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Retail Gift Wrapping Tips to Build Your Business | Staples

Put a Bow on It! Retail Gift Wrapping Tips to Build Your Business

By Margot Carmichael Lester, Staples® Contributing Writer

“Dull is the enemy of commerce,” says veteran retailer Martha Jenkins, owner of Kitchenworks in Chapel Hill, NC. That’s why she and other successful shop owners rely on retail gift packaging supplies as an inexpensive way to create visual interest. “Just a little innovation and creativity turns colorful wrap into a fabulous attention-getter that will catch everyone's eye.”

Gift Wrapping Tips

Gift wrapping gets a lot of attention around major holidays like Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, but it’s a service that delights customers and builds loyalty year round. “Customers love value added to their purchases at no cost,” says Melinda Cantor, owner of Only You Gifts in Islip, NY. “I consider wrapping as part of my marketing/advertising budget.”

Try these expert tips from Cantor, runner-up in the 17th Annual Scotch Brand Most Gifted Wrapper Contest:

  • Stock It: “My favorite gift-wrap items are an assortment of wired ribbons, quality/reliable wrapping paper, and scissors or an X-Acto knife for faster cutting when wrapping multiple gifts,” she says. “Keep a few colors of wrapping paper handy to cover all occasions and genders, and a few colors of ribbon — preferably wired ribbon because it’s easy to work with and always looks impressive when tied in the simplest bow.” Pro Tip: Look for gift-wrap tape with a satin finish that disappears on most wrapping papers.
  • Organize It: Store wrapping materials neatly so you can access them quickly — especially scissors and tape, which often get used all over the store. And make sure there’s ample counter space so you can spread out and have room to move.
  • Brand It: “Come up with your own signature style of wrapping,” Cantor suggests. “Wrap in signature colors for your store — my store uses purple and white. Your signature wrap style should be so distinct that if anyone was standing across the room looking at a table of presents, they would know which one came from your store.”
  • Pro Tip: Don’t go too crazy with the wrap style, cautions Bob Peck, Scotch® senior brand manager. “Sometimes it’s difficult for customers to get wrapped packages home without ruining the wraps. Avoid larger-than-life bows, and instead add smaller details that make the gift easier to transport.”

Busy retailers typically make two other gift-wrap mistakes: “Either they take way too long, making impatient customers a little crazed, or they do a sloppy job,” says Linda Cahan, a retail visual merchandising and design consultant in West Linn, OR. “People think they should just know how to wrap intuitively. It doesn't work that way! Practice for a few hours with cheap paper and you'll be much more accurate and quick when you need to wrap something for a customer.”

Visual Merchandising Tips

Gift wrapping is not just for presents! Jenkins uses gift wrap and boxes for lively retail store displays. “It’s a very inexpensive way to change the flavor of your store, and change is very attractive in retailing because customers expect new things all the time,” she says. “A successful window display can take the place of a good salesperson and sell the merchandise itself.”

Here are some of Jenkins’ tips:

  • Spotlight a Color: Choose retail gift wrap in a specific color and select merchandise in the same palette. “By coordinating colors, you can highlight many different items in one display, even if their functions don't go together,” she says. Pro Tip: “This can inspire people to buy several matching items rather than just one piece from the group,” Cahan adds.
  • Inspire Giving: Gift giving isn’t limited to certain seasons. “You can do any holiday or any time of year for birthdays,” Jenkins says. “People need reminders for every holiday and are thrilled if you make the decisions for them.” She wraps empty retail gift boxes of various sizes and places different items on top for window and in-store displays. You can do the same with gift bags and tissue paper. “It suggests to the customer that these would make great wrapped gifts.”
  • Keep It Current: The Kitchenworks’ window displays change every few weeks, and using inexpensive gift-wrap supplies keeps that affordable. “There is nothing worse than a pitiful New Year's window with champagne glasses in it when Easter is around the corner,” Jenkins says. “Not having new merchandise should not deter you if you’re creative. You can always make it look new and useful in a new window display.”
  • Pro Tip: “Don’t get too attached to your displays,” Cahan cautions. “Take a picture of the displays you love and let them go!”

Use these gift-wrapping and visual merchandising tips to wrap up more sales.

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