Would a Sherbet Dip Dab exceed your expectations?

A couple of weeks ago I asked for suggestions from you with regard to topics for my blog posts here – and thank you so much to those who responded with their suggestions. I’ve now got a nice little bank of subjects that I will be covering in the near future. So, I’m going to start this week with one such subject, which came from subscriber Melanie who sent me this email:

“I’ve noticed that sellers try to surprise their buyers by including a free gift of a packet of sweets in with their parcel, or perhaps include a handwritten note, or even post their orders out using first class post when they have stated second class in their listings – presumably all to try to exceed their buyers expectations and thus gain fantastic feedback. Do you think this is worth copying?”

Well, the answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’

I’ve used the free gift and note in the parcel strategy for some time and I’m pretty convinced it does work when it comes to extracting feedback from buyers!

But let me tell you a little story as an example. As you know I have recently been the unfortunate victim of some ‘lost luggage’ (which incidentally still hasn’t been located) and just this week I ordered an item from an eBay seller to replace one of my missing items. Some of the reasons I ordered this item from eBay were because it was significantly cheaper than buying from the High Street and dispatch and delivery times were also reasonable.

So I was extremely impressed when after ordering I received an email from the seller less than 12 hours later telling me that she was currently offering a free gift with the product which then basically made the item into a ‘set’ and what colour would I like so that she could dispatch my order that day.

This was surprise number one! I hadn’t noticed anything about a free gift on the listing so I was delighted. Having replied to the seller with my colour preference I didn’t think any more about it.

The following day my order arrived – so it had been dispatched by 1st class post even though the listing stated ‘standard’  – that was surprise number two!

I unwrapped my parcel, which I forgot to say earlier, had arrived in a pretty pink mailing bag – nice touch! And inside were my beautifully wrapped items including my free gift, in pink tissue paper along with a note from the seller thanking me for my purchase – that was surprise number three!

So impressed was I that I lost no time in logging on to eBay and giving extremely complimentary 5 star feedback to the seller – even before I’d inspected my items properly – or tried them on! Now you might be thinking there is a ‘But’ coming with this story? Well there isn’t. The items were perfect and with very little extra effort the seller had secured herself a 5 star rating across the board and a lovely positive feedback comment.

And all because she had exceeded my expectations.

Now, I must point out that some ‘surprises’ which you can use to exceed buyers expectations are easier and more cost effective than others if you would like to try this. So, some of your options are:

  • Add sweets as a surprise gift
  • Add another product (free) that complements the original order
  • Add a handwritten note
  • Use pretty/classy packaging materials
  • Dispatch faster than you state
  • Use a quicker delivery service than you state

Let’s work from the top.

1. Source sweets to add to your parcels.

I’m not talking about chucking in a packet of Chewits or a Sherbet Dip Dab though. I’m thinking more along the lines of a tiny bag of chocolate sweets – like those old fashioned chocolate buttons with the sprinkles on top – presented in a small clear gift bag and tied with a ribbon. Or a mini bag of fudge or toffee – you get the idea!

You might think this is a lot of effort to go to not to mention the extra expenditure (you can source sweets, bags and ribbon in bulk to keep costs down though) – and if that’s the case then test it first and see what a difference it makes to your feedback to put your mind at ease.

Buyers like surprises (good ones!) and quite frankly this is a great way of putting a smile on their face before they’ve even looked at their goods!

2. Add a small, inexpensive gift to each of your orders.

You should try and think of things that complement the original order. So for example, if you sell handbags, add a free mini coin purse in with the order (these can literally cost pennies sourced from China).  If you sell torches and you already offer batteries as part of the order, send an extra spare set free of charge. If you sell cosmetics, add a free lip brush to the order. If you sell fishing tackle, add some free fishing hooks – just be sure to make it complementary to the original product, and your buyer will be delighted!

3. Now, handwritten notes…

This doesn’t cost anything – however it’s time-consuming and to be honest I wouldn’t expect a handwritten note from any seller who is sending out more than 10 orders a day. The note from my seller earlier this week wasn’t handwritten – but never-the-less it did the job because she had bothered to thank me for my purchase and had taken the time to add the note to the parcel rather than shoving my item into the mailing bag on it’s own.

All you need to do is construct a generic thank you note, print it out in advance and add one to every parcel you dispatch. Don’t forget to add the name of your website or eBay shop to the note so that buyers know where to go when they want to purchase from you again!

4. Use classy packaging materials.

This is a cheap and very simple way to exceed buyers expectations. It’s much nicer to receive an exciting attractive parcel than to receive a dull brown parcel, although I have to say that we girls are probably more excitable about things like this than men! Never the less, coloured packaging only costs a little more than plain and it’s worth a go.

Finally those last two little tricks.

5/6. Dispatch faster and use a quicker delivery service.

The first one I am in total agreement with. Dispatch as fast as you can! Buyers are impatient and want their orders to arrive yesterday so if you can, dispatch same day or next day. The quicker an order arrives with it’s recipient, the more likely they are to give you great feedback.

But using a quicker delivery service than you state in your listing isn’t always a good option. Firstly if you state second class (but actually dispatch first class) you may put off potential buyers who really want first class dispatch but think you dispatch second class! If that makes sense! Secondly it will cost you more to dispatch first class so you must remember to build this in to your profit calculations otherwise you could find yourself out of pocket. So, by all means try this strategy and see how it works for you, but in my opinion the other ideas I’ve detailed above are safer!

I would be really interested to hear from you if you put this into practice – particularly the free sweets option as I’ve not tried this myself yet – but please let me know if you see a rise in the number of buyers actually leaving feedback for you.