Special Report: E-Commerce & Catalog Technology: A Gift for All Seasons
It may be hot outside, but savvy merchants are already contemplating sleighs and snowflakes. With the holiday season comprising fully a third of all online sales, according to Forrester Research, now’s the time to begin building the strategies that will propel year-end success.
But we’re not only talking holiday season here. Half of all online buying is for other people at any time of the year, according to Forrester. So multichannel merchants should adapt successful holiday gifting tactics for year-round use during seasonal peaks and special events.
To be successful, your gifting strategy must be carefully planned and woven into the fabric of your site, rather than appearing as merely an afterthought to capture more business.
The gift registry from environmental health-related products cataloger Gaiam (www.gaiam.com) is a great example of a thought-out approach. Gaiam's Web site allows shoppers to create registries (see graphic on pg. 29) for any occasion and easily add any product on its site to the list. These registries can then be searched, sent to others and added to by other visitors.
“Our customers often shop for gifts on our site within a special area of interest, like yoga, fitness, apparel or even media,” says Gaiam's Vice President of Direct and Internet Jason Marshall. “Often people will register for a special occasion and request gifts within a category or area of interest. The gift registry is an important part of our site and can provide another way for shoppers to engage with us through the year.”
Chocolate-dipped fruit gifts cataloger Shari’s Berries mails three catalog editions a year and drives its remaining revenue through its Web site. Shari’s offers several price points, categories, occasion or holiday focuses, and other gifting options that align with merchandise it offers for a browsing customer.
President/CEO Kevin Beresford says Shari’s studies why people give gifts and who they give them to. “Then we use that information to help bring them back again,” by reminding them of gifts they’ve given in the past.