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How to Surprise and Delight your Customers on a Budget

How to Surprise and Delight your Customers on a Budget

If you’re already sending delivery updates, follow up emails, and connecting with your customers on social media, it’s time to think about those extra things you can do to make your customer experience that little bit more memorable. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s great that you’re connecting with your customers. But chances are, your competitors are doing the same thing.

So what can you do to set yourself apart? Well, once you’ve got your customers through the checkout, you have a number of opportunities to make your brand really stick in their minds and it doesn’t have to break the bank. 

Here are my top tips for surprising and delighting your customers on a shoestring budget:

Treat your orders like presents

There’s a popular saying that ‘online shopping is like the present you send yourself’, so why not make your customers really feel like they’re unwrapping a gift?

Not only is this a really pleasant experience for the customers, but it can also encourage lots of user-generated content, which is marketing gold. If you do a quick search on YouTube for ‘unboxing’ you’ll see thousands of videos dedicated to customers showing off the packaging their purchases have come in. 

The first place to start is to choose something that’s relevant to your brand and incorporate it into your packaging. A great example is the iconic Tiffany & Co. ‘little blue box’. You might choose a cardboard box in your brands colours, or maybe wrap your packages in string and coloured tissue paper. Check out the wide variety of cost effective packaging items on Pack Queen for some ideas.

What’s a present without a card?

A package insert is the online store equivalent of a shop assistant saying thanks for shopping with us, have a lovely day! But with a package insert, you have the opportunity to say a bit more. Take for instance, online vinyl retailer, Discrepancy Records. Their package inserts greet the recipient with the pun-tastic quip, “For the record, we think you’re awesome!” The flipside is an eloquent paragraph detailing their commitment to customer satisfaction. They also invite the customer to share their purchases on social media. You certainly couldn’t squeeze all that into a conversation at the checkout. Enquire with your local printing supplier about a bulk order of postcard-sized prints. If you order enough, they can work out to be as little as 10c each.

For something that will really blow your customers away though, try handwritten notes. This serves as a tangible reminder that there’s a real person at the end of the order. It might take a few extra seconds, but think about how warm and fuzzy you feel when you receive a handwritten note. If you really don’t have the time though, consider a pre-printed package insert with a section that says “Your order was packed by ___” and have the packer sign their name.

The magic of freebies

Customers much prefer getting something for free with their order than getting their order cheaper. In fact, the majority of customers believe that getting something for free not only decreases the cost of an order, but increases the benefits of what they’ve purchased.


This doesn’t mean you have to give stock away though. Contact your suppliers to ask if they have any samples you can give away. It’s low effort for you, plus it’s great way for them to encourage new customers, with samples boosting sales by up to 2000% in some cases.

Alternatively, you could consider making your own freebies. There’s lots of promotional companies who can create branded items quite cheaply. Just be sure to pick something relevant. For example, if you run a stationary business, maybe a branded notepad or pen. If you’re a supplement supplier, perhaps a branded protein shaker. Not only is it free advertising among your customers’ peers, but if it’s an item they’ll use regularly, your store will be top-of-mind come repurchase time!

Give a discount on their next order


Did you know that 80% of your future profits will come from 20% of your existing customer base? With that it mind, it makes sense to give discounts to returning customers. It’s a great way to encourage brand loyalty and let the customer know you appreciate their business.

Take for example, Edible Blooms. After placing an order, each customer is sent an email asking for feedback. This email also gives them a code for $5 off their next order. Customers are much more more likely to purchase from brands that they have a coupon for, so if that same customer has a friends birthday coming up, or needs to send a ‘thank-you’ gift, chances are, they’ll jump straight back onto Edible Blooms!

Incentivised feedback surveys

Surveys aren’t just a great way to help you improve your service offering. They also show your customers that you’re committed to giving them the best experience possible. Even if they don’t have time to take the survey themselves, customers love seeing their favourite brands doing their bit to improve.

Go one step further and thank your customers for helping you help them with a small discount code, or a freebie with their next order. You’ll be guaranteed a better response, and some customers will use their coupon straight away!

Fund a charity or community cause

One of the most genuine ways you can delight your customers is to show them that you care about giving back. Supporting a cause that aligns with your customers’ values is a really powerful ways to do this.

A company who’s done this really well, is Flora & Fauna, a vegan, cruelty-free beauty brand. Recently, they joined forces with animal sanctuary, ‘Where Pigs Fly’. Their decision to raise funds for the sanctuary with a range of merchandise was extremely well received within their community. This charity is particularly relevant to Flora & Fauna given their mascot is Julie’s rescue pig, Rosie. You can even see Rosie at the bottom of their site!


You don’t have to go to that same extent, but think about donating a portion of proceeds, or perhaps offering services to a cause relevant to your business. If you’re not sure who to support, ask your customers!

One last tip…

Surprising and delighting your customers should be one of the most fun things you’ll get to do in your business. So don’t take it too seriously! Just think about what would really ‘wow’ you if  were on the receiving end. If you focus on what makes you happy, there’s a very good chance that it’ll make your customers happy too.

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