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Best Practices

Best Practices

Virtual Event Swag: Tips for Shipping, Item Selection, and More

9 Feb 2021 | Heather Pryor | 4 minutes

In preparation for our company’s first-ever virtual user conference, RainFocus INSIGHT 2021, our team shipped SWAG to attendees both domestically and internationally. Our goals were to build anticipation for the event, encourage participation, and drive a deeper connection with our virtual audience.  As a follow-up, we received several questions regarding our fulfillment process and our virtual event SWAG strategy. To answer these questions we’ve put together this blog post with everything you need to know.

Tips for International SWAG Shipments

  1. Ship through USPS for the lowest rates. Rates may vary over time, but as they stand currently, USPS is typically less expensive than FedEx or UPS.
  2. Be sure to include a field for country code in your registration process. When you go to ship internationally, you’ll be required to enter a country code for your shipment. Having the country code on hand will save you the hassle of searching the web for the correct code.
  3. Budget wisely for international shipping. Another question you will be asked is how much your package is worth. More expensive packages may require a package protection fee. Consider sending smaller and less expensive packages out to your international attendees.
  4. Translate your SWAG items. If you are sending out written items, consider sending a translated version to those who speak and read other languages. Even if your attendees speak English, SWAG translation is a courtesy.
  5. Send your international packages out early. Shipping outside of the USA can take up to eight weeks depending on the destination of your package and the carrier you choose. The USPS website suggests that priority mail shipments take 8-10 business days. In addition, factor in delays that may come as a result of customs.

Tips for Domestic SWAG Shipments (USA)

  1. Plan the right amount of time for on-time shipments. Depending on where you are located shipping in the USA will be fairly quick. Plan 1-2 days for states closest to the origin of your packages and 3-4 for states that are farther away.
  2. Dimensions are just as important as weight. When planning your SWAG shipment consider which items will fit together in a tight box. The smaller your dimensions, the less expensive your shipment will be.

Other Considerations for Your Virtual Event SWAG Strategy

  1. Order all of your SWAG three months in advance at the very latest. Covid has impacted production timelines and resources so be sure to begin your design process early to ensure that your fulfillment company has plenty of time to package and ship your boxes.
  2. Emphasize SWAG deadlines. Let your attendees know exactly when your cutoff date is for SWAG sends (if you have one) and the corresponding criteria for receiving it. You may want to state this in multiple emails, during registration, as well as on your website.
  3. Ensure you offer an opt-in during the registration process. Not everyone will want a swag box. Identifying those who want the items will help you allocate resources appropriately. On average we only see 70% opt-in.
  4. Reduce your chances of error with one size fits all clothing items. Whether it’s sunglasses, backpacks, or unisex socks, simplify your packaging process with items that will delight all of your attendees regardless of their size.
  5. If possible, order all of your SWAG through your fulfillment company. Having one point of contact for all of your SWAG will enable you to better keep track of deadlines and mishaps that happen along the way.
  6. Design and order your boxes first, this one is a must! With all that is going on right now, printed boxes are in high demand and are taking longer to print than usual.
  7. Consider the purpose of your SWAG. Don’t waste money and effort by sending out SWAG that does not align with your event goals. For example, if your goal is to entice attendees to watch certain sessions, you might send them an event handbook with session highlights.
  8. Remember, SWAG is first and foremost a marketing tactic. Incentivize and enable your attendees to show off their SWAG whether it’s through social media or a virtual photo booth. Consider incorporating SWAG into your gamification. For example, you might award a certain number of points to those who post about your event with their SWAG pictured.
  9. Determine whether you will outsource your fulfillment process or take on the process yourself. While in-house fulfillment is less expensive, you’ll need to quantify how much you are actually willing to spend in employee work-hours. Outsourcing is much easier and may be worth considering.

Learn more about RainFocus INSIGHT and register for sessions on-demand at