A Few Things to Keep In Mind for Last-Minute Holiday Promo Orders
Hopefully, most of your holiday orders are already taken care of to beat the shipping crunch from the surge in online shopping. But we all know there's going to be rush orders from customers getting a late start. And, this year especially, these holiday and seasonal promotions will need to be effective, memorable and attention-grabbing for customers and end-users.
To get some ideas for making last-minute holiday promos a success, we enlisted the help of three supplier experts, who gave us the details on popular products and what distributors should know this year.
With the holiday season in full swing, it’s crucial to know what’s popular and, ultimately, what will make a seasonal promotion truly standout. Food gifts, for starters, are always a big seller around this time, which typically makes this season a busy one for Maple Ridge Farms, Mosinee, Wis.
“All of our gourmet goodies are best-sellers,” said Jodie Schillinger, executive vice president for the supplier. “Food gifts provide an experience of comfort and joy—it’s reassuring and uplifting to receive a #foodie gift from your employer or a company you do business with, especially with so many unknowns on the horizon. This year, our gourmet ice cream program and fabulous cinnamon walnut coffee cake have been particularly popular, and we’ve also added a wide variety of gifts packed with individually-wrapped treats that have been garnering a lot of attention.”
Schillinger said her company has introduced these individually wrapped treats in its towers and other gift baskets as a response to the pandemic, helping reassure customers concerned about hygiene.
“With the current pandemic, we felt there was a need to enhance the experience of gifting food,” said Schillinger. “Some have concern with sharing foods. I have a hard time sharing, though it’s mostly because I love everything in our line! Honestly, even at shows pre-COVID there were individuals who preferred not to eat out of a shared dish, even with a spoon. We listened and strategically developed a line of gifts that create a memorable gifting opportunity, leaving ease to relish thoughts of comfort and joy to all.”
Jenny Domin, national sales manager for Hospitality Mints, Boone, N.C., recognized that buyer budgets might not be nearly what they once were. That could make inexpensive options, like custom mints, even more appealing for holiday promo efforts. These have the same sanitary benefits Schillinger described. “Being wrapped and sealed keeps the consumable safe from disease and contamination,” said Domin. “[And the mints are] USA made.”
Domin said Hospitality Mints’ stock holiday wrappers are usually big sellers around this time, but the supplier has some new products on the way, too, specifically for the pandemic market. “We are going to be launching hand sanitizer packets, made in the USA, [with a] stock design and also available in custom [form] with a large run,” she said.
Rena Ashfeld, CAS, vice president of sales for Webb Company, Eagan, Minn., noted that holiday season requests are usually for corporate gift-giving, which can work at any budget. “We can kit items together—for example, drinkware packaged inside a full-color imprinted custom gift box to complete the look,” she said. “Coaster sets have been very popular, [as well as] candy-filled bento boxes—all kinds of great gifts [are] available.”
Have you ever walked into a Target or HomeGoods and noticed holiday and seasonal decorations for sale in, like, July? While plenty of people despise these early displays, there’s plenty more who love them. For holiday and seasonal promotion planning, the same principle applies: It’s never too early to start planning.
“Specifically, for holiday orders, start early,” said Schillinger. “They say ‘holidays in July’ for a reason! We are specialists in those last-minute orders, but find that more and more people are ordering early for holiday gifting to reduce their holiday stress.”
Everyone gets stressed out during the holidays. And this year that will all be on top of the already-added stresses of 2020. So it really does pay to start early, and to advise your customers to do the same. But if you're getting a late start, you can help solve customers’ last-minute stresses by knowing where to find products that can be ready on a short turnaround.
“There isn’t too much prep time as our product is run and made to order,” said Domin. “We mainly work with our distributors to offer special promotions in Q4.”
Schillinger shared a few other reminders, including letting customers know that holiday and seasonal promotions can be shipped directly to employees and clients. With everyone working remotely, this is helpful.
Ashfeld, meanwhile, had some evergreen advice. “Stay visible—let promo work for you,” she said. “Take advantage of self-promo offers and send [them] to your client base.”