Here at Vixi Gifting we absolutely love what we do, especially corporate Christmas gifting. Along the way we have been able to fine tune corporate gifting, so it is a process which is hassle free and enjoyable. Each project comes with its own set of challenges, whether that be sourcing really obscure products, or making sure the whole shipping process works like clockwork to all parts of the globe.
Have you been given the task of sending great gifts this Christmas to 10, 200, or even thousands of people? Here are our top tips to help you get started with confidence.
Figure out your corporate Christmas gifting budget
This is the first thing you really need to nail down, otherwise you are heading down a rabbit hole my friend. And it can end up being a very expensive one. As soon as you know what amount of money is going into each gift, you can start looking at the right price points for your project.
It is important to keep in mind the costs that are sometimes overlooked. E.g. Shipping charges for inventory being delivered to you. Or protective and outer packaging supplies, and disposal of all the excess packaging and cardboard boxes.
Choose a theme / central message for your corporate Christmas gifting
You have your budget sorted and now you really need to look at the theme and reasoning behind each gift.
Who exactly is the recipient and what message are you trying to communicate with this gift? Are you sending gifts to hundreds of your employees to thank them for their hard work throughout the year? A gender neutral gift may be the way to go here to make it as inclusive as possible. This will in turn influence your choice of products, copywriting, and overall colour scheme / aesthetic.
Maybe it’s a very personal gift to a select few special clients? Elevated and thoughtful gifts are key here. We would recommend to ditch the generic branded swag. Opt for something more sophisticated and memorable that they are sure to actually use. This way, they will be reminded of you/your company every time they do.
Whatever the occasion, the central theme and message will influence every aspect of the gift. The last thing you want is a lot of random things thrown together with no thought to whether or not the recipient will actually enjoy the gift. You need to put yourself into the mindset of the person receiving the gift and how it will be used.
Make a list of your recipients and begin gathering their addresses
Once you know what the intention of your gifts are, write a list of all your recipients. Once you have a finalised and approved list, begin collecting their addresses. The method used to collect the addresses will depend on your own companies practices and procedures. Don’t forget to collect dietary requirements and other preferences of your recipients as well to cater for their needs. Perhaps that might be allergies, vegan options or non-alcoholic.
Sourcing and curating for your corporate Christmas gifting project
What values are important to you, your company or the recipient of your gift? Are you conscious of the products being Irish? Are they from small businesses that are focused on sustainability? Or maybe you want to support brands that are female-founded? Figure out what is important for your corporate Christmas gifting project. This can help with the curation of the product or products within your gift.
While we personally love to source unique and high quality products from smaller, more artisan businesses where possible, it is worth noting that you can usually expect to pay slightly more for their products than you would from a larger company that has the capabilities to mass produce their products. Depending on the project and requirements, you may have to decide what is the best use of your budget. From our own experience – quality is better than quantity!
Also be aware that with the smaller vendors you may have to give them more notice if you are ordering in bulk as they may have longer lead times, especially if you have a large volume of gifts you are fulfilling. If possible, touch base with them as early as possible to figure out from the get-go if it is feasible for them to turnaround their product within your timeframe.
Location is another important aspect to consider before you start sourcing the items for your corporate Christmas gifting. Different countries have different limitations on what you are allowed to send. For example, liquids and perishables are generally a big no-no when shipping outside of Ireland. Keep this in mind when curating your gift and selecting products.
On a side note, Brexit is still playing havoc at the moment. Keep this in mind if you are sourcing any of your products from the UK, as you will incur custom charges that can be quite substantial.
Ordering your products
When placing orders with your vendors for your corporate Christmas gifting, always order more than you need. Trust us, you will be glad to have a few extra as a safety net incase any of the items arrive faulty or damaged.
Another reason for ordering extra inventory is to have a few extra gifts on standby. Perhaps one of your gifts gets lost during shipping, or your gifting list gets longer at the last minute. If either of these scenarios play out you have the capability to send another gift asap. This is especially important if you are ordering custom or branded items that have long lead times or high MOQs. It could leave you in quite a pickle if you need to order more at the last minute.
If you are looking to order branded products or packaging, give yourself enough time to do this. Different vendors will have their own lead times for customisation services. Coming up to Christmas these times can be longer.
Regardless of the timeframe your vendor gives you for their lead times, if possible, try to give yourself a little extra time to allow for your inventory to arrive. Giving your own timeline a little breathing room to allow for things that may go wrong or be delayed will help avoid the fulfilment stage of the process turning into a panicked frenzy to get everything packaged and perfectly presented in an unrealistic timeframe.
Trust us, it’s always when you’re strapped for time that the tape dispenser starts acting up. So give yourself a buffer to avoid being under pressure to meet your shipping deadline.
Make sure it is clear who the gift is from
While it may sound obvious, sometimes you can get so wrapped up in the details of your corporate Christmas gifting that you forget to actually include something to let the recipient know who your gift is from. If you are hand delivering the gifts this usually isn’t an issue. However, if you are shipping out the gift to your recipient you may need to give them context of who has sent the gift.
For a personal touch, including a notecard with a message is a simple but effective way to explain the intention of the gift. If you didn’t want to go down the message route, including your branding in some way within the gift can give it context and let them know the organisation the gift is from.
Remember that when it comes to branding, less is more. You don’t need to plaster your logo on every single item to communicate your brand message.
Quality check ASAP
Once your inventory arrives, do not just leave the products in their boxes until you are ready to package them. We know how easy it can be to push them aside and let them pile up until you’re ready to start assembling your gifts. However, you need to open them up, count and quality check each individual item as soon as possible.
Errors happen, and if you find that any of the inventory you have received is damaged, incorrect or just not exactly what you ordered, you need to allow yourself enough time to get these issues resolved. This is particularly important when it comes to any branded or custom items that have longer lead times.
Have a plan for all the recycling
Once your products arrive, you will be inundated with cardboard from all the outer packaging. It is important to have a plan in place for where you will store all the unwanted packaging. Also, ensure you factor the expense of disposal into your budget.
Storing your inventory and setting up a packing station for your corporate Christmas gifting
Regardless of how long you need to store your gifts before they are sent out, you need to make sure to store your products as per the manufacturers instructions. We know it sounds obvious, but it only takes one case of chocolates to be left beside a heater for a little too long to send you into a state of panic! You have enough to juggle without worrying about your inventory being ruined before you’ve even begun.
Before you start assembling, organising your packing station will speed things up. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to how you should organise your packing station. It took us a while before we got everything just right so that the entire process flows effortlessly. Simple things such as designating certain areas of your space for different stages of the process will help you keep on top of everything.
If you are creating a gift box or hamper style gift, figure out exactly how you will arrange the elements in the gift before starting the assembly. Therefore, you have a visual plan in place that you can apply to every single gift to ensure they are all uniform.
Assembling your gifts
When it comes to gift assembly, start by wearing gloves for obvious hygiene reasons, and also so that no oils from your skin can mark the products.
There are two main things to remember when assembling your gifts. Firstly, you want to make sure that visually it looks the best it possibly can for the person receiving. First impressions and wow factor are important for the impact your gift will have, so really take your time with arranging and placing the products.
Secondly, you need to ensure the products are secure. If you are sending a gift box, make sure the products are nestled well within the filler you have used and they are not liable to move around. This gift has a long journey ahead of it, and the courier companies are too busy to love your gift as much as you do!
Whether you are using mailer boxes or luxury gift boxes, both of these can be branded directly onto the box. Or for a more affordable option you can use a sticker, ribbon with gift tag, or a sleeve.
Prepare your outer packaging for a bumpy ride
Are you are using an outer box for delivery? Make sure to order double-walled cardboard as these are thicker and will protect your parcel better. Try to order the outer box as close to the size as your inner gift box. This way you do not have to use so much filler to make sure your gift box is secure and not moving around too much.
If you do not want to use traditional bubble wrap, there is an alternative paper cushioning you can use. Voidfill paper wrap can also be scrunched up and placed into any spaces.
If your gifts aren’t too fragile and you didn’t want to go to the added expense of an outer box, you can always use mailer bags. Not only are they more cost effective than a box, they also take up less space. These are more time effective too as they don’t require any assembly. If you buy your mailer bags large enough, you can afford to put some protective padding around the gift before you put it into the mailer.
Which ever method you choose as your outer packaging, we would advise putting ‘Fragile’ and ‘This way up’ stickers onto it. Where possible, make a conscious effort to reuse your leftover paper and boxes from the inventory you received. This will also save you money.
Getting courier ready
Now that the gifts are finally assembled, they are ready to be shipped to their new home. This can be one of the most time-consuming parts of the gifting process. It is especially time-consuming if you have a lot of parcels going to individual addresses.
When you are collecting the addresses of your recipients, be sure to gather all the required information for your courier to deliver the parcels. This includes eircodes and contact numbers for delivery.
Depending on the courier you are working with and the needs of your project, they may have processes in place for creating labels in bulk. This can save you the time of inputting every address one by one.
Be sure to have your courier booked well in advance of the busy holiday period. If left to the last minute they may not have the capacity to deliver all your gifts before Christmas. Most couriers have set delivery times to different parts of the world, but allow extra time for your gifts to arrive. Delays happen, especially over the busy Christmas period. So, if possible, allow a few extra days for delivery of your gifts.
That brings us to our last point, custom declarations. If you are sending goods outside of the EU, you will have to submit all the required information for customs. This includes providing the TARIC codes for each element of your gift. These are also known as Harmonisation codes or a Commodity code.
Don’t forget to track your parcels
Great news, the hard work is done! However, you still need to keep track of the parcels to ensure they are all delivered. This again can be time consuming. Depending on which courier service you use, they may provide tracking codes so you can easily monitor their status.
Stuck for time & resources? Outsource your corporate Christmas gifting to an expert
If after reading this you may think you have bitten off more than you can chew, remember that we would love to help you out here at Vixi Gifting with any of your corporate gifting projects.
We can handle the complete process for you, from gifting ideas through to fulfilment. Or perhaps you have already decided what products you are using? We also offer a fulfilment service. You can have everything sent to us and we will take over from there. So you can sit back and enjoy the festive cheer.
We hope you have found these pointers helpful to get you started with your corporate gifting this Christmas – whether it be for your staff and employees, clients, or customers.
Good luck and Happy Christmas Gifting everyone!