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9 Tips to Help Customers Finds Perfect Gifts & Drive Your Holiday Sales Like Crazy

Digital Commerce 360 recently revealed that “the pandemic pushed more shoppers online to buy gifts over the holidays in 2020, resulting in higher-than-ever online sales growth and penetration.” In the U.S. particularly, “shoppers spent $201.32 billion online during the holiday shopping season last year, a 45.2% year-over-year increase.”

With that in mind, plus a brighter economic picture in 2021, it’s safe to predict that customers will continue to spend more on gifts in the holiday season this year. This is aligned with Digital Commerce 360’s June survey findings: “42% of Amazon Prime Day buyers purchased at least one gift for the upcoming holidays.” Also, 20.3% of shoppers focused on gift purchases rather than buying for themselves.

What does that mean? It means you should make it as easy as possible for shoppers to find perfect gifts in holiday sales this year. In doing so, you can attract more customers, have more purchases, and drive more sales.

Here are nine tips to help you get started.

1. Create a Dedicated Page for Gifts

If you want to delight gift shoppers, consider having a page designed specifically for their needs on your website. By doing this, you keep shoppers from getting distracted by what you usually sell and help them quickly find their desired gifts.

Kate Spade New York has a gift services-dedicated page on their website, titled “all the ways we make gifting easy (and stress-free).” When a gift shopper lands on this page, they can see all the gift services that the brand offers.

Best practices for creating gift guides ecommerce

During a webinar with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Jackie Diette, Kate Spade New York director of eCommerce, shared that “gifting requires some effort and some research, so whether the customer is going to buy in-store or online, they are likely to be using online to learn something about the offerings.” They designed a dedicated gift page to ensure that Kate Spade meets the needs of gift shoppers. “They [customers] differ in how much they know about the person receiving the gift, they differ in how much help they want and they differ about the channel they use to purchase,” Jackie added.

2. Align Gifts With a Cause

If you can sell shoppers the gifts they want while giving them a chance to make a good impact on others’ lives, you’ll delight them.

Why? Two reasons.

First, whenever the holiday season comes, people think about giving. It’s not just gifting their loved ones but also donating to the community.

Second, since the wake of Covid-19, customers have become more socially conscious. Accenture’s survey found that “64% of consumers said they’re focusing more on limiting food waste and will likely continue to do so going forward; 45% of consumers said they’re making more sustainable choices when shopping and will likely continue to do so.”

Hence, aligning gifts with a cause will help you win over socially conscious customers.

For example, when a customer buys a gift from Wesley Gift Shop, Wesley will transfer part of the customer’s purchase to people in greatest need.

3. Allow Sorting Gifts by Attributes

Allowing customers to search and filter gifts helps enhance their shopping experience. When customers feel heard and appreciated, they’ll buy more and stay with you longer. PWC even stated that “the payoffs for valued, great experiences are tangible: up to a 16% price premium on products and services, plus increased loyalty.”

Here’s a good example from Luxdeco. On the gift page, the brand allows shoppers to sort gifts by many attributes such as featured, brand, color, and more.

4. Provide Diverse Gifts Based on Customer Needs

Another way to enhance the experience for gift shoppers is to divide your gifts into different categories based on shoppers’ needs.

To do this, think about what kind of gifts your customers are looking for in the holiday season. For example, they’ll buy gifts for their parents, spouses, children, and colleagues. They may also search for work-from-home gifts, luxury gifts, toys for kids, gifts for men, gifts for women, or gifts for couples.

Below is an example from Pookipoiga:

Examples of brands helping customers find perfect gifts based on their customer needs and interests

5. Provide Interactive Gift Finders

An interactive gift finder (also gift guide) allows customers to find the exact gift they’re looking for. Take a look at Uncommon Goods’ gift finder:

Benefits of gift finders for holiday 2021

A shopper can fill out this form by answering questions like “who are you shopping for?” and “what are they into?” After that, the shopper will get an initial list of gift ideas like this:

examples of gift finder recommendations

By offering an interactive gift finder, you can provide shoppers with product recommendations that fit their gift recipients’ expectations. Furthermore, you can use this insight to improve the shopping experience and adjust your retargeting campaigns.

6. Offer Live Chat on Website

Chatbots play an increasingly important role in delivering customer experience. Forrester recently shared that 42% of U.S. online adults said it was important for retailers to offer live online chat on their websites, up significantly from 27% in 2019. The research center also emphasized that brands can “influence purchase via chat with capabilities such as product recommendations, inventory availability, and in-store appointment scheduling.”

That’s why you should include live chat in your holiday marketing 2021. For example, you can use live chat to support gift shoppers if they have any questions while shopping in your store. Do this by setting up a trigger to activate the bot.

Here’s an example from Giftcard.com:

Examples of holiday season live chat

You can also suggest gift ideas through live chat if a shopper doesn’t take any action after some minutes.

7. Send Electronic Gift Cards to Last-Minute Shoppers via Email

The U.S. gift card industry is expected to hit $170.8 billion this year. New research from Incisiv also found that while growth in physical gift cards was 9% in 2019-2020, digital gift card (electronic gift card or e-gift card) adoption is projected to grow 23% by 2025 — more than 2.5x faster than overall gift card sales. Hence, it’s in your best interest to include e-gift cards in your holiday marketing 2021.

An excellent way to use e-gift cards is to offer them to last-minute shoppers via their email addresses. Why? First, according to Klarna’s survey, 79% of shoppers left their holiday shopping to the last minute and planned to finish buying gifts for loved ones within two weeks of Christmas 2020. Second, these shoppers are pressed for time and need to complete their purchases quickly. An e-gift card goes out via email and arrives immediately with no added shipping time or cost.

That’s exactly what Grace and Lace did in last year’s holiday season:

8. Show a Popup to Guide Gift Shoppers

Popups are effective in generating subscribers for your email marketing campaign. Sleeknote reported that eCommerce popups for collecting email addresses convert almost 5% of visitors into subscribers, followed by the service industry at 3.20% and SaaS popups with 2.6%.

But the benefits of using popups don’t stop there. You can also use popups to guide gift shoppers through their shopping journey. Here is an excellent example from Floweraura:

Why you need to add pop-ups to guide customers during holiday shopping

When a customer types a location or chooses a city from the “Popular Cities” list, they’ll be directed to a page showing all available gifts for that location.

Alternatively, think about when a customer browses from page to page but couldn’t find a gift they want. In this case, you can display a popup saying, “Don’t find your gift? Let our gift finder help you.”

9. Promote Gift Guides on Instagram

Your Instagram business account is a great place to promote your gift guides. For example, check out Le Tohfa’s Instagram account:

How to use instagram highlights to drive sales

As you can see, this online gift store states clearly what makes them different from their bio, “a unique solution to your ‘What to Gift’ problems.” Their Highlights also feature the types of gifts they’re offering, which helps draw followers’ attention.

Here are some ideas to help you promote your gift guides on social media:

  • Use Instagram carousel posts to share gift guides with your community and feature relevant products. Offer products tailored for different audiences or budgets to help customers find the right gift for the person they’re shopping for.
  • Use Instagram shoppable posts to make it easy for your followers to buy your featured products. Your followers can then tap on the product tag for gifts they’re interested in and see product information without leaving the app.
  • Include a link to your gift guide or interactive gift finder in your Instagram bio.
  • Make your Instagram Highlights gift-focused to feature the most relevant products ahead of the holidays.

Help Your Customers, and They’ll Stay With You

As said above, customers have already started preparing gifts for this holiday season. Hence, you should plan your holiday marketing and launch it as soon as possible. The earlier you do it, the higher chance you’ll drive a lot of sales.

To get started, follow the nine tips above to help customers find perfect gifts for their loved ones. Once you do good for customers, they’ll return their favor by buying from you and being loyal to you.

If you want to upgrade your holiday marketing 2021 strategy with an interactive gift finder, contact us for a demo today, and we’ll make it work for your business.

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Caroline Egan is the Global Content Team Lead at Zoovu with a background in content marketing and e-commerce technology. She is passionate about educating businesses about modernizing their approach to the intersection of e-commerce and brick & mortar and how to delight customers with unique digital experiences. When not working, Caroline can be found at early morning work out classes, cooking, and sharing a bottle of wine with friends.