How to delight customers: 23 inexpensive customer delight examples worth trying out

Put on a happy face

A base of one-time buyers is a recipe for a sinking business. Your company can only live off of short-term customers for so long — to thrive, it needs lifelong buyers who deliver consistent sales.

Winning customers’ loyalty takes persistence, though. It’s more than covering the basics — fulfilling orders, offering customer support, and delivering on time. To gain a lifelong customer, a business has to embrace customer delight.

This concept is more than a fluffy catchphrase — when taken seriously, customer delight is the force behind lifelong customers.

Going above and beyond to create impeccable shopping experiences leaves a powerful impression on your buyers. Feeling appreciated, customers are driven to return to your business and continue making purchases.

One way that GoDaddy helps you produce customer delight is by managing inventory. Making sure you don’t run out of products — a huge customer turnoff — is one of the many customer delight examples you can use to increase customer satisfaction.

To help you build long-lasting customer relationships, we’ll break down what customer delight is all about and offer 23 examples of how you can start wowing your buyers.

Let’s dive in.

What is customer delight all about?

Customer delight simply means creating outstanding customer experiences to create and nurture lasting relationships. With effective customer delight, you deliver value that exceeds customer expectations. You can delight customers through the use of gifts, rewards, communication and with the help of your customer service team.

Customer delight is all about going above and beyond to:

  1. Remind customers why they buy from you and not the competition.
  2. Show prospects why they should buy from you and not the competition.

“You have to be no less than a customer concierge, doing everything you can to make every one of your customers feel acknowledged, appreciated, and heard. You have to make them feel special, just like when your great-grandmother walked into Butcher Bob’s shop or bought her new hat, and you need to make people who aren’t your customers wish they were.” — Gary Vaynerchuk, “The Thank You Economy”

When you invest in customer delight, you increase customer satisfaction and customer lifetime value. Thus, an investment in customer delight is an investment in your business. 

How to start investing in customer delight at your ecommerce business

I know what you’re thinking right now: “This all sounds great, but what’s it going to cost me?” The good news is you don’t need to spend that much money to create amazing experiences for your customers. There are a lot of inexpensive and easy customer delight ideas you can try to boost repeat business and customer loyalty.

1. The handwritten thank you card

In this age of automation and instant gratification, a little personalization goes a long way. This customer delight idea is pretty simple: every time a first-time customer buys a product from you, send them a handwritten card thanking them for their business. It’s a powerful way to express your appreciation for their business, and it’s a great way to make a positive first impression on your newest customers.

Handwritten customer thank you card

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No time to write a handwritten note? Don’t sweat it — there are a lot of tools out there that can help you streamline the task — like Postalgia, Gemnote and Handwrytten.

2. The Twitter customer shout-out

This customer delight tactic can be implemented in a matter of seconds and won’t cost you a dime. Here’s how it works: every week, manually go through your order list and pick one customer to thank on Twitter. Pick a customer that is actively using Twitter, and make sure to mention their Twitter handle in your tweet.

Alternatively, you could use a social media monitoring tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to find and respond to new customers who are already talking about you. Implementing this tactic regularly is a great way to show new and existing customers that there are real, caring human beings behind your ecommerce store.

3. The referral program

As consumers, there’s nothing better than being rewarded for telling a friend about a company or product we love. Establish a referral or ambassador program for your ecommerce business that offers discounts, points or freebies to people who help drive new customers your way. 

On the one hand, you’re connecting with new customers and driving more sales, and on the other hand, you’re delighting your most loyal customers and brand advocates by rewarding them for telling their friends about you. For example, Tesla’s referral program can be tracked within the user’s Tesla app. With each referral link you send, users can track the status of their rewards in their “Loot Box.”

Not sure how to get something like this off the ground? Look into tools like ReferralCandy or Friendbuy — they make it incredibly easy to get programs off the ground.

4. The free swag offer

Everyone loves free stuff — that’s a simple truth that you can easily use to your advantage when it comes to delighting customers. Implementing this idea is simple: all you have to do is commit to regularly sending surprise gifts with branded swag to random customers regularly. You can either choose to send swag to new customers, to customers who hit a specific milestone (like several purchases) or to customers who mention your business on social media.

It’s another win-win situation — you get to show a little extra appreciation to your customers, and in return, they tell more friends about you.

Free gift with purchase campaign on Instagram

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Never made shirts or branded swag before? Use Foxtrot, Custom Ink or Swag.com.

5. The “how’d they know?!” surprise

Use one of the social media monitoring tools mentioned above to follow what your customers are tweeting about daily. If a customer mentions something about a product they are dying to get their hands on, send it to them as a gift! Not only will it provide an unexpectedly delightful experience, but it may also prompt them to share this unique experience with their friends and on social media. 

This surprise gift can also be an experience provided by another company. For example, say you’re scrolling through Hootsuite, and you see a customer mention that they’re excited to see a movie that just came out in theaters. You can go above and beyond to delight them by gifting them a Fandango gift card for dinner and a movie. In the message they receive with their gift card, let them know you saw their tweet about going to the movies and wanted to do something nice as a thank you for supporting your business. It’s a great way to go the extra mile and impress people!

6. The honest email

As mentioned in the introduction, customer delight doesn’t always have to be about gifts or rewards. Sometimes, it’s just about being open and honest with people. One of the best and most effective ways to invest in customer delight is by committing to honesty when it comes to communicating with customers.

When something goes wrong with a customer order, you have the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive customer experience. For example, if there was a shipment or processing error, send an email that genuinely expresses your remorse and be honest about the error. If you can avoid it, try not to make this email seem automated (even if it is). When it comes to boosting customer loyalty and repeat business, just having the guts to say, “We’re sorry,” can go a long way.

7. The social savvy brand advocate follow-up

This customer delight idea is also pretty simple: here’s how it works. If a customer reaches out to you on social media with nice things to say, don’t miss the opportunity to respond and engage with them! It’s important to remember that when it comes to communicating publicly on social media, you’re not just talking to one person; you’re talking to many.

Public customer thank you on Twitter

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Having authentic conversations with customers on Twitter is not only a great way to boost loyalty and repeat business, but it’s also a great way to make a good first impression on potential customers who are reading your social media updates and trying to decide if yours is a business they want to support.

8. The random free shipping period 

Want to make your customers smile? Delight them with free shipping! Let’s be honest — everyone hates paying shipping costs. Go out of your way every so often to show loyal customers that you appreciate their business by sending them an email campaign offering a free shipping promo code.

Free shipping offer

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As with most of the ideas mentioned in this post, it’s not only a great way to thank customers but also a fantastic way to connect with new customers and drive more first-time sales.

9. The VIP product tester program

People love feeling like they’re part of something exclusive. As an ecommerce business owner, you can take advantage of this truth in several creative ways. One way is to create VIP Product Testers. Here’s how it works: each month, send out new products or product samples to a select group of loyal customers and ask for their feedback. 

You can invite people to the closed program based on a milestone, such as several purchases or a total amount of sales as a customer. You can also send samples to at-risk customers as a tactic to prevent them from churning. 

After you send your product testers out, document the process and share it on social media with your followers. It’ll help spark interest and make your select group of customers feel even more special.

10. The availability/transparency promise

This idea is pretty simple, and it goes back to what was mentioned in the introduction and in tip #6 — delighting customers doesn’t always have to be about sending them gifts. Instead, be transparent about when your customer service team is available to help. You can delight customers by sending them a welcome email that includes a promise statement about your availability.

Consumers want to feel like they can reach out to you or someone on your team when they need help or have a question about one of your products. Delight them by setting expectations about customer service from the moment they become a customer or subscribe to your list.

11. The personalized CEO/owner email

On a similar note, you can also delight customers by sending them important, personalized messages from the CEO or owner of your ecommerce business. For example, you could send a plain-text, personalized thank-you email that comes from the CEO as soon as someone becomes a customer. You could also send a personalized email from the CEO when you want to announce the launch of new products or special campaigns.

For many ecommerce businesses, writing manual emails in this way is out of the question — and that’s OK. There are plenty of email tools like Campaign Monitor, Mailchimp or Klaviyo that allow you to create automated emails that appear to be delivered in real-time from an individual.

12. The #DayMade random gift

Another great ecommerce customer delight idea worth testing involves sending special gifts to a select group of random customers who have bought from you in the past. It’s a great way to surprise people who have supported your business in the past, and it can also be an effective way to spark renewed interest in your products.

Compile a small list of repeat customers who haven’t purchased lately. Once you have your list compiled, send them a free product with a note thanking them for being your customer in the past. To go the extra mile, offer them 50% off their next order if they snap a photo, share it on social media and tag your business.

13. The commitment to a cause

A lot of startups and ecommerce companies in recent history have been building business models centered around social entrepreneurship. Social entrepreneurship is the idea that you are committed to delegating a portion of your business profits to support a specific cause. 

One well-known example of a company investing in this type of business model is TOMS. As an ecommerce business owner, consider ways that you can both meet customer needs and give back to your community. For example, Bombas chooses to donate one pair of socks for every one pair purchased through its store. 

Ecommerce brand donation promotion

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Today’s consumers want to support companies that are willing and interested in helping make the world a better place. Delight your customers by supporting a cause that you care about or one that aligns closely with the type of product you sell.

14. The free samples campaign

Another trend that has become more prevalent in the ecommerce world involves sending free samples to customers before they buy. This takes more planning, coordination and available inventory, but when done right, it can be a fantastic way to delight customers, build loyalty and boost sales.

The most well-known company that implements this idea is Warby Parker — it ships five frames to prospective customers for free to help them make the right decision before they buy a new pair of glasses.

Free at-home try-ons offer

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If you can afford to do it, sending samples to potential customers is a great way to show them that you care about providing people with the right products and solutions for their needs. The result is more satisfied customers, fewer returns and increased revenue. 

15. The employee appreciation event

One of the best ways to delight your customers is by keeping your employees happy. It’s important to take time to appreciate and reward them for their hard work. Happy employees are more likely to possess the same level of commitment to serving your customers that you possess.

An employee appreciation event doesn’t have to cost a lot of money — it just needs to be intentional and genuine. Moreover, sharing your employee appreciation efforts with your audience boosts your brand image. If a customer sees that your company values its employees, they look more favorably at your brand. 

16. The #TreatYoSelfLocal campaign

If you know where your customers live, try surprising your best customers by sending them a $5 gift card to a local coffee shop or restaurant in their area. What this tactic does is show that you care to get to know your customer. Here’s how to do it: find a customer who has mentioned your company recently on social media or left you a positive review somewhere online.

Reach out to them and ask them for the name of their favorite coffee shop or restaurant in the city where they live. Tell them you’d like to send them a free gift for spreading the word about your business. Use Postmates to deliver your local gifts to customers. It’s a relatively inexpensive and simple campaign, but it has the potential to result in more word-of-mouth testimonials from someone you know is already willing to tell their friends about your business and products.

17. The branded box

As mentioned in the introduction, customer delight is all about creating outstanding experiences for your customers. If you don’t already use branded packaging or boxes for your products, it’s worth a try. Unboxing experiences have the potential to go viral in the right situations, especially as media-sharing sites like Instagram and Snapchat continue to grow in popularity among savvy consumers of all ages.

Branded box from FabFitFun

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More and more companies have been investing resources into creating branded packaging in recent years as a way to excite customers and differentiate from competitors. If you can afford it, it’s a worthwhile test to run for your ecommerce business! If you can’t afford a printed box, consider slapping a branded sticker or stamp on your box. A little extra effort and attention can go a long way in the minds of your customers.

18. The loyalty program

If you haven’t done so already, consider creating a loyalty program that rewards customers based on the number of times they purchase products from you. It’s a great tactic for driving repeat business and boosting customer loyalty. Tools you can use to set your program up: Smile.io or WooCommerce on WordPress

19. The customer testimonial/highlight

Another customer delight example is to feature a client testimonial. Find a customer who can act as an ideal promoter of your product or service. Reach out with a quick email that asks them about being featured on your blog or your company’s social media channels. 

This is a great way to show customers how well your product performs when it is used to its fullest potential. Not only does this help customers understand how to use your product or service, but it also acts as social proof and influences sales. 

In some cases, your customers might use your product or service to run their own business. By featuring this customer on your channels, you’ll allow them to talk about your product while promoting their business by linking back to the customer’s site in the testimonial.

20. The customer feedback method

Direct customer feedback is one of the most powerful tools in product development. When your customers request a new product or give feedback on an existing one, it’s important to acknowledge and understand their pain points.

If they provide feedback on something that you plan to change, let the customer know and provide a timeline. Always thank them for bringing this to your attention, and make sure that you collect their email address. That way, you can get in touch with any customers who reached out once changes have been made to your product or new features are released. You can make a customer feel more valuable when they provide you with feedback and it is addressed openly and honestly.

21. The anniversary or milestone celebration

Celebrating the anniversary of a sale shows your customers that their purchase truly matters. That purchase marked the beginning of a new stage in your relationship. They’ve gone through the process of seeking out your company, researching the competition, and decided that your offer was the best fit. When you acknowledge this fact, it reminds the customer why they made that choice in the first place.

If you’re offering a service to customers, you can congratulate them once they’ve reached important milestones. Track key metrics for each of your customers. These can be big wins, like getting 1,000 opens on their first email newsletter, or small steps to being successful, like making a payment on their first invoice.

You can also use the milestones to help motivate customers to keep using your product like Peloton does when the customer reaches their 50th ride. 

Peloton congratulations note

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22. The personal touch

We’ve said it several times, but being delightful doesn’t always mean that you need to offer something free to your customers. Sometimes, it’s as easy as making a personal connection. Check out these email signature videos from Wistia. By adding a quick video to their Customer Success Coach emails, they were able to introduce themselves, make a connection and add a little personality in less than a minute.

If you can’t create a quick video, including GIFs is another great way to add personality and have a little fun with your interactions. Try Boomerang or the GIPHY app to create a gif of your team waving or giving the thumbs up, and include it in the customer’s receipt. Just make sure it looks like you’re having fun!

23. The invitation to a private group 

Another great way to delight your customers is by connecting them with other people who share their passion. You can create a space for your customers to interact with you as well as each other using several different platforms. This can be as simple as a private Facebook group or a forum on your website dedicated to customers. 

Glossier and other beauty brands created private group messaging on Slack channels to connect with their customers. Not only will this foster a sense of community around your product, but you’ll also build brand advocates.

You can use this platform to offer a special sale for existing members or submit new product ideas to your previous customers for feedback. Including them in the conversation helps build better, long-lasting relationships. Those relationships will only grow as you continue connecting directly with an audience.

Keep experimenting with customer delight ideas 

As you implement each of these ideas into your marketing strategy, you’ll slowly learn which tactics work for your audience and which don’t. Continue to experiment with different customer delight ideas and get creative. Whether you offer free courses for customers or behind-the-scenes access to your designer’s workflow, consider ways you can leverage the features your business already possesses. The more you can differentiate yourself from your competitors with the value only you can provide, the more likely you will attract new customers and retain existing ones.

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Shani Leead
Shani Leead is a Content Marketing writer for Animalz. When she’s not writing for SaaS and B2B companies, she’s taking photographs and doodling away in her notebook.