Breaking through the noise to establish your online store as a gift destination isn't easy. The good news is that your customers love your products. However, data shows that many customers who purchase items for themselves online aren't necessarily shopping for gifts at the same stores. Much of this is due to the various obstacles customers face when buying gifts for others online.
There are ways to reclaim this lost opportunity and capture the 15 percent to 20 percent of online purchases from customers buying gifts for others. With this in mind, I'd like to share five tips to help retailers better position themselves to be more successful with online gift shopping and delivery.
My tips are based on many discussions with retailers, our ongoing analysis of data flowing through our e-gifting platform from transactions made on Loop's retail partners’ online stores, and the trends we observed in aggregate across these retailers during recent gift-giving periods, including Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and last Christmas. Our retail customers include Macy’s, Lancôme, DVF, Urban Decay, Johnny Was and others.
1. Make it easy for existing and new customers to view your site as a gift destination. Why leave money on the table because your customers think they need to go elsewhere to purchase gifts? For example, add a gift section and highlight the most popular gifts by price points and occasions so customers gain confidence that they're selecting something “in demand.” Provide a special receipt for gifting that doesn't include a price tag (a real no-no in gift giving).
2. Add a wish list so buyers know what their gift recipients want. Many customers typically don't purchase because they fear buying the “wrong gift” — e.g., a style, color or size that's not right for the recipient. When you make it simple and intuitive for the buyer, you have an opportunity to tap into new audiences. Our data shows that a large percentage of e-gifting users are men (41 percent for Mother’s Day). As an added bonus, these “new” male shoppers also spent about 25 percent more than women on each Mother’s Day gift purchase.
3. Don’t let shipping and delivery deadlines limit your ability to meet shopper’s last-minute gift-buying needs or your ability to continue to sell holiday merchandise past shipping deadlines. Last-minute gifting is a huge opportunity. For Mother’s Day, we saw that 43 percent of all e-gifts purchased were last-minute gifts — i.e., they were purchased the day before or on Mother’s Day. Last Christmas, we saw 13 percent of all e-gifts were last-minute gifts, and 38 percent of e-gifts bought on December 26 through December 31 were belated Christmas gifts. Do whatever you can to extend that last minute and belated gift-shopping window.
4. Don’t limit your gifting strategy to holidays. We see an increasing number of gifts being purchased year-round, offering a great opportunity for you to provide buyers thoughtful gifts for birthdays and “just because.” Just because gifts accounted for 25 percent of e-gifts in the last 12 months.
5. Make it easy for customers to pull the trigger by providing hassle-free exchanges. Another reason gift shoppers don't purchase is to avoid burdening recipients with the exchange process — making them schlep to the store to get what they really want. Creating a frictionless exchange or return process will increase transaction volume and customer satisfaction.
As we head into the fourth quarter, there's still time to rethink your gifting strategy. By keeping these five tips in mind, you have the ability to capture a winning share of the gift market by offering your products as thoughtful gifts for your customers.
Roy Erez is the CEO and co-founder of Loop Commerce, a provider of an enterprise-grade SaaS solution for retailers to make every product giftable.