Jewelry isn’t the only category that can be difficult for gifting. Consider clothing and shoes? Retailers can often identify someone with “gifting intent” and respond accordingly, opening new categories of merchandise to new customers.
When I started dating my wife, it was easy for me to successfully find the perfect locket or bracelet. I would go to Macy’s or J.C. Penney, figure out my price range and go to the section that they could have labeled “Impress the woman you’re dating” so it was pretty stress free.
When we got engaged, buying jewelry got serious. We went to a jeweler – you know, the kind with a guard at the door. I calculated my 2x monthly salary budget and my now fiance picked out something we both liked.
After that, it got even harder. Why? Because jewelry can be one of those categories of merchandise that is simply hard to gift. Especially when you’re like me and your taste in jewelry is apparently “questionable” at best.
After a few botched attempts with buying things my wife disliked (but graciously accepted and seldom wore) she suggested that, if I wanted to buy her some jewelry, I take my mother-in-law with me to help me pick out something that my wife would like. That worked for a while.
So what do many of us do? We walk out of the store. Or, if we’re shopping online, we abandon the cart. We buy nothing. The merchant loses a sale because gifting can be difficult
Why is Gifting Difficult?
What someone likes in jewelry can be a very personal decision. And getting it wrong can be costly – in more ways than one. Does the recipient like silver, rose gold or white gold? If it’s a ring, what size? Do they like simple bracelets or large baubles? Even when you think you know their style, there are so many variants that it can become terrifying to make a purchase decision, especially if you know they may have to return it.
And jewelry isn’t the only category that can be difficult for gifting. Consider clothing: what color, style and size do they wear? Do they like a particular brand over another? Shoes? How many of us know another person’s shoe size? (Hey Susie, how’s it going? Everyone doing well? So, tell me, what size shoe do you wear?) Or maybe it’s a category that I am simply unfamiliar with. For example, I know nothing about buying women’s handbags.
So what do many of us do? We walk out of the store. Or, if we’re shopping online, we abandon the cart. We buy nothing. The merchant loses a sale because gifting can be difficult.
This is Solvable
It doesn’t have to be this way. First, retailers can often identify someone with “gifting intent” and respond accordingly. One way to do this is to have a gifting center on your website. (Something that the etailing group, in partnership with GiftNow, identified in their 2020 Gifting Index.) Or, often, retailers can identify gift intent, based on demographic information and onsite actions, when someone like me is looking at handbags or women’s jewelry because it’s unlikely I’m buying the item for myself.
And, once gifting intent is identified, it’s important to tailor the buying journey to factor in that the shopper is shopping for someone else. The messaging and shopping experience need to be different because shopping for yourself is very different than shopping for someone else.
The next step is to help the purchaser feel secure as they make their choice. The gifter wants to feel sure that the recipient will like the gift or be able to easily exchange it. After all, we don’t want to gift “a hassle” for the recipient.
With GiftNow, our Gift Experience Management platform, we designed the online gifting experience to address these challenges. If I’m buying jewelry for my wife from a retailer like David Yurman or Catbird NYC, I can select a gift that she can easily modify based on her preferences—perhaps switching from gold to white gold or adjusting the chain length—before the gift is ever shipped. Or, if I wanted to buy someone a pair of shoes from Michael Kors, I don’t need to know the shoe size or even worry if I am getting the exact color or style the recipient would prefer because they can easily alter it before it’s shipped. The gift is delivered digitally and the recipient can choose the size, color and the shipping destination. Or, if they prefer, they can opt for a gift card.
The Benefits for Merchants
By consciously designing your e-commerce site for gift shoppers and understanding gifting intent, you can help to reduce cart abandonment by making the shopper feel comfortable that the recipient will like their gift or be able to easily alter it for size, color or style, as needed. You can also open up new markets by helping to enable people to gift product categories they’re not familiar with. If you sell women’s apparel, you can create new sales opportunities for men who might not otherwise visit your website. And, you can become a gifting destination because you offer a gifting experience that sets you apart from your competition.
Kevin Payne is Vice President of Corporate Marketing at Loop Commerce