Survey Says: Avoid Thank You Stickers for Your E-Commerce Orders (And Do This Instead)

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Written By Sam Davis Ph.D.

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When you receive a package in the mail, one of the first things you notice is the sticker on it. “Thank you for your order!” it reads, in big and bright letters. You may even find yourself appreciating the extra effort that went into adding this small touch – until you realize that it was completely unnecessary. In this blog post, we'll discuss why any thank you sticker (small business especially) is a bad idea. We'll also offer some alternatives to thank you stickers for e-commerce orders and what you should be doing instead.

What does the data say?

In January of 2023, I wanted to know if my thoughts (below) were supported by evidence from consumers. Surprisingly, they were not. There was a slight preference for thank you stickers (46%) over two other methods of outreach (freebies: 12%, handwritten note: 33%). The majority of consumers (56%) say that a thank you gesture would influence their future purchases. Just 9% of consumers said that a thank you would negatively influence their decision for future purchases from the same retailer. I guess I'm in that 9%.

It looks like most consumers are receiving some sort of thank you, be it packaging, freebies, or a handwritten note. So if you're not doing something, chances are, your delivery is forgettable.

Reasons to not use thank you stickers

In any case, I still think there are more cost-effective and strategic uses of time and money than thank you stickers. So I've got some ideas down below as to how you can drum up future business with greener alternatives

Thank you stickers are a waste of money – they're thrown away as soon as the package is opened

The use of thank you stickers can be seen all around us and the use of these self-adhesive labels with motivational messages are an attempt to make things better for those associated. However, one cannot deny that these stickers are nothing more than a waste of money. More than often, these products end up in the dustbin as soon as the product delivery is unpacked. No one hangs the packaging on the wall.

Even if your thank you stickers are cheap, it's still just taking away from your profits. Eventually, investing in fancy thank you stickers will raise your regular price, even if you don't mean it to. You can say “thank you for supporting me” in a less wasteful way, without increasing your product's regular price.

Thank you stickers aren't eco-friendly at all – they are coated paper, which is plastic based, which makes them impossible to recycle.

Although thank you stickers may seem like a small and harmless way to express your gratitude, we should be aware of the environmental consequences of using them. Although they are only coated paper, the plastic based coating is non-recyclable under normal circumstances – meaning it gets sent straight to landfill where it will take many, many years to decompose. Therefore, it might be best to explore other ways of thanking people if you don’t want such a large carbon footprint. There are plenty of eco-friendlier alternatives such as making your own card or giving someone a plant – these can help show your appreciation while being kinder to our planet in the process.

Kraft thank you stickers are slightly more eco-friendly, but anything that's coated, like gold thank you stickers, are going to last forever in a landfill. Is that what you want your business “legacy” to be? Trash in all 50 states?

Boxes are often recyclable, but labels are not.

You've already used the thank you sticker, so it's not even a freebie for customers

While we all love to get a freebie here and there, it's important to always be aware of the cost of those items. Customers often don't realize that when they get a ‘free' thank you sticker with their purchase, the cost of that item has already been factored into their total. This is why it's not an accurate description to say that customers are getting anything for free – it's already been paid for by virtue of them buying the product in question.

What to do instead of a thank you sticker

Businesses should consider alternatives to a thank you sticker such as sending a personalized thank-you card or email, providing a free sample of their product or service, offering a discount on future purchases, providing an upgrade to their product or service, or simply expressing gratitude verbally.

Branded freebies for your customers

Stickers are a great way to engage potential customers and can be used as an effective marketing tool. However, an often overlooked option is including small business stickers in the packaging. This subtle approach means that potential buyers get a real feel of the product while also creating a lasting impression of your brand. For example, I always include a logo of my small business (stickers) with every purchase. It's a “freebie” but they can use it.

It works because I see my logo in review photos ALL the time. Before my business grew, I would create these sweet thank you stickers on spare space during my activities and DIY projects. If I was making stickers for something else, I'd include a few of these branding stickers – NOT thank you sticker labels – on the sheet.

Companies can also partner up with other businesses to give out stickers, allowing both companies to benefit from shared branding opportunities while strengthening their existing relationships. It's all about getting creative and making your company stand out by having strategically placed stickers that attract customers and build brand recognition!

The key here is that your “thank you for supporting my small business” present is a usable sticker gift, not something that's been attached to the package. I personally love getting small business stickers, but thank you stickers that just hold my package together are a waste.

Handwritten notes remain in the customer's mind.

Showing your customers that you care about them doesn't have to cost a fortune. In fact, something as simple as sending an old-fashioned handwritten note can make a lasting impact. Not only does it communicate thoughtfulness and appreciation, but it also stands out among the mass of impersonal, cookie cutter emails and messages.

A personalized note also carries more meaning – especially when your customer knows that you wrote it yourself instead of buying pre-printed cards or thank you stickers which tend to be less memorable. So if you want to add a special touch of warmth to your relationship with your customer, consider sending a heartfelt handwritten note today!

You can use many of the same sentiments that are present on thank you stickers:

  • Thank you for supporting my small business
  • Supporting a small business saves lives
  • Warning: extreme happiness (stickers turned to a note!)
  • Be thankful for their purchase
  • Use their name in your note – no circle thank you stickers can be that personal!

Final thoughts

In conclusion, stickers are a waste of money and they're not eco-friendly. If you're using them as a marketing tool, there are more effective ways to do it. Make your unique style stand out with handwritten notes. Make your style stick by creating custom memorable, eco-friendly packaging. Any DIY projects you'll find for thank you's will be more effective than just buying EasyKart labels or stickers ad nauseum.

You can included a branded sticker inside or send a handwritten note – something that will remain in the customer's mind. Your customers already want something hand-crafted — discover the power of a truly unique branded experience for customers. Supporting small business stickers are basic. Go further.

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