A shopping mall employee gift-wraps a perfume in Frankfurt November 28, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele (GERMANY - Tags: SOCIETY)

A shopping mall employee gift-wraps a perfume in Frankfurt November 28, 2009. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele (GERMANY - Tags: SOCIETY) (Reuters)

5 Tips to Smarter Business Client Gifts

By Small Business AllBusiness.com

Are you a last-minute shopper for holiday gifts? When it comes to buying gifts for your clients, don’t wait too long (especially if you have to ship them)! Giving a thoughtful gift to your clients is a great way to show your appreciation of them, as well as put a smile on their faces. Here are five tips to help you out:

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1. Take Advantage of Free Shipping Day

This year, Free Shipping Day is December 18. That’s the last possible day you can order something and have it shipped to arrive by Christmas. You also benefit by saving on those costly shipping fees — if you’re sending gifts to dozens of clients, that adds up!

There are online retailers who participate in Free Shipping Day listed on the site. But don’t just look there: other retailers offer free shipping throughout the holiday season (sometimes requiring a minimum purchase), so build your shopping strategy around these sites.

2. Consider Your Recipient

cookies as business client giftsIf you know your clients well, you probably can shop for them smartly. But, for example, do you know whether a client drinks or is on a special diet? These are things to take into consideration before sending alcohol or holiday treats.

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If you’re not sure, stick to something safe. Gift cards, candles, coffee gift cards … these are gifts least likely to cause an issue, and are generally well received.

3. Don’t Overlook Religious Beliefs

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Your clients may celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing at all, so keep that in mind when sending gifts or cards. A general “holiday” greeting is usually middle-of-the-road enough to keep from offending anyone, though if someone can’t accept gifts for religious reasons, respect that.

4. Keep It Simple

If you only have a handful of clients you want to buy gifts for, you can take the time to customize each purchase. But if you have more clients (or less time), keep your stress down by purchasing the same gifts for everyone. There are myriad gift basket and goodie sites online where you can make bulk purchases of a single gift item (sometimes saving money by doing so). Just enter the shipping address for each, and you’re done!

5. Keep an Eye Out for Discounts

Retailers are running rampant with special offers and coupon codes this time of year, so check sites like RetailMeNot to see who you can save with. Also, another trick: put an item you want to buy in your shopping cart and wait a few hours. You might just get an email encouraging you to complete that purchase … along with a discount code to do so.

Shopping for clients — even last minute — doesn’t have to be stressful this year. Just put some thought into your strategy, set a budget, and be smart about your purchases.

Nellie Akalp is a serial entrepreneur and small business expert. She currently serves as the CEO of CorpNet.com, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs start a business, incorporate, form an LLC, and offers free business compliance tools. 

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