How Retailers Can Converge Online and Offline Gifting Experiences This Holiday Season
It's a scenario some of us are all too familiar with: It's a little over a week before Christmas and you haven't purchased two-thirds of your gifts for family and friends. Frantic, you immediately go online, search for gifts that come with overnight shipping, quickly fill out the information needed and then cross your fingers it gets to the recipient on time.
However, when you ask them about it, you find out you entered the wrong address or the size was too small or somehow when you selected Cobalt blue, the item turns out to be lime green. You end up wishing you just bought a gift card. Smartgift is aiming to rescue these types of shoppers going forward.
Smartgift, an online gifting technology for retailers aiming to improve customers’ online checkout experience, is providing a seamless experience for both retailers and consumers. The company's technology is virtually changing the way consumers check out on online storefronts.
"We're trying to create a seamless omnichannel experience for retailers and consumers," says Monika Kochhar, founder and CEO of Smartgift. "By simplifying the checkout process, we hope to improve shopping cart abandonment rates, shipping discrepancies and provide a positive experience for the customer. The platform is truly unique and helps improve personalization when gifting."
Smartgift works by seamlessly integrating with retailers’ already-existing e-commerce platforms by providing a widget within the online product catalog. If a customer chooses to check out with Smartgift, the platform launches the personalization platform for the item. Each platform is customized to the retailer's preference, leveraging attributes that are unique to the retailer and encouraging a strong cross-channel brand experience.
Once the details are entered and personalization is complete, the user, the order and delivery is processed by the retailer's current e-commerce software. From the customer's standpoint, the retailer is providing an easy-to-use, "no fuss" checkout process. The gifter chooses an item and only has to provide the email address of the recipient. Then, it allows the gifter to give a personalized card with choice of images, message and photo if desired. It even virtually gift wraps the item, allowing the gifter to choose wrapping paper for the gift. Finally, when happy with all of desired choices at checkout, the only information needed is the email address of the gift recipient.
The recipient will receive an email with the personalized gift. To offer a more "online" experience, the recipient has the option to record their reaction to the gift and send it to the gifter, along with an immediate thank-you note. The recipient then fills out the shipping information, correct size and other details. If for whatever reason the recipient doesn't like the gift selected, retailers have the opportunity to share similar items on their site, as well as the price difference, so the recipient can get what they truly want.
"We wanted to bring the offline experience of giving a gift online," says Kochhar. "Not only giving the consumer a seamless experience, but giving the retailer a chance to upsell items and lower shopping cart abandonment rates. We wanted to fight back against the gift card."