How to start a gift wrapping service

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Providing gift wrapping is a smart way to set yourself apart from the competition. While it comes in especially handy at certain times of year, like the winter holidays, gift-giving takes place all year. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other events pop up all the time, and customers find themselves in need of a present. Shoppers often run into situations where they need to buy a present quickly, and they may not have the means to wrap it themselves. For instance, they may not have paper for the appropriate occasion.  Retailers can make their stores a go-to resource for gift shopping by providing wrapping services.

Free or extra charge?
It's important to consider, first of all, whether you will charge extra for the gift wrapping service. While such services used to be free, businesses are increasingly charging a premium. According to Consumer Reports, department and specialty stores charged prices ranging from $2 to $25 for holiday gift wrapping. Customers are unlikely to be surprised or deterred if you choose to charge for gift wrapping. On the other hand, adding it for free could enhance their perception of customer service.

What type of gift materials?
There are a number of different ways to package merchandise as a gift. You could utilize gift wrap, gift bags or boxes, depending on the type of item being packaged. There is a wide variety of cellophane, tissue paper, colorful bows and twists that can enhance the appearance of a gift and add immense value for the customer. Fabric gift bags can also be used and are especially nice for items like jewelry. Make sure you have enough materials on hand to wrap any item that has been purchased in your store.

Make gift baskets
During times of the year where more people are buying gifts, consider prepackaging some gift baskets that customers can use for a last-minute present. Small food items, like preserved meat, specialty sauces, cheeses and wine are a great choice for gift baskets and have mass appeal. Finish the baskets with a large, cheerful bow. Use visual merchandising techniques to draw attention to the display. 

Take the opportunity for branding
You can make an elegantly wrapped present and incorporate branding at the same time. If someone is walking around carrying this lovely gift, you may want those who see it to know where it came from. Consider adding a sticker or label after finishing off the wrapping to add a final branding element. A gift tag with your logo and business name on it would serve a similar function.

Use signage to advertise
Finally, it's important to make sure your customers know that you offer gift wrapping. If you don't promote the service, patrons will fail to take advantage of it. Incorporate signage that is clearly visible to those waiting in line to purchase their items. Let shoppers know you can package their items for special occasions.

Gift wrapping can be a valuable addition to a retailing strategy. It's an opportunity to provide great customer service and even a branding opportunity for your business.

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