Free Gift Wrapping for Your Business?

February 25, 2008

in gift & gourmet business, How Tos, Offering a Gift Wrapping Service

Free Gift Wrapping vs. Charging for Gift Wrapping

Gift WrapBy Kathy Green, Nashville Wraps Gift Packaging Consultant

One of the things I enjoy most about my job at Nashville Wraps is talking one-on-one with our customers at trade shows across the country. I like to hear how they are using our products, how I can help them with packaging solutions and how they handle the “free” gift wrapping dilemma.

Our customers feel that a free gift wrapping service results in customer loyalty. I agree, after all, you won’t be able to talk that big chain store into wrapping your gift and adding a pretty bow! On the other hand, you can cover the cost of your supplies. You would never think of giving away your merchandise, so why give away the gift wrap?

Gift WrapI figured the average cost of gift wrapping paper, a gift box, an organza ribbon bow versus the cost of using Nashville Wraps gift bag with tissue paper and a raffia bow. Here are the results:

Gift Wrap

Wrapping paper (24″ x 417′ roll) 4 feet of paper


Simply Sheer Organza Ribbon (100 yd roll 7/8″) 3 yards for bow


White economy gift box – Average cost


Add .02 for tape (probably costs less)


Average Total


To estimate how much gift wrap to buy, use our handy Gift Wrap Calculator.

Buffie Baril, Internet Market CoordinatorNashville Wraps Designer Gift Bag, Tissue and Raffia Bow

Average cost of bag


2 sheets economy tissue


2 yards Raffia (100 yd spool)


Average Total

$ .65


The figures above were based on an average gift and would go up or down depending on size, ribbon choice and other variables.

Lots of our customers sell our gift bags. I can tell you that the Nashville Wraps exclusive design cub bag you pay 44 cents for will retail for $1.50. One gentleman I worked with in Texas buys every one of our newest designs in three sizes every season and keeps a stock of solid colors in our gloss shoppers. He has his employees fold 2 sheets of tissue, place it in the extra bags that are stored under the counter. So, when a bag is purchased it’s ready to go! See the picture below of what your display could look like.

Gift Wrap

Our Euro totes and Deluxe Laminated Gift Bags are profitable resale items. A large laminated gift bag can turn a quick profit – this bag would easily sell for $3.00 at a card and gift packaging store – and cost is right around a buck!

Many people charge a fee for gift wrapping and at a certain price point offer the wrap free as an incentive for upsale. So, if I buy a $10 gift from them I will expect to pay for the gift wrap but if I spend $50 it’s free. Display your choice of wrap or gift bag in your store. You can offer several choices for your customers or pick a look that compliments your store.

By the way, always add your card to the box or bag so the recipient knows where the gift came from. They might love it so much that they want one for Aunt Susie!

Get your name out there!

Use a custom printed bag as your wrap. The latest trend in NYC is to reuse shopping bags from couture stores as purses! Our European Tote Bags with their cord handles and sturdy design would be an excellent choice for this. Why not start a trend in your town?

Kathy Green
Nashville Wraps Packaging Consultant


Kathy works with the Nashville Wraps’ Marketing Team as a packaging consultant and photo stylist. She is also a Master Gardener and enjoys her greenhouse and garden, three spoiled dogs, hubby and grandkids in her spare time. She also loves any kind of craft and spends rainy days in the art studio she shares with her creative husband, Bill.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

tradeshow giveaways March 1, 2011 at 2:23 am

If you have purchased an item in a store, gift wrapping should automatically free. Especially when they bought a huge amount of stuff. It should come as a complimentary to customers. It adds up as good marketing strategy to companies.

Stephanie Gilbert April 24, 2008 at 6:53 am

I just love your Blog all of the comments are interesting and helpful. Way to go Nashville Wraps!

Mhills April 19, 2008 at 9:00 am

I have been ordering cello bags for gift giving and fundraising. The bags are beautiful and sturdy. I make homemade biscotti, cookeis and quick breads. Nashville Wraps allows me to make great gifts. All my friends want me to start a gift basket business and if I do, I know exactly where I will be getting all of my great supplies. Nashville Wraps

Rachel April 5, 2008 at 10:24 pm

My business IS wrapping gifts!! In my place people like to have everything easy, but not expensive. So thanks to Nashville Wraps it’s possible! Pricing is good and merchandise beautiful, which lets me give lower prices and still make large profit and have happy customers! Keep it going! Rachel

Tara April 5, 2008 at 9:23 am

I’ve been back and forth on whether the gift wrapping option should be FREE. I opened my online maternity boutique ( in November. Since I opened just before the holidays, I decided to make gift wrapping free. Most of my initial customers selected that choice and I soon learned how costly it can be.

Because I’m an e-tailer, it greatly increases my shipping costs to gift wrap because I have to use more packaging, larger boxes and it increases the overall weight. As I already underwrite some or all of the shipping cost, that cuts down on my margin even more.

I’m still undecided, but I will tell you this: my sales have declined since I pulled the FREE gift wrapping option. So in the end, it may absolutely be worth it in terms of not only building customer loyalty, but tipping the scales in favor of that first sale.

K.Green April 3, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Good question, Irene! I think you may be right about the bag not arriving in very good shape. Some of our customers use the little sheer organza bags for this purpose. They come is several sizes, colors and styles and are not expensive. Depending on the size of your nesting dolls they would be a good choice. Another thing I thought of was wrapping your items is pretty tissue paper and tying it all together with a little simple bow. This will help protect it during shipping too. I’ll keep thinking and email you if I come up with any great ideas. Thanks for your comments. KG

Irene at The Russian Store April 3, 2008 at 1:52 pm

I am very happy to come across this blog, which offers so much information for retailers.
Our inventory carries merchandise of different shapes and sizes: from amber jewelry to large Russian nesting dolls. Our problem is to find gift packaging system that would cover all the items of our inventory without creating a “warehouse” of packaging materials. As for jewelry, it is an easier solution. But for nesting dolls it is not, since they come in sizes from 3″ to 24″ toll.

I like the idea of using a gift bag with tissue as a free gift wrapping option, but we are an e-commerce store and I am not sure if the customer will receive that bag in presentable condition. Also, how should we handle our gift box situation? Any suggestions, please?

Thank you for your ideas and suggestions!

Edward Boyer April 3, 2008 at 6:37 am

Nashville has a great line of products as many of you folks have found. However, crunch your numbers, and judge them harshly, when making policy decisions such as “FREE GIFT WRAP’ Nothing is Free! It is built in to your cost, and as such you need to determine your resulting net margin, and is it profitable for you.

In the confectionery business, we have offered free wrap for over 20 years, and 2 years ago changed that policy…but also with other dramtic changes to packaging and ribbons!

Please note, the average chocolate gift purchase is $10-$15. Margins are thin! So, adding extras without proper thought to cost giveaways could be harmful.

We currently offer a free tote bag ( custom logo printed) But it is the ribbons that make the difference! We upgraded our packaging from just basic plain boring white, to gold emboseed logo boxes…sales jumped! No need to wrap, saves labor costs, but if a customer wants wrap we charge $1.00.

The ribbons are wired and coordinate with the seasons. Herein lies the expense, and must be reflected in your pricing of the product, as these are included “free”.

You will note on “how to make a bow” the presentation uses 4 yards of wired ribbon. Trust me, that is more than 63¢ shown for organza (see above) That cost factor needs to be in your pricing of your goods, which is difficult when the sale is $10.00. Certainly not a give away. So be careful what you offer as “FREE”. Cleverly, we offer the upgraded version as “free”, with the cost factored into our retail price of the chocolate assortments, however, we do offer a less expensive version, without frills and ribbon for those on a budget, and trust me, just seeing these options helps to educate the consumer about what exactly they are purchasing, and helping them wise decisions.

I do love the feedback from everyone. Your experiences are very useful in helping to make smart decisions. I also love Nashville for this forum. This is the type of information needed to go forward. It will help us buy more, *(Nashville smiling) because we will be buying smarter and more efficiently. I don’t know about you, but we have made our mistakes in buying ribbon, packaging etc., and this is money you don’t recoup.

So,. happy shopping!

Alicia Staz April 2, 2008 at 3:20 pm

I have always charged for a gift box, but I think after reading this blog entry and the comments I am going to offer it free!

Julie Rich March 14, 2008 at 7:24 pm

GIFT WRAPPING is the ticket. Our cookie company offers “delivered, gift-wrapped, cookie boxes” to be used as thank-you gifts by many professionals.
We have just recently launched, and after hours of research – we selected Nashville Wraps as our supplier. Our company will be as successful as Nashville Wraps because we believe in treating the customer just as they treated us. Great customer service, great products! Hats off to you folks.

HOLLY GRVELES March 11, 2008 at 9:49 am

This is also the first time that I have ordered from Nashville Wraps. I love your products and your merchandise. I make homemade candies and my customers just enjoy the packaging. I get a comment everytime someone walks by and looks at the candies. YOUR GREAT! Thank-you Nashville Wraps.

Jackie March 4, 2008 at 7:47 am

I loveeeee Nashville Wraps and buy all of my packaging supplies from you! I can receive my products within 2 days of ordering–love that! and the quality is outstanding!!! Customer service is always very helpful and pleasant, too!
Being an independent consultant, I thrive on building good relationships with my customers and totally rely on Nashville Wraps for making my products look absolutely gorgeous–something you don’t always see in the big chain stores. And yes, I do offer FREE gift wrapping! My customers and their husbands (especially) appreciate this service particularly during holidays. Keep up the GREAT work! You have a faithful customer here!

Karla Bourque March 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm

I just read this article and found it helpful. With my new ecommerce business, I ran a grand opening special of free shipping with purchase. Had my sales exceeded expectations, I could have really lost my profits with that. As this special is coming to a close with my predicted gradual rise in hit counts, I’ve been wondering what extra special perks I could add to my campaign that would really entice sales.

Thanks to your article, I’m seriously considering the free gift bag with purchase as an option.

I have an entire section slated to be built on custom and corporate gifting, and adding a free bag with purchase page as an option would be as easy as stocking a few environmentally freindly bags and tissues.

Thanks for sending the blog, and thanks for the great article.

Vickie February 29, 2008 at 9:04 am

I always order the designer bags to use during the busy holidays. They’re pretty and the best part – QUICK! We can have this kind of wrap done in minutes! I think the customers feels good when leaving the store with this pretty designer bag and colorful tissue. During the busy times the faster you can move the customers throught the more sales you’ll have! We put our label on one side right under the handle with the raffia bow. We sell a lot of Vera Bradley and the large designer bags are great for the large pieces of Vera Bradley.
Now that I know the comparison of prices – I’ll probably use them more throughout the year!

Sheena February 28, 2008 at 9:19 am

We carry fine silk and embroidered home products and accessories.
Therefore, not only is it important for us to give our customers good quality products but it is also important for us to package our fine linen well. Thank you Nashville Wraps for giving us an opportunity to do that. We use your bags, ribbons and other accessories to do that.Nashville Wraps provides us with a good choice of products and prices. Once again “Thank you!”

Leanna February 27, 2008 at 8:48 pm

We use Nashville Wraps decorated shopping bags to put every customer purchase in. It makes every purchase seem special. My customers appreciate it and comment on it regularly.

ElizabethW February 27, 2008 at 4:43 pm

I own a gift basket business in NYC and I do, in fact, reuse fancy shopping bags collected from other stores as makeshift purses and/or lunch bags. The building manager in my co-op even rescues couture shopping bags from the recycling bin and hangs them on a hook in the laundry room so folks can snag one when needed. From time to time, I do a quick demographic on the building by just flipping through the bags to see where my neighbors are shopping!

However, the reason I am writing is just to tell you how much I appreciate Nashville Wraps. You seem to do just about everything right. My purchases always arrive in perfect condition and are generally even nicer than I expected from the picture. I also love the low minimum which allows me to just buy a few of something to see how I like it before I invest in 500 or so. Your customer service is exemplary… which, in my opinion, is what distinguishes a great company from a good company.

I use lots of your stuff including wrapping paper. I like to wrap a small gift to tuck into most of my baskets to create a gift within a gift. Everyone seems to enjoy having something to unwrap.

Keep doing what you’re doing because you are doing is so well!

Lynda February 27, 2008 at 12:55 pm

As a female- I have always patronized stores that offer free gift wrap- so I definitely offer it at my children’s book store. Parents like to shop for birthday party gifts on the party day knowing it will be wrapped and they can go directly to the event. Nashville Wraps has the best- looking papers and the paper weight is great. I’ve tried other companies and the papers are either too heavy or too flimsy. They are about the only company that offers free freight with appropriate orders- and we all know how freight charges can be hefty on large rolls of wrap, boxes and bags!

Melinda February 27, 2008 at 11:03 am

Artworks Jewelry – – is an on-line boutique that features unique, contemporary handcrafted jewelry. Because the handmade jewelry that we carry is so creative and unique, it is important for our packaging to reflect this. We gift wrap every piece of jewelry or handbag that we sell at – free of charge. Customers receive a beautiful ‘gift’ (even if they ordered the jewelry for themselves!) and the gift packaging also helps ensure the jewelry is protected during shipping. We absolutely love the gift packaging from Nashville Wraps. We researched many different suppliers but didn’t find the selection, value, or service that Nashville Wraps provides – we use your jewelry boxes, velvet jewelry bags, wraphia ribbon, gift bags, and tissue!

Kira February 27, 2008 at 9:50 am

I didn’t used to offer free gift wrapping at the store, but started last fall and had it for the 2007 Christmas season. Though it is alot of work, I feel it is well worth it for the store. Great for customer service. Even if you just use the pretty printed bags with tissue, it is still nice to offer to your customers….Well worth the investment for our store…

t.j. reid February 26, 2008 at 9:41 pm

someone forwarded me your blog – found it great – going to recommend to my retail consulting clients. I already suggest your company for giftgrap to most of my stores. Put me on your mail list, please.

Karlene Ayerza February 26, 2008 at 3:57 pm

Thanks for the very helpful article. I am in the process of launching several e-commerce ventures all involving kids gifts. I was just examining the pros and cons to offering free gift wrap on my baby shower gift site. treasurekidsgifts is my test site which I test keywords and measure hits vs. conversions, etc. It is not a good example of what my other sites will be. I quickly launched it to test methods which is working. Anyway, my solution to the $10/present is not to have $10 presents. Shipping is so outrageous there is no such thing as a $10 present anymore on the internet.
Back to the gift wrap. My decision of offering Free gift wrap was just made when I read your article. I will offer it. You are right, that’s one thing the corporations won’t do. I can’t tell you how many $6 charges I paid over the holidays on my personal e-commerce Christmas shopping. I thought it was worth it at the time because of the limited time I had to wrap Christmas presents. Now that I think back, I resent it.
Thanks so much for the helpful information which led to my solution.
I had been looking for a packaging company to work with locally when I received Nashville Wraps catalog in the mail. That day I ordered hundreds of dollars worth of packaging. You had everything I had been looking for. Again, Nashville Gift Wraps has solved another problem. I can’t thank you enough.
Karlene Ayerza
Mymark Productions, Inc.

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