15 Best Customer Appreciation Ideas to Boost Customer Engagement

February 25, 2021

Our list of customer appreciation gifts boosts engagement without blowing your budget.

We understand. According to psychological researchers, gift-giving is an ancient practice that holds both physical and immaterial meaning and dates back to the beginning of human civilisation. Obviously, as humans (and our social structures) have advanced, our gifts have also become more elaborate. Despite these advancements, the significance of gift-giving still self-propagates, and the research supports what most people would agree with: gifts have the ability to strengthen relationships, increase feelings of reciprocity, and generate positive memories for both the recipient and the giver.

Given the importance of gifts to both professional and personal relationships, we’re going to give you the top business thank you gift ideas for 2021, that will: 

  • Make your company stand out from your competitors 
  • Be used over and over again 
  • Generate some good-will and customer loyalty 
  • Be raved about in their ‘thank you’ response! 

Before we get into the list, we should outline a few foundational requirements for any corporate thank you gift idea that you choose to go with. Namely, this token of appreciation, no matter how big or small, should be: 


  • This can be as obvious as embroidery, embossment, and screen printing of their initials/company logo, or it can be as subtle as an inside joke between you. Alternatively, take what you know about them - e.g. they’re a coffee addict; they love yoga - and try to relate the gift back to something they’re interested in and can get use of outside the office. 


  • We all love novelty - but sometimes new and shiny ‘novel’ gifts aren’t actually useful. To have ultimate impact, choose a gift that your recipient will be using weekly, if not daily, and make sure it’s of the highest quality, so it stands the test of time. 

Aesthetically pleasing 

  • The act of gift-giving can be plagued with landmines (formally known as “social risk,” studies indicate that most gifts are received well, but gifts that are “insulting” to the recipient have the potential to actually ruin relationships). To avoid seeming a ‘reluctant’ gift-giver, and demonstrating good-will on your end, make sure the gift is: 1) wrapped well; 2) presented nicely (ie, it arrives in pristine condition), and 3) it looks high-end. 

1. Relax and Rejuvenate Set 

Perfect for anyone health-conscious, overworked, or in need of some relaxation, this relax and rejuvenate set ticks all the boxes on our prerequisites list. It’s personal, useful, and aesthetically pleasing! 

What’s more, research indicates that recipients are especially appreciative of gifts that offer long-term satisfaction. More instance, instead of buying someone a bouquet of flowers, consider buying them a small potted plant that’s just beginning to bud - the idea here is that while the flowers will last a week, and act as a short-term visual reminder of your generosity, a potted-plant is something that can be returned to over and over again to elicit warm feelings of appreciation. 

Without a doubt, this set, complete with an oil diffuser, yoga mat, essential oils, book, and sleeping mask, charcoal facial puff, and reed diffuser, offers the opportunity for long-term use and relaxation. 

2. Dalgona Coffee Set 

Who doesn’t love coffee? This is an excellent business gift idea for customers because they can get plenty of use out of this set, both in and out of the office. What’s more, all the items (Verve Instant Craft Coffee, two glass tumblers, 3 reusable metal straws, a chocolate puzzle, and Dick Taylor Craft Chocolate) are presented beautifully in a cohesive, complementary set. 

3. Hand-Written Card 

Did you know that the phrase “it’s the thought that counts” is actually backed up by real psychological research? Yeah, we think it’s pretty cool too - and it means that customer appreciation cards are one of the top thoughtful (and economical) ways you can show some love. 

Just make sure that you double-check the quality of the card’s material, from the actual card itself to the envelope, as well as the presentation of the end-product. This small token of appreciation needs to be done right (which means proofreading a few times before sending, too!).

4. Go Outside Set 

With customer appreciation day fast approaching (the 21st May will be here before we know it, trust us!), it may be a good idea to start thinking of what your customers will appreciate come springtime. 

And with a pandemic that has us all a lot more cooped up than we’d like to be, there’s never been a better time to get outside. To show some thoughtfulness toward a particularly active or outdoorsy customer, there really isn’t a better set than this one: it comes with a Stanley Thermos, Stojo reusable cup, Patagonia backpack, Orbit keychain, iPhone/Android USB, and Bucket Hat. 

5. Book Set 

Whether you opt for a fun, fictional book set, or one that’s more focused on professional development, make sure that you double-check the reviews for the books you’re buying. Try to pick a 4 or 5 star reviewed set, or ones that appear consistently on the New York Times bestseller list. 

And if there’s a book that’s about to be released and super hyped in your industry, don’t be afraid to pre-order the book for your customer! When it arrives, they’ll be over the moon that they have a copy immediately!

6. Fruit basket  

Potentially there’s no better customer appreciation day idea than a shareable fruit basket! This gift of customer appreciation for your customers is a universal favorite because: 1) everyone likes fruit (and it’s vegan and vegetarian friendly), and 2) it can be shared throughout the office, thereby generating goodwill among multiple customers toward your company. 

For us this has to rate among the top best appreciation gift ideas, thanks to how sustainable, healthy, and pretty these boxes look! Bonus points if you can source your sweet treats from organic, local farmers

7. Savory Snack Box 

Fruit baskets may be universally loved, but a great complementary item (that will be especially appreciated among savory-lovers out there) is the savory snack box. Again, this is a great customer appreciation idea for 2021 precisely because: 1) it will get used, 2) it’s sharable for the office, and 3) if everyone gets one, they are able to take their boxes home and share with their families

8. Charitable Donation 

Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is one of the best customer appreciation ideas for 2021 in our book, because it shows you care. Research indicates there’s two simultaneous phenomenons that occur when gift-giving: 1) you reveal things you have noticed about the recipient, and what you think they will like based on their preferences/personality; and 2) you reveal something about yourself through the gift that you choose for them.

To really generate the ultimate impact through this gift, we recommend giving to a cause that resonates with the recipient, whether this is a charity that they have supported in the past, or it’s a local organization that you believe most employees will be in favor of (e.g. support for veterans, homeless people, children’s health care). 

Finally, this is an excellent corporate thank you gift idea as it rests not on any material matter, but on thoughtfulness and generosity - something that post-pandemic, most people appreciate deeply. 

9. Swag Drop 

If you want to create an excellent customer appreciation program at your company, consider creating ‘New Customer,’ ‘3 Year Customer Anniversary,’ and other ‘occasions’ that you send your customers thoughtful swag around. 

These gifts should always be high-quality (think 100% cotton Champion Sweatshirts, Patagonia Backpacks, and S’well Water Bottles), wearable outside the office, and aesthetically pleasing! Try to stick to neutral colors, comfortable fabrics, and discreet logos that don’t overtake your overall design too much. 

And remember: thank you notes for customer appreciation are the perfect pairing to any swag drop package! Gemnote offers these ‘new customer’ kits (with the option for companies to create their own swag kits, complete with whatever items will most suit recipients), with the option to send a customized thank you card with any package to all recipients.

10. Matcha Kit 

What’s not to love here? Matcha kits are healthy, fun, and usable both inside and outside the office. In tandem with the coffee kit, this is a great pairing that you can offer to customers who may not drink coffee due to health issues, or may want a non-caffeine alternative in the evenings. 

The best part about this matcha set? There are so many beverages you can make with it: matcha lattes, hot teas, iced teas, and smoothies - the options are endless. 

11. Sweet Snack Box 

The sweet brother to the savory snack box we mentioned earlier in this article, the sweet snack box is also a great sharable option. Complete with delicious Smart Sweets, Unna Bakery Raspberry Jam Drops, Crantastic’s Super Snack Mix, and Aura Bora’s Cactus Rose beverage, this is a diverse kit that has something for everyone. 

12. Happy Hour Set 

With most of us working from home (and almost all bars closed), happy hour can feel like a long-forgotten memory. As such, this set is a perfect customer appreciation gift choice precisely because your recipients can share happy hour moments over Zoom until everyone gets back to normality. 

To make sure this gift idea has the maximum impact, try to order several happy hour sets for a small team of 4 or 5 people, and add a personal note saying you hope they enjoy their team happy hour! Alternatively, you can send this set to some management executives for them to enjoy at home after a hard day working from home! Either way, this is sure to be a well-received favorite. 

13. Pizza Party 

If you’re leaning more toward unique client event ideas, then consider ordering pizza for all employees in a specific customer team for a pizza party Zoom event. We love this idea because: 1) it shows you thought outside the box, 2) everyone likes pizza, and 3) it helps your customers’ team-building efforts, which management and higher-ups will be sure to appreciate. 

Just make sure to be considerate of dietary requirements (ie vegans, vegetarians, those with allergies to certain foods), and that all employees get their pizza at the same time, if they’re going to be connecting over Zoom while they eat. 

14. Mugs 

Remember how we said that the best gifts are reusable and last the test of time? That’s why we think mugs are a classic choice that customers are sure to love. To ensure this gift has the highest impact, go for a really eye-catching, high-quality design that the whole team will love. 

15. Gift cards to other businesses 

Did you know that in a survey conducted regarding gift likability, one of the best received categories was gifts that are ‘convenient?’ Specifically, gift cards to local, nearby restaurants were more popular than gift cards to upscale (but further away) equivalents. 

An extra benefit here? Data indicates that people love gifts that offer experiences - when you give your customers a gift card to an excellent restaurant, or a fun outdoor activity centre (think rock-climbing, bouldering, or a yoga studio), you’re offering your customers something special that they can experience and look back on. 

And as we mentioned earlier in this article, individuals are increasingly aware of the squeeze COVID-19 is exerting on small businesses, and so gift-cards to local, well-loved establishments are a perfect way to 1) show you care, 2) support local businesses, and 3) win over some customer loyalty and thoughtfulness by picking places their employees hold dear. 

And that wraps up our top 15 customer appreciation gifts! Whether you opt for one of the above, or a mix of a few ideas (in particular, hand-written cards go a long way…), Gemnote can help you fulfill your customer gift ideas! 

We have a team to help you curate the most thoughtful, high-impact gifts, as well as an excellent fulfillment team that makes sure your gifts arrive on time, in pristine condition. Get in touch here! 

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