Gifting is a powerful tool for strengthening relationships. Whether you’re rewarding a hard-working employee, celebrating a holiday, or acknowledging an important customer, a thoughtful gift tells them you value whatever it is they bring to the table. While there are some basic compliance rules like maintaining a low fair-market value, giving gifts to clients is fair game! And it’s proven effective — more than half of gift recipients do business with a company after receiving a corporate gift.

Building a corporate gifting strategy has countless benefits, but there is an etiquette to keep in mind when curating your next experience. Let’s start with the “why” and then dive into the “how” so that your client gifts leave a lasting impact.

Why Is Client Gifting Important?

Everybody likes receiving gifts (even if they say otherwise). There’s something special about unwrapping a surprise that was picked out just for you. And it’s not just the stuff inside the box that makes the gift so special — it’s the overall experience of knowing you’re valued. These experiences ultimately lead to a stronger sense of community and greater mutual respect.

Thoughtful gifts keep you at the top of clients’ minds while reinforcing loyalty and appreciation. And in today’s world of remote work, gifting allows you to foster camaraderie from anywhere. Read more about why corporate gifting is important.

Best Practices for Client Gifting

Like we mentioned, there is an etiquette to client gifting. It’s easy to follow in last year’s footsteps, but this is an ever-changing industry, and expectations are constantly evolving. Here are five best practices to follow for your next gifting experience.

1. Make It Personal

Personalized gifts show clients that you’ve taken the time to get to know them and create something unique. Personalization can come in the form of handwritten notes, logos, names, or even in the products themselves. If you send everyone the same gift, the personal touch is lost, and your client doesn’t feel any more connected to you than before.

There are plenty of ways to make it personal beyond engraving the recipients’ names or stamping their logo. Get to know your clients’ company values so that you can select truly impactful gifts. If their company advertises sustainability initiatives, your gifting experience should be eco-friendly and could take place around Earth Day or Arbor Day for a greater impression.

This same rationale goes for recognizing holidays like International Women’s Day, Black History Month, or Pride, depending on company values. You can also consider your clients’ working styles. Do they primarily work from home? If so, a work-from-home wellness kit might be a more thoughtful gift than office supplies or company merch.

2. Make It Practical

Of course, you’ll want to give clients something they’d actually want to use. Practical gifts are especially important if you’re giving branded merchandise, since these items are more likely to get tossed if they’re dated, undesirable, or poorly made. The last thing you want to do is get in the habit of giving sh*tty appreciation gifts.

Consider what would be useful to them. Do they work remotely? How often do they travel? Do you know them well enough to know if they drink alcohol? What about coffee or tea? Do you know if they golf? If they like the outdoors? These considerations will help you choose gifts that fit your clients’ lifestyles. 

If you’re unsure of what to send, give the gift of choice. An ecommerce platform where clients can choose their gift not only reinforces that meaningful connection, but also results in much less waste! For more inspiration, check out our gifting guide: [LINK TO BLOG]

3. Make It Timely

You have to plan ahead for whatever you can plan ahead for. A lot of holidays are on the same day every year. Anniversaries are definitely on the same day every year. If you know you plan to send an anniversary gift to a client, make sure it’s ready on time! (A belated anniversary gift is almost as bad as no anniversary gift. Nobody likes an afterthought.) Thoughtful gifts take time, so factor in lead times when you’re banking on a specific in-hand date. 

We understand you can’t always plan ahead. Suppose a client just won an award worthy of a congratulatory gift. Let’s get the ball rolling ASAP! Reach out to your brand experience partner to get started immediately so excitement is still high when they receive your gift. Timely commemorations show clients that you not only care, but you’re proactive in doing so.

4. Make It Strategic

In order to be prepared, you have to be strategic. When you’ve built out a proper corporate gifting strategy, anniversaries and holidays should already be factored into your annual plan. One-off gifts work for last-minute congratulations or celebrations, but a strategy helps you budget for, plan out, automate, and reconcile your gifting efforts. Explore more tips for building your corporate gifting strategy.

5. Make It Seamless

Coming up with brilliant gift ideas is one thing, but bringing them to life is another beast. Managing multiple vendors can quickly become frustrating. The product that’s perfect for your client may be out of stock, or lead times with the production vendor might get pushed back due to circumstances outside of your control. And what happens if your clients live in another country? Do you have global logistics expertise? 

Leaning on a one-stop-shop partner is the best way to eliminate potential headaches. You won’t need to juggle all those vendors, because everything takes place under one collaborative umbrella. Procurement, design, decoration, online stores, inventory management, global shipping and fulfillment, and even designated customer support are consolidated under Imprint Engine’s seamless platform. Plus, we’ve got boots on the ground all around the world so that no matter where your clients live, we’ve got a pulse on regional trends and cost efficiency. 

By following these best practices, you’re taking all the right steps towards a deeper connection with your clients. When done correctly, gifting is one of the most impactful ways to show someone you value them. Let’s make your client gifting effort a worthy investment. Start a conversation today.