A Business's Guide to Corporate Gifting

What to look for in a gifting vendor if you're not sure where to start.

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By Ron Mancini

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Google "corporate gifts" and millions of results come up. There are numerous vendors and countless items to gift. So how do you know what you should be getting out of a relationship with a gifting company? The answer may not be easy or straightforward, but the information is crucial if you want your corporate gift experience to be successful. Here are 12 tips that might make your selection process easier:

Related: Do's and Don'ts for Client Gifts Over the Holidays

1. Volume discounts.

Simply, the more you buy, the larger of a discount you receive -- courtesy of the gifting company. If you're going to be spending a lot of money, you want to know they value you as a client by offering volume discounts.

2. No promotional inserts.

When your client or associate opens a gift from you, pamphlets advertising the gifting company's products should not be one of the items they see. The gift you are giving is not about the gifting company, it is about thanking the people with whom you have a business relationship. A simple sticker with their company name on it is enough promotion for a corporate gift.

3. Timed arrival dates.

Make sure your item arrives when it's supposed to. If it's a perishable food item, it should arrive when people are around, not on a weekend or when the office has already closed for the holidays.

4. Personal service to you, the customer.

You should be able to speak with someone at the business you're gifting from, whether it be the owner or a representative. Depending on the size of the company, they should get to know you over time and tailor the experience to you. You are gifting from them for a reason, and the service you receive should make you proud to have your business contacts receive a gift from them.

5. Customer service to the recipient.

The vendor should have a good track record of customer service. A quick search on the web for reviews will usually reveal if there are customer service issues. You want your recipients to be treated as well as you treat them in the event that they call your gift provider with an issue.

6. Personal note cards.

If the gifting company is mailing your gifts for you and you are unable to include a handwritten note, the gifting company should offer to take care of the note for you. It can be easy for corporate gifts to come off as gimmicky and impersonal, but a personal note shows thought and consideration.

Related: Giving Gifts Internationally: How to Wow Your Global Partners Every Time

7. Gift list management.

For your convenience, having a place to store and manage your gifting list is going to save you time when gifting from the same vendor year after year. Additionally, if their management system is protected, privacy is ensured. Another thing to consider is the sophistication of the database, such as the ability to segment your list, validate addresses, purge duplicates and allow for last minute additions.

8. Contract pricing.

Contract pricing ensures that the price you're quoted is the price you pay. No hidden fees that are tacked on at the end so you end up paying more. This protects you and your wallet in the long run.

9. Samples.

If you're sending a food item, you should be tasting it yourself before sending it to your corporate contacts. The gift should be reflective of how much you value the relationship. And if the food item isn't of the highest quality possible (it arrives stale, broken, presentation is bad, taste is bad) that ends up reflecting poorly on your company.

10. Company history.

When sending a food item, specifically, it's important to know more about the company than what they sell. Doing research ahead of making any purchase orders can save you a headache down the road. Find out how long they've been in business, if they're insured, their history, if they have had any food issues and what their processes are to ensure the items arrive in perfect condition, especially if the gifts are perishable.

11. Tracking and reporting.

The company should track delivery of the items you ordered from them and offer transparent reporting back to you so you know your clients received their gift. If they do not track the items themselves, they should supply you with the tracking information.

12. Guarantee.

And finally, find out if the vendor will guarantee the gifts you bought from them. Is there a refund process for missed deliveries, spoiled goods or damaged product? No matter how good a company is, mistakes can happen and how a company corrects them is important to know before it happens.

Related: 18 Unique Holiday Gifts for Everyone on Your List

All 12 of these tips are not likely to be offered by every gifting vendor you look at. But having your must-haves in mind and making sure the vendor checks off more of these boxes than not is a good start to picking the best gifting vendor for you and your company.

Ron Mancini

Co-Owner of Mother Myrick's Confectionery

Ron Mancini is the co-owner of Mother Myrick's Confectionery, a Manchester, Vermont-based bakery and confectionery. He has been in charge of corporate gifting for the company for more than 30 years and has served several hundred companies.

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