A Guide to Customer Appreciation Gifts (With 15 Gift Ideas)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 21, 2022

Published April 5, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Building relationships with current customers can help companies increase their revenue and referral rates. One way to ensure that customers are satisfied with their purchases is to offer customer appreciation gifts. Learning about the different types of customer appreciation gifts can help you choose the ideal rewards system for a customer service team.

In this article, we define customer appreciation gifts, explain why they’re valuable and share 15 examples of gifts you can give customers. 

What are customer appreciation gifts?

Customer appreciation gifts are free offers and products that a company might send to current customers.  Businesses in many industries use customer appreciation gifts to encourage current customers to stay with their company, buy additional products or refer family and friends. A company’s customer service team might work with the product development and marketing departments to design packaging and messaging for customer appreciation gifts.

Related: Guide to Customer Service

Why is it important to give customer appreciation gifts?

Businesses rely on customers to generate revenue and achieve growth. When a business gives customer appreciation gifts, it shows that staff members care about each individual customer. Here are some benefits of giving customer appreciation gifts: 

They can increase customer satisfaction 

When customers feel a business appreciates them, they're more likely to have a positive experience when making purchases. Receiving a thoughtful customer appreciation gift can encourage a customer to post a positive review of the company online. Increasing the number of positive reviews can help a company build a reputation for customer satisfaction, which can draw more visitors to the company’s website and stores. 

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Customer Satisfaction

They can make a company stand out from competitors

Giving thoughtful gifts and special offerings can help a business differentiate itself from its competitors. When customers have multiple options for a certain product or service, they might choose the company that offers a customer appreciation gift. For example, if a parent is choosing between three tutoring companies for test prep for their student, they might choose the business that offers a free college application guide with each tutoring package. 

They can build goodwill

Rewarding customers for their business can help a company develop a stronger relationship with them, which can help if the customer experiences issues with the product or service later. When a customer feels that a company values them, they may be more likely to work with the customer service team to resolve any issues they’re having. For example, a therapist might use a small printing company to print brochures and educational materials. If they receive loyalty gifts, they may be willing to continue using the company even if there’s an error in one of their print orders.

Related: 11 Ways To Deliver Great Customer Service

15 customer appreciation gift ideas

Customer appreciation comes in many forms, including both monetary and non-monetary gifts.  Here are 15 common types of customer appreciation gifts:

1. Thank-you notes

Personal letters show thoughtfulness and help customers feel appreciated, especially hand-written letters. A simple greeting card with a couple of sentences to thank customers for their business can build a relationship between the customer and the service team. . You might include a coupon or discount code in the note to encourage customers to buy additional products and services.

Related: How To Thank a Client for Their Business (With Thank-You Note Example)

2. Branded items

Branded items can show appreciation while reminding the customer of the company several times a day. You can give customer appreciation gifts like these to celebrate certain milestones. For example, an accounting firm might send branded mugs to the employees of a small business that recently renewed its accounting contract with the firm. When you choose the item to give to customers, consider items that they might use often, like mugs, notepads, pens or calendars, and add the company’s logo to each item. 

3. Referral rewards bonuses 

When customers refer a company to their friends and colleagues, they create more revenue for the company and expand the brand reach. Rewarding referrals can encourage customers to share the brand with more people. A customer referral program can include a variety of rewards, from cash incentives to gifts that customers value. For example, a gym might have a referral reward program that offers current customers a discount on their monthly membership fee for every new customer they refer. 

Related: How To Create a Customer Referral Program in 5 Steps

4. Customer loyalty programs

A customer loyalty program is another way businesses show appreciation. Many of these programs award customers points for making purchases or performing other actions, like referring friends or sharing social media posts. Once they have a certain number of points, they might use them to purchase branded merchandise or earn discounts on monthly fees. With a successful customer loyalty program, businesses retain more customers and can even boost customer referral rates.

Related: 10 Best Customer Loyalty Programs That Work (With Examples)

5. Access to exclusive offerings

Giving customers access to exclusive offerings, like limited edition products, seasonal items or special prices, can show appreciation and encourage them to make additional purchases. Many businesses give long-term customers early access to new products or services as a way to maintain customer loyalty. This practice can also allow companies to get customer feedback on new products and services before launching them to the general public. 

6. Charitable donations 

Some companies give to nonprofit organizations and support causes that are important to their customer base. They might allow customers to choose a donation amount and charity in their check-out process or promise to donate a certain percentage of their profits to a specific organization. Often, these organizations relate to the product or service that the company sells, allowing the company to increase brand recognition in the industry. For example, a toothbrush company might donate a dollar from every sale to an organization that promotes dental health in underserved communities. 

Related: Charity vs. Nonprofit: What's the Difference?

7. Discount specials

Customer appreciation gifts can also include special discounts that businesses don't regularly offer. Some companies reduce the price of certain items and services for repeat customers, incentivizing them to stay with the company. Businesses may also offer product or service bundles to retain newer customers over the long term. 

8. Free samples

Some companies send samples of new products to existing customers to reward their loyalty and give them a preview of products they might buy in the future. Marketing teams might choose which customers get certain products based on what the customer has bought in the past or the type of customer they are. For example, a company that makes salon haircare products might send samples of a new hairspray to salons that have ordered the company’s products in the past. The marketing team might include a flier with discount codes or coupons, so if the customer likes the sample, they can buy a full-sized version of the product when it launches.

9. Gifts for special occasions 

Many companies collect personal details about their clients, like birthdays and anniversary dates. This information allows the company’s marketing or customer service team to send the customer a special gift for the occasion. Often, the gift is a discount code or coupon, which shows the customer that the company cares about their personal milestones and also encourages them to buy more products and services. 

10. Holiday gift certificates or discounts 

Companies might send existing customers special discounts or coupons during key buying seasons, like holidays. The type of gift the company sends might depend on the season and on the products or services that the customer might like to buy during this time. For example, a tutoring company might send existing customers a discount code at the end of the school year to celebrate students’ achievements and let their parents buy discounted tutoring to prepare them for the next year. 

Related: 11 Sales Gift Ideas

11. Add-on items

Some companies offer customers smaller, less expensive items when the customer buys a certain product or spends a certain amount of money. These gifts don’t cost the company much money, and they can generate lots of goodwill for the customer. Often, the add-on item relates to the product the customer purchases. For example, a company that sells vacuum cleaners might offer a free dusting attachment to customers who buy a certain vacuum cleaner model. An add-on item is also an opportunity to test new product designs on a smaller customer base before launch.

Related: What Are Add-On Sales? Definition, Examples and Tips

12. Price matching

Many companies offer price matching to give customers the opportunity to buy the company’s product while benefiting from another business’s sales. They might accept coupons from competitors, ensuring that the customer spends money on their products and services.  Price matching is also effective for getting new customers to visit a business, where sales representatives can create a positive experience that encourages them to return. 

13. Rewards for feedback 

Companies might offer exclusive deals or discounts to customers who fill out surveys or review their products and services on third-party sites. Gaining lots of customer reviews can increase a company’s internet presence, so rewarding customers for posting reviews can be a profitable policy. It also shows that the company’s leadership team cares about the customer’s experience using a product or service, which can create customer loyalty.

Related: How To Get Feedback From Customers

14. Customer appreciation days

Many businesses and organizations host customer appreciation events, where customers can try products before purchasing, participate in fun activities and interact with business professionals. These events can attract new consumers and reward existing customers for their loyalty. Consider hosting an event for a customer appreciation day where customers can interact with the company’s employees, try out products and services and access exclusive discounts.

15. Customer tiers 

Multi-tiered customer programs are similar to rewards programs, but instead of simply using points, they assign statuses to customers based on prior purchases. For example, a custom print shop might award bronze status to customers who have purchased three print orders from the company and silver status to customers once they reach six orders. As customers advance in the program, they might get access to exclusive discounts and other perks. These programs can build customer loyalty and allow the customer service team to identify strong candidates for referrals quickly. 

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