Father’s Day has just passed and July 4th is approaching. That means many of our retailer friends are already thinking about or even finalizing plans for their 2015 holiday shopping season. Elevating your online store to break through the noise level in a competitive landscape is not easy. The good news is that your customers love your products. However, data shows that many customers who purchase items for themselves online are not necessarily shopping for gifts at the same stores. Much of this is due to the various irritations involved with buying gifts for others online.
There are ways to reclaim this lost opportunity and capture the 15%-20% of online purchases from customers buying products as gifts for others.
With this in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips to help retailers better position themselves and be more successful with online gift shopping and delivery. These are just a few points that I found myself sharing at various industry events while talking about gifting trends and benchmarks. They are based on many discussions with retailers, Loop Commerce’s analysis of data flowing through our platform, and the trends we observed during recent gift-giving periods, including Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas 2014.
Here are a few points to consider:
- Make it easy for your existing customers to see 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 are selecting something “in demand.” Add a holiday wish list to your site if possible and try to provide a special receipt for gifting that does not include a price tag.
- Acquire new customers by targeting male shoppers, or female shoppers for male-oriented stores, who might not have purchased with you previously, by highlighting the ease of getting the perfect gift (in other words, not messing it up). These customers typically do not purchase because they fear buying the “wrong gift,” such as selecting a style, color or size that is 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% for Mother’s Day). As an added bonus, these ”new” male shoppers also tend to spend about 25% more on each gift purchases than women.
- 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. Especially for us guys who tend to leave things to the last moment. For Mother’s Day, we saw that 43% of all e-gifts purchased were “last minute gifts,” purchased the day before or on Mother’s Day. Do whatever you can to extend that last minute gift-shopping window.
- Don’t assume holiday shopping ends on December 25th. To everyone’s surprise, we saw that December 2014 holiday e-gifts continued to be purchased through the first two weeks of January 2015. In fact, 38% of e-gifts purchased from December 26 through December 31 were holiday related, as were 17% of e-gifts purchased in the first week of January.
- Don’t limit your gifting strategy to holiday times. We see an increasing number of gifts being purchased year round, offering a great opportunity for you to provide solutions for buyers looking for thoughtful gifts for birthdays and ”just because.“ These reasons accounted for 40% of all e-gift purchases even during holiday season.
- Make it easy for users to pull the trigger by providing hassle free exchanges. Another reason gift shoppers do not 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. With gifts, exchanges and returns are always higher since there’s a higher likelihood that a buyer will purchase the “wrong item” when it’s intended for someone else. We typically see 40% to 45% of e-gifts exchanged.
My recommendations do not require you to adopt Loop’s e-gifting solution. However, Loop does offer capabilities that overcome existing challenges and limitations, including those mentioned above. Consider the last point, for example: Loop’s e-gifting allows for virtual exchanges before the gift ever ships, saving retailers money and hassles. Or capturing the lost opportunity due to existing constraints for last minute gift purchases. And if you’re interested, there is still sufficient time to implement Loop within your online retail store before the holidays, since our average end-to-end integration process takes just four weeks. We will be happy to share more about what this would mean for you and your business.
You can read more about the gifting trends we saw around Mother’s Day in an earlier blog here.
CEO and Co-Founder, Loop Commerce
About Loop Commerce
Loop is driving a paradigm shift in e-commerce by removing the obstacles consumers face when trying to buy a physical product as a gift. Used by the world’s top retailers, Loop is the first and only enterprise-grade, product-based e-gifting solution that offers checkout, delivery and redemption of products as real gifts–not gift cards. Backed by PayPal and several other influential technology and retail industry leaders, Loop was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of “12 companies moving global commerce forward.”