Five Things To Consider When Giving a Gift

A recent New York Times article You’re Choosing a Gift. Here’s What Not to Do offers five useful tips, based on behavioral psychology, for gift givers.

I’ve never been a good gift giver. In fact, it’s often tough for many of us to select the right gift for someone. A recent New York Times article You’re Choosing a Gift. Here’s What Not to Do offers five useful tips, based on behavioral psychology, for gift givers. These tips can help to ensure gifting success by giving gifts people will like and that convey the desired sentiment. 

Because a lot of what we do at GiftNow is based on the behavioral psychology and the human behavior related to gifting, I found the article quite interesting. The recommendations make sense but also open a conversation about how retailers and restaurateurs can even further enhance the gifting experience. (Look for our upcoming white paper on The e-tailing group/GiftNow Gifting Index coming in January!)

Five recommendations for Being a Good Gift Giver

  1. Ignore the Price. Is a $100 gift going to be better received than a $25 gift? Not necessarily. Gift givers rate the value of a product based on its price. But research shows that recipients do not. For them, the price does not necessarily reflect the enjoyment they receive from the gift.
  2. Give gifts that are usable. Many of us have a place in our garage for “white elephant gifts” — those things we received that we’ll never use. The gift should not only be functional but one that the person is likely to use. If the person doesn’t drink, don’t give them a great bottle of wine. If they don’t wear jewelry, don’t give them a bracelet. People will better appreciate—and likely think more of the gift and the giver—with a gift they will use regularly.
  3. It’s OK if the gift can’t be used immediately. This may seem really counterintuitive at first but, as the article points out, it may be particularly relevant in the world we currently live in. According to the cited research, people may actually prefer waiting a bit longer to use a nice gift than to receive a lesser gift immediately. People like having something to look forward to.
  4. Give people what they ask for. If someone wants to be surprised, let them tell you “Surprise me!” Recipients often feel that, when someone gets them a gift that they asked for, it shows they’re paying attention and they care.
  5. Instead of things, consider giving experiences. During the pandemic, I’ve seen various lines of thinking on this…why give someone a three gym membership when the gym may be closed off and on. Still, for many of us, the one thing we don’t need is…more things. I’d rather do something with a friend or family member, perhaps a spa trip or visiting a park that provides a lasting memory than get something that I don’t need and either have to regift, donate, store in the garage or toss in the trash. And, going back to recommendation number 3, it’s ok if maybe the gift is for sometime in the future.

What’s the Ultimate Solution?

If you’re not sure what the person wants, give them options. This is something we factored in when we created GiftNow. If you want to give someone a jacket, give them the option to pick the size, color and style THEY want. Or, let them choose to get something different, maybe jeans or activewear. With GiftNow, you can pick something that you think they’ll like with the freedom of not having to worry about sticking the recipient with something they don’t want.

Gifting shouldn’t be transactional. Gifting should be emotional. With GiftNow, the giver can personalize the gifting experience by creating a video, including a photo and adding a personal note that excites the recipient and conveys your thoughts and feelings, whether it’s a jacket, bracelet, handbag or even a gift card to a restaurant. (An experience we can hopefully look forward to in the near future.)

A Recent Example

My wife and I wanted to give my aunt, who lives by herself, something to cheer her spirits. My wife knew she liked Kate Spade but I wouldn’t have any idea what to select. My wife found something we thought my aunt would enjoy and we purchased it via GiftNow. We added a personal note and the gift was immediately emailed to my aunt. Turns out, she loved what we picked out but we knew she had the option to virtually exchange it for another item if she wanted. 

(My aunt is not “technically savvy.” Speaking with her after she received her gift, I asked her how she found the GiftNow recipient experience. She said it was simple and easy! And she appreciated the note we sent along with the gift.)

A Win-Win

GiftNow, our Gift Experience Management solution, can provide the ability to remove the stress of gifting—for both the giver and the recipient. It’s a win for consumers as well as for retailers and restaurateurs. By removing the stress for the gifter, retailers can help to reduce cart abandonment and increase gifting sales. 

Kevin Payne is the Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Loop Commerce

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