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The Rise of Retail: Why Premium Gifting Is on the Rise

Digital-first marketing tactics like blogging and paid ads might be all the rage right now, but nothing wins hearts quite like promotional gifts. Whether you’re throwing a product launch party or hosting a conference, the right brand swag makes all the difference. We have nothing against digital marketing, of course, but in an era defined by screens and robots, nothing can replace the value of connecting in real life. 

Of course, trends come and go in promo. Right now, we’re seeing a significant shift in the types of products consumers clamor for. Instead of going for white-label mugs, mocktail kits, and mousepads, more consumers are looking for brand-name retail goods. Think Columbia jackets, Converse shoes, and Stanley tumblers—retail gifts that consumers would happily buy for themselves. 

RTIC coolers and Herschel backpacks might sound pricier than bulk white-label sunglasses, but this trend is sure to cut through the noise and get people talking. And isn’t that the point of promo, anyway? 

In this guide, we’ll explain what counts as a premium gift and share a few reasons why more brands (and consumers) are gravitating to higher-end gifts. 


What Counts as a Premium Gift, Anyway?

When you think of promotional items, pens, notepads, and keychains probably come to mind. These items are useful, but they’re pretty standard and (dare we say?) expected. Today’s audiences are looking for something more refined and exclusive, which is where premium gifting comes in. 

Premium gifts are top-quality, high-end goods from retail brands. For example, most promo manufacturers allow you to white label the product, which means it doesn’t have the manufacturer’s name anywhere on the item and, instead, features your logo prominently. 

There’s nothing wrong with that! We love a good branded piece. But consumers are making their voices heard, and they want promo pieces they can use again and again without becoming human billboards. You can still add your logo to premium gifts, but in an understated way that doesn’t overwhelm the quality of the retail item.

They aren’t your everyday giveaways, so don’t sweat it—you aren’t ordering 2,000 Hermès bags. Most brands use premium gifts as part of a tiered promo gifting strategy. Maybe you reserve these items for decision-makers or as rewards for loyal customers who are the cream of the crop. However you decide to distribute them, premium promo items will generate excitement and put your brand in the spotlight.


Three Reasons Why Premium Gifts Turn More Heads

You don’t need to be a big brand to benefit from premium gifting. With the right strategy, any company will benefit from higher-end retail gifts. 

But premium gifts require careful investment, so it’s important to know why this trend is so critical—and why you can’t afford to be left behind. Give premium gifting a chance, and you’ll see these three juicy benefits in no time.

1. Knock Your Audience’s Socks Off

Not just any item will do for your promotional campaigns. Consumers are pretty discerning these days, and there’s a growing preference for products that exude quality, durability, and craftsmanship. 

Consumers subconsciously associate the quality of your brand with the quality of your promo, so the better the quality of your promo, the more highly people will think of your brand. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the classics, but retail gifts are the way to go when you want jaws to drop.

2. Stand out for the Right Reasons

Let’s say you’re at an expo hall for an industry conference. How many other companies are there? What kinds of promo are they handing out? 

Attendees can get pens, T-shirts, and power banks just about anywhere. Giving out something cooler like, say, North Face jackets will almost certainly create a stampede to your booth. 

You might not be able to give every person a fancy piece of retail swag, of course, but you’re offering attendees a great incentive to check out your booth and interact with your team. Maybe you offer promo to people to attend a demo session or as a prize for a contest or drawing. The name-brand swag will definitely persuade more folks to engage, so don’t be afraid to ask for something in exchange for nicer swag.

3. Save Time With Streamlined Sourcing

We always recommend testing promo items before passing them out to your audience. You should still do that when you order retail goods, but the odds are way, way higher that these items will meet your quality requirements. 

Actually, opting for premium gifts could help you save time on procurement. There’s no need to fuss as much over product quality because you’re working with a known retailer. Plus, some brands choose not to add their logo to retail products, which saves even more time. 

If you think a retailer couldn’t possibly work with your brand, think again. Boundless’s Brand Consultants have sourced all kinds of premium retail products for our clients over the years. Not to brag, but our connections make it a cinch to source name-brand products for your initiatives. Your imagination is the limit, so don’t let sourcing concerns hold you back from going for premium quality. 


Want To Try Premium Gifting? Follow These Rules of Thumb

Integrating premium gifting into your marketing strategy can be a game-changer, but it's crucial to approach it with a well-thought-out plan. Here are some essential rules of thumb to help you maximize the value of premium gifting. 

Know Your Audience

Before investing in a premium gift, understand who your target audience is. What are their interests, lifestyles, and preferences? Gifting a golf aficionado a Kylie Jenner lip kit is a recipe for confusion, so know your audience’s interests before searching for retail gifts.

Make It an Experience

Tangible products are already more memorable than digital ads, but you can take things a step further by integrating your retail gifts with an experience. Think of the unboxing experience. Premium gifting is not just about the item itself, but also how it’s presented. 

Maybe you curate a boxed experience that relates to the retail item. For example, a travel-themed box could include Aviator sunglasses as the centerpiece with branded sunblock and a personalized Spotify travel playlist. That’s way more engaging than just handing someone a pair of sunglasses, isn’t it?

Budget Wisely

Your audience will go bananas for premium promo, and for good reason. This stuff is high-quality, which means it costs more than regular promo. Premium gifting is an investment in building relationships and brand loyalty because it shows you invested in this gift. Ensure that you’re spending wisely to maximize the return on investment.

Most brands that do premium gifting opt for a tiered promo system. For example, maybe you offer branded promo items, like Bluetooth headphones, to most people and save your premium offerings to seal the deal with prospects who are on the fence.

Premium Gifts: The Ultimate Brand Statement

Premium gifts have a way of immediately turning heads and grabbing attention. With the right distribution strategy, these retail goodies have the power to forge lasting connections that transform into brand loyalty. Whether you only give out premium promo or pass it out to a select few, this new approach to promo marketing is certain to make an impression. 

If retail gifting is new for your brand, follow our proven blueprint to maximize ROI. Boundless’s Brand Consultants help businesses of all sizes source premium promo to Create Brand Love™ moments. Learn more about our creative expertise, product access, custom campaigns, and more.

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