How many times have you received a package in the mail that had a special surprise that made you smile? Maybe it was free merchandise, or gift wrapping you hadn’t asked for, or a personal, handwritten thank you note. 

As we say, a little goes a long way, and can be a huge driver of customer loyalty. That’s why Giving Little Unexpected Extras, or GLUE, is a strategy that works for many eCommerce businesses—and it could work for yours too. GLUE entails going slightly above and beyond expectations—not enough to break the bank and ruin your profitability, but enough to delight customers and build a sense of loyalty that turns one-time shoppers into long-term customers.  

There’s a spirit of generosity to GLUE that obviously bodes well for the holiday season, but which could—and should—be applied year-round. Here are six ways you could Give Little Unexpected Extras to your apparel web store customers into the New Year. 

  • Offer Personalization of Products
    Customized products tend to grow in popularity around the holidays, but they can also be enjoyed year-round for birthdays and other gifts. Turn your products into unique, memorable gifts by offering personalization options.

    This could mean offering embroidery of recipients’ names on clothing items like jackets or shirts, or allowing customers to choose their own unique colorways on items like shoes. Personalization options can be limited to certain high-value products or when customers reach a certain value threshold with their orders.

    Anya Hindmarch has a whole Bespoke collection, including bags, accessories and face masks that can be personalized with embroidered initials. Luggage brand Away offers stylish monogramming of their bags and suitcases for an additional fee, with options for placement, style and color of up to three letters. 

  • Give Affordable Branded Gifts or Special Merchandise
    As we said before, a little goes a long way! Stand out from many brands by including small branded gifts, samples or merchandise with orders. This could include anything from stickers, pins or pens, to tote bags or face masks. With so many options available it comes down to what makes sense for your brand, and also your budget.

    Make it economically viable by including gifts only with certain value orders, or for a limited time only. Include a note encouraging the shopper to share their purchase on social media—that way you get maximum return on investment. You could also sell this special merchandise. As your store builds a devoted following and sense of fandom in your community, branded merchandise becomes particularly covetable and encourages a sense of collectibility.

  • Make Charitable Contributions
    We’ve mentioned before how important it is to consumers today to support brands that they feel are making a positive difference. Make your customers feel like they’re part of your philanthropy or ethical commitments by supporting causes you all care about when they shop with you.

    Savvy brands nowadays are donating a percentage or set amount from the sale of certain items or sales from their entire inventory to charities or organizations they have partnered with or identified as important and relevant to their values. Some brands like Toms and Bombas are also donating items, where possible. Even savvier brands make sure to communicate their charitable commitments on their website as well as on their packaging, such as Nike, with their shoe boxes that tell their customers “you helped plant a tree,” or Allbirds, who has an all-in-one shoe box and mailing box for their sustainably made shoes. Make a difference and make your audience aware of where you stand, and build a loyal following in the process.

  • Provide Extra Support
    Have extra customer service on deck to ensure that your store goes above and beyond the norm and exceeds customer expectations. All too often shoppers are greeted by badly programmed chatbots or made to wait in a long line on the phone, while being reminded that their call is “important.”

    Instead of telling your customers that you appreciate them with an automated message, show them with warm, human interactions via phone, email, chat and direct message. Provide plenty of options for assistance—Everlane has a note on their product pages saying “Want this item today? Text us.” As we all know, actions speak louder than words, and customer service remains a powerful way to demonstrate that.


The season of giving doesn’t only have to occur once a year. Make a habit of giving your apparel web store customers memorable moments and you’ll find your apparel web store benefits too. Talk to us today about implementing any of these ideas and Give Little Unexpected Extras to your customers into the New Year.

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