4 Hacks to Help Overwhelmed Consumers Buy the Perfect Gift This Holiday Season

4 Hacks to Help Overwhelmed Consumers Buy the Perfect Gift This Holiday Season

The leather wallet?

No, the Apple watch.

Maybe, a bottle of wine!

The gift choices are practically endless for holiday shoppers making their purchase decision-making process feel overwhelming. And as they hunt for the perfect gift, consumers will be bombarded with countless pop-up ads and email promotions—leading to information overload.

Shoppers are seeking unique gifts for a good deal. Therefore, store owners have two audiences to please: the giver and the receiver.

Your team must offer personalized products for the receiver and provide a memorable customer experience for the giver, which means understanding both audience’s desires and expectations.

“You need to consider the cumulative experience your customers have when they visit your store or website, what they think and feel, and what you can do to make it better,” says Alyssa Gregory, a small business expert.

Want to know how to make your products the #1 holiday gift on their list? Let’s explore how to persuade shoppers.

4. Put The Kids in a Category

Gift giving is more than just exchanging name-brand products. For most people, it’s a seasonal ritual that revolves around relationships.

You’re familiar with the adage: “It’s the thought that counts.” But that same idea strikes fear into many shoppers. Consumers want their loved ones to be happy with the gift they bought.

“People give gifts as a way of showing thoughtfulness and love to those they care about. Gift giving is a way to reinforce our feelings for others and help us feel effective and caring in a relationship,” writes The SmartGift Team.

To help the overwhelmed holiday shopper, organize your inventory by the recipient’s persona—a generalized representation of the individual. 

A MarketingSherpa case study found that personas increased marketing-generated revenue by 171%. Targeting the exact beneficiaries of your services eases the shopper’s anxiety while offering your business a competitive advantage.

Recipient-specific personas take into account the individual’s demographics, lifestyles, and external influences. You’re searching for the what, why, and how people choose products and discovering the path people take to purchase your products.

To gather this data, start by reaching out to your customer service team. They have first-hand knowledge about what type of individuals buy your products and what people admire most about your services.

After collecting this information, compile your findings into a persona profile. Here’s a step-by-step guide for creating a B2C persona.

In the example below, a local coffee shop developed a persona targeting caffeine lovers. It describes the consumer’s daily routines, online behaviors, and influences. The profile even digs deeper by exploring the person’s worries and fears.

IMAGE VIA IRON SPRINGS DESIGN

Now, your team can use these personas to categorize products to match the recipient’s interests.

For example, you can feature gifts specifically for the sports fanatic or the world traveler.

IMAGE VIA UNCOMMON GOODS

Product segmentation makes it easier for shoppers to find products that cater to their loved ones.

Genevieve Tuenge, owner of Crowhop, says:

“The ability for customers to easily find what they’re looking for is key to success, so it’s crucial to consider the mind and purchase path of your customer. If you don’t know your customers’ behaviors or patterns on your site, consider asking a few of them to give you feedback on your online store categorization.”

Now, let’s take a look at how your brand can provide more value to convince shoppers to buy from you this holiday season.

3. Show Them The " Oh Wow" Face

Selecting specific products as gifts is not always about the recipient; it is also a reflection of the giver. 

Psychology Today shared a story about how a son adamantly told his parents not to give his children expensive toys and clothing:

“My father likes to be thought of as a great provider, and his gifts imply that I’m not. My wife and I aren’t comfortable with our kids wearing designer jeans to school, and we’ve told my parents that but they don’t want to hear it. The holiday is always about him, not us.”  

Holiday shoppers buying overly expensive products increase tension in personal relationships, causing more harm than good. But why should your company even care?

Negative sentiments reflect on your brand, whether you’re directly responsible or not. And if friends resent a gift giver for choosing the wrong product, he or she will probably avoid your brand in the future.

That’s an unfortunate circumstance for your brand because “61% of businesses surveyed reported that more than half of their revenue comes from repeat customers, rather than new customers.” Moreover, satisfied customers transform into brand advocates, enhancing other customers’ experiences.

This season, praise the gift giver, magnify the value your products will bring to their loved ones’ lives. That value may be an intangible or tangible solution the recipient will benefit from today or in the future. Kay Jewelers executes this technique effectively by marketing its diamond necklaces as the solution to upcoming wedding anniversaries.

For instance, a mother with two kids takes the city bus for transportation every day. As a holiday surprise, her friend buys her a mid-sized SUV. The value in this scenario solves a major problem in the recipient’s life: reliable transportation.

What solutions do your products offer consumers? How can your brand become a staple in someone’s household?

“Ideal gifts are those that are still treasured after many years. The perfect gift is wanted, needed, deserved and appreciated. It has to be very thoughtfully and carefully chosen,” says Adrian Furnham, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at University College London and the Norwegian Business School.

However, gift givers aren’t shopping with this mentality. Like most shoppers, their value perception is derived by social proof and packaging.

Econsultancy found that 63%of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a website with reviews. Your ecommerce staff can easily accomplish this task by adding one of Shopify’s product review apps to your site.

Social proof also includes integrating brand ambassadors into your marketing campaigns. In the video below, comedian Tracy Morgan helps Beats by Dre promote its products as the perfect gift. The YouTube video received more than 2.2 million reviews!

VIDEO VIA BEATS BY DRE

Packaging lures gift givers to your products, too.

Studies have found that “the general appearance, visual attractiveness and capacity of product packaging to attract a shopper’s attention has a significant influence in the purchase decision.” 

Product imagery often serves as a way to optimize the customer experience and encourage impulse buying.

“Consumers look at the packaging and respond to how it makes them feel at that moment. If the consumer feels that the product can potentially satisfy their needs, it influences their buying behavior,” says designer Mudit Mittal.

During the holidays, your products must offer value to the giver and the receiver. And these perceptions will determine how people experience your brand.

2. Let Them Taste the Lifestyle

Researchers Cindy Chan and Cassie Mogilner uncovered “that experiential gifts produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts, regardless of whether the gift is consumed together.” Experiences are often more memorable because they become part of a bigger story.

To sell experiences, attach your brand to a lifestyle. This step involves embodying the interests and attitudes of a particular culture. For instance, Walmart caters to the bargain shopper, while Apple attracts the savvy, tech consumer.

Becoming a lifestyle brand often means personalizing your services and brand image to fit your target audience. Try revamping your brand packaging, or inviting customers to a fun-filled live event. 

Bonobos, an online men’s fashion retailer, opened guide shops to give customers a “hands-free” shopping experience. At a guide shop, shoppers can make an appointment, try on clothes, place an order, and have items delivered to their homes the next day. This model gave Bonobos the opportunity to double its revenue in four years of business.

For ecommerce owners, aim to enhance the unboxing experience for the recipient. Dotcom Distribution reported that 52% of American consumers are likely to make repeat purchases from online merchants that deliver orders in premium packaging.

Premium packaging involves selecting the right box, tissue paper, and filler. If you’re short on creative ideas, check out these Pinterest boards for packaging ideas.

IMAGE VIA TWITTER

The gift giver’s experience is a little different. They’re buying the product. So, create a worthwhile customer experience for them as well by delivering first-class customer service.

Here’s New York Times best-selling author Joel Comm raving about the amazing and exemplary service he received at the Hyatt Regency in Calgary. 

When frantic gift buyers come to your store, become a trusted product advisor. Support representatives should offer their expert opinions about the product selection. Give suggestions on what to buy and why it’s the best gift. With Shopify’s Facebook Messenger, you can provide  instant communication via a channel your customers are on anyway.

Listen to your customers’ concerns. Instead of just collecting feedback, make real improvements based on your shoppers’ ideas. Sending a handwritten note to the person also shows that your team appreciates the feedback.

Entrepreneur contributor Peter Karpas recommends working on the “unfun” parts of your business by improving the commonly dreaded payment process or scheduling follow-up calls after a product purchase.

“Building a brand and selling an experience is a long term goal and can’t be taken lightly. The whole business model has to be behind it. Half-delivering on a promise or not selling an experience people care about won’t cut it. You have to own it,” states Fraser Larock, entrepreneur, and writer.

1. Allow Your Customers to Say "I Love You Stinky Face"

Holiday purchasing is emotion-driven, and shoppers tend to choose gifts that express their feelings within a relationship. For example, a husband may buy a diamond ring for his wife to symbolize several decades of marriage. 

“Every customer has at least an emotional component to his or her decision. Smart business means understanding the emotional needs of customers and then catering to those as well as the practical considerations. You always want to market and sell to the entire person, not just one part,” says Inc. contributor Erik Sherman.

You can meet these emotional needs by involving givers in the personalization of their gifts. More than 70% of consumers said they expect personalized experiences with the brands they interact with.

Customization can serve as a key differentiator amongst your competitors in the marketplace, but it must provide relevance to the shopper, providing some type of usefulness. Experiment with giving your buyers product recommendations and the opportunity to participate in the packaging process.

For example, Amazon lets its shoppers customize gift packaging. Customers can include a packing insert in the box stating the giver’s name, add a personalized gift message, and select the gift wrap.

IMAGE VIA TASTEFULLYVIKKIE.COM

To take personalization to the next level, let gift givers customize the actual product. Offer options to change the color or the size and to add embroidery or engraving. You want shoppers to connect their uniqueness to the product—giving more value to the gift. 

Nike turns the shopper into a sneaker designer. The brand allows consumers go online and customize footwear, everything from the laces to the outsole. Nike sells these personalized products at a 30% to 50% premium.

IMAGE VIA NIKE

“Implementing a personalized product program is becoming easier than ever, with increasingly flexible manufacturing processes and innovations such as 3D printing enabling mass personalization at lower costs, allowing manufacturers to completely rethink traditional manufacturing and supply chains,” says Sam Osborn, former Content Marketing Manager at Fluid.

Personalization is the ultimate form of service. Gift recipients receive an original present, while givers take part in an unforgettable customer experience.

Do You Have the Perfect Gift(s)?

Holiday shoppers are desperate to find their family and friends one-of-a-kind products. And with too many options, the process can feel tedious and overwhelming. So, your team must make it a priority to please not only the gift recipient but also the buyer.

Organize your inventory to fit the needs of multiple recipient-specific personas to make the buyer’s life easier. Associate your product with a noteworthy unboxing and customer experience. And include buyers in the personalization of their gift purchases.

Convince the giver. Wow the recipient, and you’ll sell the perfect gift.

About the Author

Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice.