Keeping employee motivation levels up is a top priority when you’re managing remote teams. One of the best ways to do this is by offering gifts and incentives that recognize employee achievements and milestones, and boost engagement and productivity. Because who doesn’t love free stuff!
But what do you get for the developer who has everything? Or the creative director who is very selective about the shirts they wear? Or the nomadic designer who lives out of their luggage?
If you’ve encountered any of these situations, it may have caused you to question the value of company swag all together.
Thankfully, there are now swag providers who can overcome all of the common merchandising problems for remote organizations. They can help you offer incentives your employees will actually appreciate – and avoid the awkwardness and environmental waste of shipping out products that your employees don’t want or need.
What does a swag provider do?
Swag is rumored to stand for either “Stuff We All Get” or “Souvenirs, Wearables, And Gifts”, but nobody knows for sure. It’s essentially a trendy term for promotional merchandise that companies create for events, and to give out to their employees and customers.
A swag provider can help you develop, print, warehouse, and ship custom-branded products like USB sticks, t-shirts, socks, mugs, pens, and quirky remote work gadgets — without being roped into inflexible and costly contracts.
Many of these providers also offer print-on-demand services, so you can avoid the up-front costs of building inventory too.
Benefits of using a swag provider
If the thought of bundling branded merch and shipping them to remote employees all over the world makes you a little queasy, swag providers can help you avoid all the logistical headaches.
These best swag companies will take everything off your plate, with streamlined platform portals that enable you to easily pick and ship the right gifts, for the right people, for the right occasion.
Swag providers can also help your organization to:
- Elevate its branding with modern, professional merchandise
- Offer more meaningful gifts that align with your brand
- Keep costs down
- Ensure employees receive incentives they actually want
- Promote sustainability by not adding hundreds more unwanted pens and t-shirts to landfills
- Promote a positive, giving work culture that celebrates its employees.
Things to consider before partnering with a swag company
There are plenty of online swag providers to choose from, but before you put time and effort into setting up your company merchandise on one of these platforms, there’s a few basic things you need to think about first.
- Do they deliver globally? You don’t want to run the risk of any remote employees feeling left out because your swag provider doesn’t deliver to their address.
- Do they offer speedy shipping? When you’re offering gifts and rewards to your remote teams, it’s best to ensure they arrive quickly at their destination while your employees are still hyped about receiving them. Check that your swag provider’s global delivery times won’t leave your employees hanging.
- Do they allow returns or replacements? Online shopping is always a bit risky. If an employee orders apparel that is the wrong size, or their gift is damaged in transit, will your swag provider be able to remedy things and keep your employees happy?
- Will customs fees and import tax be a problem? The last thing your employees want is having their swag held up at customs – or even worse, having to pay unexpected fees to claim what was supposed to be a free gift for them. Check whether your swag provider will handle things like VAT and customs duties, and whether this applies across all of the countries your remote employees live in.
- Is the swag high quality? Your swag provider is a reflection on your company as a whole. If you’re shipping low-quality apparel, or items with budget printing, it can affect what employees think of your brand. Check customer reviews online first, and see if you can get samples of a swag provider’s most popular items to review the quality before you sign up.
- Do they have a range of popular goods that your employees can choose from? A good swag provider will have their finger on the pulse of consumer trends. They will stock a wide range of modern, eco-friendly items and work from home essentials that can help elevate your company’s brand, meaning you can delight your remote team members with minimal effort from your side.
- Can they help showcase your brand’s uniqueness? Swag is a great way to promote your company and help you stand out from the competition. Check that swag providers can create distinctive merchandise to showcase your brand’s personality and mission.
An awesome swag provider doesn’t just print and ship merchandise. You should view them as a valuable brand partner that will help you keep your employees happy, reduce staff churn, and create a positive work culture.
Some on-demand swag stores will even let you set up your own company store online where you can arrange a points system as part of your remote work perks. This means you can award employees points that they can accrue until they’ve got enough credits to order the swag they really want.
Whichever swag provider you choose, they should provide you with an excellent customer experience, which involves understanding your goals in terms of merchandise, and helping you brainstorm ideas for incentives that your teams will love.
How can you use swag providers in your organization?
Swag can be gifted in a wide range of use cases. You’d be surprised at how motivated and excited your employees can get over gifts like a new company backpack, or a bundle of fresh swag when they’re a new hire.
Here are some of the most popular ways that you can introduce swag incentives for your remote teams:
- Employee recognition gifts – Only 40% of employees say they feel recognized during the year for their expertise and contributions. But when recognition happens, employees are four times more likely to feel engaged with a company — meaning a boost in their enthusiasm and productivity.
- A small swag gift or appreciation pack as a mark of recognition for a job well done can make a huge difference to your employees’ well-being.
- New hire swag packs – Welcome your new remote employees in style with a swag bundle that will help them feel like part of the team from day one. Many swag providers offer dedicated company culture packs and remote hire packs for this occasion.
- Celebrating milestones and achievements – Make sure all those employee milestones are rewarded in style. Many swag providers will let you build custom bundles so you can personalize them in a way that’s special to each employee, which will let them know that you really appreciate them being part of your team.
- Morale boosters – It’s normal for teams and employees to hit a slump for whatever reason during the year. Sending a thoughtful swag gift can help boost morale and help your people get through those rough patches.
- Prizes and rewards – Swag makes a fantastic addition to your company quiz nights, competitions, virtual holiday parties, and team challenges.
For example, if you’re incentivizing your monthly wellness challenges, you could offer the top performers something like a mental health pack or a mindfulness pack as a reward. At Bright Breaks you can easily set up individual or team-based wellness challenges for your remote team. Swag is the perfect reward for the individual who won a draw, or the team who took the most well-being breaks.
4 top swag providers for remote companies
Here are some popular employee swag providers for you to check out.
Based in New Jersey, this popular swag provider has been around since 2017. Their aim is to eliminate all of the friction in the swag buying and distribution process, and they have a deep understanding of the evolving challenges that remote organizations face when it comes to shipping gifts all around the world.
SwagUp offers a range of pre-built packs, custom packs, and bulk packs. So there’s a comprehensive range of swag options for all your remote teams’ needs, no matter their size.
They’ll help you create, automate, and distribute your branded merchandise around the globe, so you won’t need to worry about anything.
If your organization prioritizes sustainability as part of its culture, this company offers a range of eco-friendly products, which you can check out in their sustainable lookbook.
This company provides merchandise worldwide, with a mission to simplify the world of branded corporate gifts. They provide a platform that streamlines the entire journey for your organization, to make designing and ordering your swag as simple as possible.
Monday Merch guarantees high quality, curated merchandise, with a range of pre-built packs, bulk packs, and custom packs available.
Their team can handle everything from design, to production, warehousing, shipping, and pricing. If you prefer to take a hands-on approach to your swag, their full-service platform makes it simple, and they have chat, email, and phone support if you get stuck along the way.
This swag company is also deeply committed to sustainability. Monday Merch items include organic and recycled materials, and they offer many plant-based items created from cork, sugarcane, vegan leather, wheatstraw, wood, and even coffee!
Whether you’ve got a team of 10 or 10,000, SwagMagic can help you deliver quality branded merchandise to your employees across 170+ countries.
You can create a dedicated store for your organization, meaning you won’t have to pre-print swag or pay for warehousing fees like you need to do with some of the other swag companies.
If you do need to bulk print and store your merchandise bundles, you can warehouse them with SwagMagic in a dedicated swag locker, and ship items whenever you need to. And as an added bonus, if you’re switching from another swag provider, SwagMagic will store your merchandise for free.
Like the other swag providers above, this company takes a sustainable approach to the items it sells. It ships gifts in recycled paper packaging, and offers a wide range of eco-friendly and locally produced products.
SwagMagic has also started a donation program for global warming NGOs, and a Give Back initiative to share the joy of gifting with the world. So if charity and sustainability is aligned with your work culture, this company is definitely worth checking out.
Another great option for swag gifts, SwagHut deeply understands how important HR’s role is in promoting employee engagement, motivation, and loyalty. And they’ve got you covered for every gifting occasion. They can take care of all your kitting and warehousing needs, and their platform is completely free to use.
Make choosing swag a breeze with carefully curated employee onboarding packs, milestone packs, and recruitment packs that can be shipped to 180+ countries. To simplify things even more, you can even send employees a dedicated link that lets them select their own swag goodies online.
Sustainability is one of this company’s core missions. Their goal is to keep their merchandise and packaging eco-friendly, from developing items from raw material right through to the end-of-life usage and disposal. They also belong to the 1% For The Planet network, and partner with responsible logistics companies who prioritize carbon offsetting to ensure that all your swag deliveries have minimum impact on the environment.
If you’re looking to keep your remote teams more connected and engaged during their work days — incentives like branded apparel, unique gifts, and cool remote work accessories are always a hit.
Whether you’re looking to recognize top performers, celebrate milestones, or welcome new hires, there’s a swag provider that can help you ship something to suit every employee.
We understand that creating a healthy culture of recognition and connection in your workplace is essential to keep your remote employees thriving. That’s why we created Bright Breaks, an employee wellness platform for remote and hybrid teams.
If your HR leaders are looking for new ways to foster employee engagement, check out our helpful free resources, or get a demo of our wellness platform to see how we can enhance well-being, happiness, and productivity in your remote workplace.