Here's How Businesses Use Swag to Make an Impression

Valentine's pins

Be honest: How many times have you (intentionally or otherwise) pocketed the pen at the restaurant after signing your check? The pens serve as small, inexpensive souvenirs from a memorable meal, and each time you use them, they make you think of that experience — and perhaps remind you to make a return visit.

The pen-swiping practice is not an act of petty theft, as a Bon Appétit story explained. Instead, it’s a method of marketing aimed at making a lasting impression on customers. (Well, until the ink runs out, at least.)

Of course, pens aren’t the only bit of swag that customers can take away as a fond memory/reminder to come back. When choosing effective giveaway items, a rule of thumb is that they should be useful, cute, or fun (and preferably all three).

So we polled our Seller Community to find out what kind of items they give away. Here are some of their ideas, and how you can tailor them to your business.

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Pins

The folks at Rifle Paper Co. are known for their distinct design style, and they share that with shoppers at their retail store in Winter Park, Florida, by giving away pins to anyone who visits. To keep things fresh, they switch up the size and style of the pins once in awhile.

Rifle Paper pins

Pins are a good option if your business has an easily recognizable logo, slogan, or style — not to mention a customer base that wants to wear them. If you check all these boxes, pins can be a great takeaway for shoppers, and a way to spark interest from other current and potential customers.

Loyalty cards

J.R.’s Fresh Cut Fries in York, Pennsylvania, goes the tried-and-true route with loyalty cards. Sure, they’re not swag in the traditional sense, but loyalty cards are simple, inexpensive giveaway items that are intended to spur repeat visits and, eventually, result in a reward item for customers. So, a win-win with low overhead.

JR Fresh Loyalty

Whether it’s a traditional punch/stamp card or something more sophisticated, like a digital program, loyalty cards can be applied to just about every kind of business, from coffee shops to clothing stores.

Magnets

A seller that deals in children’s items gives away magnets that look like the store’s business cards. The magnets are great for displaying children’s artwork — and a daily reminder to stop by again.

Magnets are also a natural fit for anything related to food and drinks. When customers open the fridge during a party and realize there’s no more wine or beer, they can get the number of the local beverage store off the handy magnet on the fridge and call to have more delivered. Make sure to add pertinent details, like delivery hours, phone number, and whether you accept online orders.

Of course, buying things to give away isn’t the only way to get your name out there and remind customers to come again. The Locavore Store in Hilo, Hawaii, sells shirts that it makes in the store. It also sells canvas totes, produced with canvas from a Singer warehouse in town, designed and sewed by a customer who is a seamstress.

Locavore TShirt

Other sellable items include travel coffee mugs and easy-to-stash reusable shopping bags. To make these items more appealing (and less like you are asking customers to pay to promote your business), try incentivizing continued use of the products. You might offer a discount when bringing in a logo mug for a refill or when carrying purchases home in the reusable shopping bag.

Do you give your customers swag or sell them items branded with your business’s name? Tell us about it in the Seller Community.

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