10 Online Retail Perks That Encourage E-Gifting
Let’s face it: most consumers shop online more for self-purchases and less for gifting. In fact, a survey conducted by Loop Commerce revealed that 25 percent of shoppers avoid online gifting because they worry about buying the wrong size, while another one in four (24 percent) worry about the hassle of returns. There’s no set formula for reversing this sentiment, but there does exist a prime example of how retailers can encourage e-gifting — the “sharing economy.”
Sharing economy exists when consumers use others’ assets via the internet. Whether it’s apparel, transportation or a home, this peer-to-peer business model forces interaction between its customers. And while this booming industry is perceived as an unrelated disruptor, it reinforces two key retail concepts: humanizing a product builds consumer trust, and social interaction eliminates fear.
In its most basic form, the difference between shoppers saying “yes” and “no” is rooted in trust and fear. Here are 10 online retail perks that build rapport, erase doubt and can ultimately improve e-gifting sales:
1. Personalize all product content and avoid using the manufacturer’s description. Keep it short and stick to the three most important facets: size, material and fit.
2. Rather than just offer single shots, create interactive photos that can be zoomed and rotated.
3. Implement visible customer reviews near the product description, acknowledging such standouts as “Most Helpful.”
4. Create shareable hashtags that are unique to each product and can be posted on social media pages.
5. Avoid shopping card abandonment due to ship time constraints by highlighting instant digital e-gift delivery.
6. Provide shoppers flexibility wherever you can, from shipping to payment options. They’ll be more likely to buy if they have a clear understanding of return policies or, even better, knowing that e-gift recipients can confirm desired size or color — or even decide to exchange the gift to something else — before the item ships, eliminating the hassle of returns and exchanges altogether.
7. Recommend similar products that you offer, from “Trending Buys” to “Customer Favorites.”
8. Provide live customer service chats that can be easily accessed.
9. Openly state a return policy, combining it with such purchasing incentives as “money-back guarantees.”
10. Offer worried gift-givers buffer for errors. For example, services allow consumers to send thoughtful e-gifts without the stress of getting it right. Recipients enjoy the flexibility of modifying size, color, style or exchanging for another product altogether prior to it shipping.
Pablo Rodriguez is director of global consumer initiatives at PayPal, an online payment service for individuals and merchants.
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