According to a recent survey, over 60% of consumers in the US prefer purchasing their holiday gifts online. After all, online shopping is fast and easy—not to mention free of large crowds, long checkout lines, and so on.
As the number of online shoppers increases each year, so do consumer expectations around browsing, customizing, purchasing, and shipping holiday items. Customers want gifting options laid out to them clearly, along with the ability to include wrapping and write custom messages to their recipients.
While not all eCommerce companies need gift messaging functionality, the ones that do implement it—particularly online retailers and other B2C sites—can experience significant benefits, so long as the front-end features and internal processes run smoothly.
So as you prepare your online store for the holiday season, consider adding gift messaging to the checkout flow, or evaluate and optimize your site’s current functionality to create a more streamlined and meaningful customer experience.
THE BENEFITS GIFT MESSAGING FUNCTIONALITY CAN PROVIDE
ENSURING A GRATIFYING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Purchasing a gift for someone online can often feel very transactional and impersonal, especially when the buyer never actually sees the item in person. For many, this can take away the joy of holiday shopping. But with the gift messaging option, you’re allowing customers to add a more personal touch to their purchase—and ultimately presenting your brand as one that truly embraces the holiday season.
MAINTAINING A COMPETITIVE EDGE
If you don’t include a custom gift message functionality, your potential customers may prefer shopping with a competing brand that does. It’s becoming an increasingly popular feature among online retailers, which means holiday shoppers will continue to expect it more and more. By not adopting this personal gift messaging trend, your brand may miss out on sales opportunities, as well as lose credibility among consumers—since not having the feature can make your site look outdated.
Here are a few ways to make your site stand out from the competition in regards to gifting options and functionality:
- Offer complimentary gift messaging. While most online shoppers are willing to pay extra for gift wrapping and other add-ons, many get frustrated if there’s an additional cost for including a personal message.
- Present gifting options on product pages. Showing customers that they can include wrapping, messages, and other gifting options with certain products—before they get added to the cart—can help avoid buyer confusion and stimulate more purchases. Currently, only 8% of online retailers do this.
- Allow customers to designate items as gifts in their cart. Many eCommerce sites only allow users to engage with gifting options during checkout. By providing the ability to add custom messages and shipping addresses to items directly from the cart, customers can enjoy a more streamlined experience. If this isn’t possible, consider adding a small description in the cart that explains what gifting options will be available, and at what point in the process.
BOOSTING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT, CONVERSIONS, AND SALES
Purchasing gifts for loved ones online isn’t just an emerging trend, it’s the new standard. In fact, $188.2 billion was spent online shopping in the US during 2020—a 32% growth from 2019. By enhancing the customer experience with well-communicated and seamless gift messaging functionality, your eCommerce business can expect to see stronger user engagement and increased sales this holiday season. Simply put, online shoppers want their gifts to feel personal when received, and adding custom messages to purchases plays a big role in this—even if it may seem like an afterthought to some.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT GIFT MESSAGING FUNCTIONALITY WITH SHOPIFY
If you’re currently powering your site through our partner Shopify, here is a fast and easy way to implement gift messaging:
- From the Admin Dashboard, click “Online Store”
- From the Online Store page, click “Themes”
- On your Live Theme, click “Customize”
- From the Theme Editor, click “Theme Settings”
- From Theme Settings, click “Cart”
- On Cart, check the “Enable Cart Notes” box
- Go back to Themes and click on the “Actions” dropdown menu, then click “Edit Languages”
- From Languages, click “Cart”
- Scroll down and you’ll see a field labeled “Note.” This is where you can add instructions for the customer. For example, you could write something like “Is this a gift? Write a special message for the recipient here.”
SETTING UP CUSTOM GIFT MESSAGING WITH CODAL
If you’re not using Shopify and need to set up custom gift messaging functionality for your online store, consider working with a web development agency like Codal. We’ve got over a decade of experience designing and developing eCommerce experiences that are optimized for the holiday sales season.
One example of Codal helping to improve a business’ bottom line by implementing gift messaging functionality is Garrett Popcorn. A famous popcorn retailer based out of Chicago, the legendary company was lacking key features on their eCommerce site, including the ability to designate purchases as gifts and add personal messages. Our team redesigned the site’s UX so that customers can quickly and easily add gift items to their cart, enter special shipping instructions, and of course, include personal messages.
Including gift messaging functionality in the customer experience will help your eCommerce business improve customer engagement and ultimately sell more products this holiday season. However, customizing the functionality so that it doesn’t add complexity or inefficiencies to your current processes can be a challenge. And that’s where Codal comes in. We can do an audit of your online store’s product pages, cart, checkout, and so on, then—with cutting-edge technologies and a data-driven strategy—build a UX and UI that exceeds your customers’ expectations.