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The business of gifting: how to attract gift shoppers to your online store

Business · 5 min read

How your e-commerce business can cash in on the gifting market

IT’S NOT JUST SANTA WHO’S BUSY PREPARING FOR THE CHRISTMAS RUSH…ACROSS THE WORLD, CONSUMERS ARE HEADING ONLINE TO LOOK FOR THE PERFECT GIFTS FOR THEIR FRIENDS AND FAMILIES. SO, HOW CAN YOU MAKE SURE IT’S AT YOUR E-COMMERCE BUSINESS THAT THEY SPEND THEIR MONEY? WE’VE GOT SOME TIPS AND TRICKS TO GIVE YOUR BUSINESS THE EDGE.

If your e-commerce website doesn’t have a gifting section, you’re missing out on a very lucrative sales avenue! A recent marketing study1 found that customers who bought a gift from a store spent 63% more in that same store the year after the purchase (compared to customers who bought something for personal use.) In short, gifting is your opportunity to build some valuable, long-term customer relationships – as long as you deliver them a great experience in the first place. Here are 11 tips to help you do just that.

 

1. Make it personal

There's a reason we’re putting this first on our list. Personalization is hugely important in the gifting sector – in fact, 85% of consumers say it is the biggest factor that determines the perfect gift2. Buyers want to be able to customize their gift purchases to make them extra special for the recipient – and they’ll be willing to pay more to do so.

Here are some nice personalization touches your e-commerce business could offer:

  • At the checkout stage, allow the customer to add a message to the recipient to be included with the gift
  • Depending on the products you sell, you could offer to engrave, embroider or brand them with the recipient’s name or initials
  • Offer gift wrapping, and let the customer choose the color and design

Put your thinking hat on and get creative!

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2. Optimize your website

Ensure that visitors to your e-commerce website know right away that you sell gifts. Have fun with your homepage design – lots of festive-themed banners, animations and photos will let customers know they’ve come to the right place for their holiday shopping.

Put a dedicated “Gifts” tab on the homepage, for quick navigation, and allow customers to filter their search by popular categories, such as “gifts for women”, “gifts for men”, or “romantic gifts”.

3. Let customers be picky

In a survey by INQIQA3, 85% of consumers said that gift suitability was the most important reason to buy a gift or not – miles ahead of price (12%) and delivery options (3%). So, let your customers create their own gift “bundles” by selecting several products from your site to be put into a special hamper. This way they can gift something exactly to the recipient’s taste. 

 

4. Share gift ideas

Did you know that product recommendations account for an average of 12% of retailers’ total online sales revenues?Many holiday shoppers will head online to buy gifts without knowing exactly what they want. That’s when you should swoop in with some carefully thought-out gift guides to inspire them!

Be specific – you should have several gift guides, each tailored for a different audience. Use a creative headline to make an impact: “10 gift ideas to wow Moms this Christmas,” or even “Gift ideas for fussy people.”

Dig into your sales data to fine tune the guides based on what customers have bought previously, so that best sellers sit front and center. You should also send your email subscribers these gift guides along with a special discount code – a nice touch to make your most loyal customers feel valued.  

5. Suggest extras

Cross-selling is a great way for you to give your customers some extra gift ideas whilst earning you some bonus sales. For example, if you’re selling a necklace, why not suggest a matching bracelet at the point of sale – with a special discount if they’re bought together? You could also display a “customers who bought this item also bought…” product list next to the item they’re buying. This sales tactic is proven to improve conversion rates.

6. Be aware of changing consumer budgets

A big thing to be aware of this holiday season. 54% of shoppers intend to spend less on gifts for friends and family this year5, due to the rising cost-of-living crisis. But, let’s turn a negative into a positive! It could be the perfect opportunity to shift some of your leftover inventory at a discount. Just be sure to let bargain hunters know of any seasonal sales you’re running via social media and email.      

7. Offer gift cards

Indecisive buyers sometimes like to play it safe and buy a gift card for a loved one. Consider this avenue for your business – it could win you some extra sales!

8. Be loud on social media

A survey by the National Retail Federation found that 46% of Gen Z respondents used social media to get inspiration for gifts6. Shout about your holiday campaign on Instagram and TikTok: post curated product lists to inspire your followers, run competitions, and share user-generated content. Have fun and create a buzz!

 

9. Make your packaging dazzle!

This is your opportunity to deliver the “wow” factor and give the gift recipient a truly special, memorable experience. In fact, getting the unboxing moment right is so important to your brand that we’ve dedicated an entire article to it. From sustainable boxes to customized tissue paper – and all the glitter in between! – here’s how to make an impact with your packaging.

10. Shipping – think speed!

Be clear about your holiday delivery cut-off times at your e-commerce website’s checkout so that customers aren’t left disappointed. Partnering with an Express specialist like DHL means you can be sure of fast delivery – and your customers will be able to track their order right up to the moment it arrives at the gift recipient’s door.

11. ...and price!

In a survey by INQIQA, 52% of gift buyers said high delivery charges are one of the most annoying factors when shopping online7. Can you afford to absorb the cost of offering free shipping elsewhere in your business? It could stop you losing a significant portion of sales at the last moment – something we know will be annoying to you

12. Remember, gifting is not just for Christmas!

As an e-commerce seller, you should have a calendar marked with all the holidays where people exchange gifts to plan your marketing campaigns around. If you ship internationally, don’t forget to research other markets’ important holidays – for example, the UK has a different date for Mother’s Day than the US, giving you the opportunity to cash in twice.

Peak gifting season is here! These are all the consumer trends you should be aware of to ensure your business is able to make the most of every sales opportunity. Happy selling!  

1 - Eggert et al, The Best Travel Gifts, September 2022

2 - Truly, January 2022

3 - INQIQA survey, The Best Travel Gifts, September 2022

4 - Drip, May 2022

5 - Jungle Scout survey, The Future of Commerce, 2022

6 - NRF survey, The Best Travel Gifts, September 2022

7 - INQIQA survey, The Best Travel Gifts, September 2022

Anna Thompson
Anna Thompson Discover content team

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