More than most gift-giving occasions, Mother’s Day is fraught with the angst of giving the wrong gift. No one wants to give mom something she doesn’t want, won’t use or—worse—can’t wear. As a result, many gift givers choose safe gifts such as flowers or candy. Nothing wrong with those, but they can lack the personal touch.
Retailers have solved this problem for their customers by using Loop Commerce’s e-gifting platform. Loop’s e-gifting allows gift givers the confidence to take a risk and purchase something highly personal that they really want to give mom because they know that she will have the flexibility to choose her desired color or size, or even exchange it, before the gift ships. E-gift recipients receive notifications of their gifts and are directed to the retailer’s online store to accept them, configure them to suit their preferences, or ‘virtually exchange’ them before the gift is shipped to the address of their choosing.
President Wilson signed a proclamation in 1914 designating the second Sunday of May as a national holiday to honor mothers. Almost from the beginning there was tension between the sentiment—to honor mothers—and the commercialization of the occasion.
Loop’s e-gifting solution helps overcome this challenge. By choosing a more personal item, the gift giver shows mom a more thoughtful side, and the collaborative nature of e-gifting means the gift giver and mom do something together—how appropriate for the mother-child dynamic of Mother’s Day.
And the results speak for themselves. E-gift givers this year did extremely well with their gift selections for their mothers. ‘Taking the risk’ of giving a more personal gift with e-gifting (instead of the risk involved in traditional gift giving) panned out. Based on our analysis of e-gifting from across Loop’s retailer network, most mothers (90%) accepted the e-gift chosen by their loved ones and simply modified it to match their desired color and/or size. So family members are happy, and the retailers also benefit from significant savings by enabling mothers to select their preferred gift color and size online prior to shipping, rather than having to exchange them after the fact.
Moms were very pleased with their e-gifts. In a survey conducted by Loop, 86% said their e-gift was “extremely thoughtful” and 14% said “very thoughtful.”
What thoughtful gifts did e-gift shoppers give? They chose a wide range of items with no one dominant category. The five top categories together accounted for less than half (47%) of the e-gifts given. They are, in fact, the kind of gifts that benefit from the recipient’s input before the gift is shipped:
- Handbags and totes 17%
- Clothing 11%
- Fragrances 8%
- Shoes 6%
- Wristwatches 5%
Among the many other products included, but less than 5% each, were jewelry and kitchen appliances, including mixers, coffee makers and juicers.
Loop Commerce, which provides this same kind of aggregate data and deep analysis to its retailer partners on a regular basis, found other interesting trends. For example, e-gifting is not just for the tech savvy young. About one-third (37%) who used e-gifting for Mother’s Day were 44 years or older, and nearly one-fourth (22%) were 54 years or older.
A bit more than half (53%) of e-gifts were sent to women who lived in the same state as the sender—the rest were sent by people in different states.
In a similar pattern to what Loop saw on Valentine’s Day and Christmas, more men used e-gifting than typically shop at the retail sites—41% of those using e-gifting for Mother’s Day were male. Men also spent about 25% more than women on Mother’s Day e-gifts.
Here’s another interesting item about when people purchased gifts. Folks began shopping for Mother’s Day as soon as Tax Day arrived this year. The first e-gifts for Mother’s Day were bought on April 15th. From April 15th on, a little over one-third (37%) scheduled their gifts to be delivered on a specific date between when they made the purchase and Mother’s Day (May 10th). This advanced scheduling is beneficial to retailers by helping them lock in the purchase in advance, as well as convenient to the customer by enabling them to get it done and removed from their ‘to-do’ list.
But just like taxes, Mother’s Day had procrastinators. There was a last-minute buying spike as 43% of all Mother’s Day e-gifts were purchased on May 9th, and on the morning of Mother’s Day itself, May 10th. The ability to deliver a truly last minute, thoughtful e-gift was obviously a ‘lifesaver’ for many.
The reasons people shared with Loop for using e-gifting for Mother’s Day suggest the very personal sentiment behind their intent:
- “I know my mom hates shopping, so I wanted to help her. I thought she would look stunning in this outfit. If not, she can choose something else.”
- “I wanted to get my mom a handbag, but let her choose which one. With this e-gift, she can browse and choose the one she wants before it ships. What a great way to shop together!”
- “I wanted to make sure my mom got the perfect color, so I figured I would let her select that herself.”
- “I wasn’t sure if this was the perfume my mom liked. If it is the wrong fragrance, she can easily exchange it to get just what she loves. Just like we love her.”