Having the best product can only take a business so far, especially if you own a handmade business that is competing with larger companies. So how do you make your small business stand out? What can you do to go the extra mile to make your product stand out more than the next small business?
One of the best techniques I have used to keep my customers happy and returning for more is to include a “gift with purchase.” I never tell the customer I am putting it with their order; I let them be surprised when they receive their order. The gift does not need to be expensive or large; it should just be something to give a personal touch to the order. When ordering online from crafters, people often forget they are dealing with a person rather than a corporation. So, I want to make sure all my customers know that someone put care and thought into the product, instead of it being mass produced and packaged.
When deciding on what free gift to include with an order, I often select a new product that I have been wanting to create and list as an item in my shop. Doing this creates multiple benefits for me. First, I am expanding the product offering on my shop by creating a new item that I can add to my shop. Rather than let a test sample go to waste, now someone can enjoy it. Second, the free gifts I make usually costs me almost nothing to create. Yet, it may lead to future sales when I am able to list the item on my shop.
When I first got my Brother Entrepreneur Pro PR1050X 10-needle embroidery machine, so many more possibilities opened to me for my business. I could embroider so many more items that I couldn’t easily do before than with a single-needle. I was able to increase my output by using a multi-needle versus a single needle and was taking more orders (and therefore needed more gifts). Since I had so many ideas for new products to make, I could easily fulfill all the gifts I wanted to send out.
I have had countless customers return to purchase items from me because they were so happy to receive the gift in their order. I have also had customers who have loved the free item so much that they came back to order more of that item. One example of this stands out. A customer of mine ordered several pool towels for her daughter to use at college as she was on the collegiate swim team. During this same time, I wanted to add a hair towel as an item on my shop. So, I made a hair towel sample with the initials of my customer’s daughter and included it with the pool towel order. This bonus gift created a domino effect. The girls on the swim team saw the hair towel and wanted to order some. Ultimately, the swim team wound up ordering a hair towel for every girl. And, after wearing the hair towels at their swim meets, I even received orders from their opponents for the same item. All these orders came from a single gift that I had included with a customer’s order.
Recently, a bride ordered towels for each of her bridesmaids. Since it was her special day, we made one for the bride and included it with her order. This has paid for itself 100 times over. My shop originally offered a towel set just for the bridesmaids all in one color. Since adding the extra ‘bridal’ towel in a complementary color, my sales have sky rocketed. The ‘Bridal-Bachelorette Towel Set’ is one of our most popular items since adding it to our shop.
I always try to add a personal touch to every order I receive – whether it is a gift, or a hand written thank you note.
I want everyone to know that when they order from my store, they are supporting a mother and daughter duo who love working together. What many people can’t see is the joy that comes when we receive a notification that someone placed an order with us. We hope to share that joy with our customers. With all the competition out there, you have to make your business stand out more so than others and I believe the key to that is not only a good product but great customer service.
by: Courtney Faga