How to Create Holiday Gift Guides Worthy of Your Customer’s Attention

How to Create Holiday Gift Guides Worthy of Your Customer’s Attention

For the holiday shopper, time is a limited resource.

The everyday consumer is juggling work, family activities, and a myriad of distractions. When the holiday season arrives, they don’t have time to decide which gifts to buy.

Businesses can help shoppers by developing unique gift guides that offer product ideas and easy store navigation. It’ll save your consumers precious time and boost your store’s sales.

A gift guide is one of the most powerful tools you can have during the holidays. It allows you to showcase your products, inspire shoppers, and stay top of mind throughout the season.

-Francesca Nicasio, retail expert and content strategist at Vend

Gift guides aren’t new to consumers, which means your team must get creative in your presentation and delivery. Let’s learn about different types of attention-grabbing gift guides for your shoppers.

Showcase Gift Guides Differently

Most buyers are stumped for ideas when searching for multiple gifts. They don’t want to purchase the same present from last year, and they prefer not to waste time sifting through dozens of websites.

So, lend your expertise to your holiday shoppers, and create guides that are easy to navigate and visually appealing.

Researchers found that site design influences credibility—“elements such as layout, consistency, typography, color and style all affect how users perceive your website and what kind of image you project.”

1. Curated Collections to Make Shopping For a Specific Person Easier

Quite simply, these collections are a compilation of items arranged with a specific theme, like gifts for dads including items from various categories like clothing or tech gadgets.

Curated collections work because the buyer sees a variety of products, and can envision their loved one enjoying one (or multiple) of the items on the page.   

Here’s an example from Best Buy showing Gifts for Him:

IMAGE VIA BESTBUY

Notice the list format of the layout design, the detailed descriptions that include model and SKU numbers, and the Add to Cart button in bright yellow.

This is easily done by creating a new collection within Shopify. 

2. Use Guest Curators to Add a Personalized Touch to Your Collection

If your brand is one that works with influencers regularly, invite them to select their favorite items, and feature them with a customized introduction written by the influencer.

This social proof gives shoppers another reason to buy your products today, not tomorrow.

IMAGE VIA AHALIFE

While it's not uncommon for influencers to show their support through advertisments or social media sites, like Instagram or Facebook, there's an additional layer of credibility that comes with having the endorsement directly on your site. 

While there is a line between "influencer" and "celebrity," a 2015 study by the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications found it "clear that the use of celebrities to endorse a marketing offer are perceived to enhance the awareness, responsiveness and brand image of products and creates a connection which forces a consumer to patronize a product." 

The study continues to state that though, "celebrities alone do not guarantee success" a combination of price, service and quality, can help consumers perceive a brand as more credible due to the endorsement. 

3. Product Collages

Product collages are a visual representation of sorted products—helping the shopper focus only on how the product looks and feels. Buyers get to decide whether they truly like the item without being price-sensitive.

Sticker shock is a healthy emotion that reveals a [customer’s] price sensitivity. Failure to induce sticker shock means you are probably underpricing services.

-Ronald J. Baker, author of Pricing on Purpose

Designing your store’s very own gift guide collage takes some Photoshop skills. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create collages. Make sure to add numbers next to each item to correspond with a link to the product page.
Once you’re done, your collage might look like the image below.
IMAGE VIA CLOSE2MYART.COM
Holiday gift guides are a great way to introduce new trends or highlight best-selling products. These visual collections of products facilitate the holiday gift-buying process for shoppers by aggregating everything in one place.

-Stephanie Wharton, marketer and writer 

Build Mobile-Friendly Gift Guides

Mobile devices have made it possible for people to stay connected no matter where they’re located. As a result, consumers are using their mobile devices to research local brands and browse for the latest product deals.

Studies have revealed that “75% of smartphone shoppers plan to use their phones in-store this holiday season.” Consumers will be comparing prices, checking for in-stock items, and seeking gift ideas.

Mobile shoppers want instant access to information...They are preparing themselves to make a purchase and are using their mobile phones as tools to find local deals or to do some comparison shopping in a quick and efficient way.

-The Nurun team.

How to Create Stress-Free Mobile Gift Guides for Shoppers

First, decide what will be part of your gift guide.

With mobile screens, you’re working with limited space; therefore, your brand must only keep key pieces of information. Your mobile guide may include two to three gift categories, a store locator, and a contact us page.

Next, plan your site layout—decide how the consumer will navigate your gift guide. Avoid creating multiple drop-down menus; the shopper should only have to click once or twice to reach her destination.

Macy’s created a special stripped-down microsite for its mobile shoppers, where they can click on the category and filter down the top gifts by criteria. 

IMAGE VIA MOBILE COMMERCE DAILY

On here, consumers can view more pictures on a landing page and add the item to their checkout cart or find the item in a nearby store.

According to the Social Science Research Network, 65% of people are visual learners, and images grab our attention and influence our emotions.

As more audiences access your content on the move, there’s increasing pressure on your site to capture the fleeting attention span of users who might just be browsing aimlessly in order to fill time...which means it’s up to your product imagery to do the job.”

-Richard Latham, creative director at SO Marketing

Postmedia, for example, displays crisp, sharp product images, giving mobile consumers a detailed perspective of what they want to purchase.

IMAGE VIA POSTMEDIA

With any mobile site, don’t forget to monitor the page load speed, tap target size, and checkout process.

You’re ensuring that every shopper receives a stress-free experience, helping them find the perfect gift for their loved ones.

Craft Unique Gift Guides for Social Media

Social media remains a strong source for shoppers to learn about new products and find gift ideas. It’s also proving to shape why people make purchasing decisions.

eMarketer reports that “45% of digital buyers worldwide said that reading reviews, comments and feedback on social media influenced their digital shopping behavior.” 

Social media has begun to replace a lot of activities that used to take place on other parts of the Internet. It seems that one of the greatest areas impacted is the way users shop online.

-Kimberlee Morrison, a SocialTimes contributor.

Platforms, like Instagram and Pinterest, thrive on visual and social content—giving brands a chance to incite emotion and instigate action with product images and join the consumer’s existing online conversations. 

Your team can post photos demonstrating the creative uses of your products, and identify the kind of experience you want your product to empower, like happiness, freedom, or adventure. By using Instagram Stories, your brand can even add video clips with your gift suggestions.

For instance, apparel retailer Express uploaded eye-catching images on Instagram showcasing its popular accessories with instructions on purchase the featured items. 


IMAGE VIA MOBILE COMMERCE DAILY

Pinterest is also ideal for gift guides because consumers can buy directly from the pins on their mobile devices—without having to leave the social channel.

The idea is that merchants can actually convert Pinterest users into customers right on the Pinterest site or mobile app. Users tap on the “Buy” button and can then select the specific product (like color, size, etc.) and then complete their purchase.

-Sarah Perez, TechCrunch

Bloomingdale’s buyable pins on Pinterest offer a frictionless experience for its consumers to shop on mobile and to purchase items with Apple Pay.

Your business can do with ease using Shopify's native Pinterest integration.

IMAGE VIA DIGIDAY

Once you’ve implemented these social gift guide strategies, you can mingle with your shoppers on their favorite social media networks, and spark their buying interests with creative product suggestions coupled with persuasive discounts.

Highlight Exclusive Promotions

Beyond a well designed, and highly curated guide, your sales promotion wording can actually motivate people to purchase your products.

If your brand isn't normally keen on offering free-shipping, offer it exclusively to subscribers of your gift-guide, or experiment with additional perks like two-day delivery, and exclusive discounts.

Make the experience fun by hiding an online coupon code in your social media guide. Or announce that the first 100 shoppers that purchase an item from your product collage will receive an additional free gift (something you could offer automatically with Shopify Scripts.)

Give Your Visitors The Gift of Guidance

With a million competing priorities pulling at you this holiday season, a gift-guide could easily be dismissed as a "nice-to-have" or "maybe next year" strategy. 

But remember, the everyday consumer is also juggling work, family, and a myriad of distractions. 

By helping them envision who they're buying for, and making it easy to buy on the spot, you'll increase your chances of them making repeat purchases for themselves once the holiday season is over.

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.