bundles includes with every order.
No-one knows your customers like you do. You know what they like and you know what they need. You even have the metrics to prove it. So why not give them a bit of what they want, even if they didn’t order it?
The US company Chegg rents textbooks to college students. Sounds boring, right? But their customers don’t just get Economics 101 and The Anthology of Medieval Verse in their deliveries. Instead, Chegg throws in fun extras like cans of Red Bull, detergent pods, gift cards and coupons – exactly the kinds of things a college student needs and appreciates. It’s a move that inspires Chegg customers to take to social media en masse.
You can buy this kind of direct publicity but it costs a lot. So why not just nurture it through a proper and considered understanding of your customers’ needs instead?
Including something extra with your delivery that hits the mark (and Instagram) is actually a lot easier than you might think. Play! by Sephora is a beauty product subscription where customers are mailed a handful of indulgent samples each month, along with a collectible bag. Each month’s bag is different, but comes with sassy, on-brand imagery and messaging like ‘Lipstix & Chill' or ‘Public Display of Complexion' that simply demand to be ‘grammed.
Asking directly can work too: Lisa Holmes sells handmade jewelry on Etsy as Collection47. Included in a recent delivery was a short handwritten note with a sincere message from Lisa.
Why not sweeten the deal with a discount referral code for them to share with friends? No, it’s not subtle, but in the social media age, it’s also not considered to be bad practice. Employed correctly, this is a great way to get your loyal customers following you on social media and delivers some valuable user-generated content.
When Nest first tried to change the way we use thermostats, they did so knowing full well that any kind of installation could be off-putting.
Anticipating any problems, they turned a practical solution into a gift; including a small screwdriver, simple instructions and color-coded stickers to keep track of your wires. Solving the problem before it even became one. A custom-made screwdriver might not be everyone’s idea of a bonus gift, but when you’re selling thermostats at US$250 apiece, it’s a remarkably savvy investment. Especially if it gets the product into apartments with zero fuss.
OK, so you might not be ready for the more advanced stuff just yet. The important thing is just to get started. Next time you pack a delivery, throw in your business card, wrap the item in branded tissue paper or seal your package with a simple ‘You deserve this’ sticker (like the purse maker Candied Cottons).
Finally – if you have samples, take the opportunity to introduce your customers to them, then ask for feedback through social media. It’s a great way to make sure your collateral is on point and telling your story. Not only does it build relationships, it’s also free marketing. And nothing tastes as good as free.