Why the greatest gift retailers can give consumers this shopping season is time

The busiest shopping season is well and truly upon us; Black Friday followed by Cyber Monday and the inevitable slip into the Christmas and New Year sales. Renowned as the most critical period for retailers and brands – make or break in some instances, the period will bring the usual bombardment of advertising, pop ups, offers and emails across every channel and medium. Consumers are not immune from the stresses and pressures that such a period of concentrated shopping brings.

Finding the right gifts remains one of the biggest pain points of the holiday season for shoppers. Most customers start searching for gifts early and eventually buy in the last possible moment – a situation we’re all familiar. According to a report published by PayPal, the majority (59%) people find holiday shopping to be stressful and they’d rather do a multitude of unenviable activities instead. One in five baby boomers and gen-Xers would rather go to the dentist and about one in five millennials (19%) would rather text with their boss over the weekend.

Consumers crave a simplified shopping experience

One of the biggest frustrations online shoppers report is having too many options, a lack of inspiration and too little support. In fact, 29% of shoppers say that there’s too much to choose from, while 24% say that online stores don’t provide enough product information and support to make selecting the right gift simpler.

Often, shoppers feel lost in the digital environment. They seek ways to access trustworthy, authentic, and personalised guidance and assistance in a convenient way. These shoppers are more likely to rely on helpful search and navigation technologies to guide them through a website and make a confident purchase decision. As consumer expectations are rising, it’s up to retailers and brands to raise the bar. Those that simplify the experience and make the shoppers’ lives easier will be the ones that win the sale and increase CLV. In fact, decision simplicity in the purchase process is the #1 reason why consumers are likely to buy from you and recommend you. Research shows that a 22% increase in simplification doesn’t only boost conversion, but leads to significant incremental gains including a 66% increase in customer loyalty and a 78% boost in NPS.

The power of gift finders

The Humanising Digital report revealed that 68% of shoppers expect their favourite brands or retailers to provide them with honest and personal advice, while 44% expect proactive product recommendations and tips while shopping online. As a result, more businesses are beginning to deliver a conversational and assistive search experience through the use of powerful interactive gift guides and gift finders. 

These solutions go beyond outdated (and largely ineffective) filters to provide a live conversation that is intend-based and enabled brands to deliver a truly dynamic and personalised search experience. They inspire customers, boost their confidence and bolster sales while increasing the chances of repeat purchases for themselves in the future. 

The conversational approach is already proven to increase conversion (by +211%!), engagement (+76%) and customer satisfaction, as it eases the shopper’s path to suitable gift inspirations. Gift finders engage shoppers in a conversation, ask questions to understand intent and reveal data about the gift giver and recipient to engage, understand, convert and delight. Even the most indecisive gift shoppers can be guided to the perfect gift.

Canon: A snappy way to sell cameras

Canon was looking for an intuitive way to educate shoppers on the perfect camera that fits their needs. With hundreds of camera models to choose from, Canon wanted to find a way to bring simplicity to the process to battle the ‘choice overload’ problem that most shoppers face. With an intuitive and beautifully designed camera selector, shoppers are engaged in a conversation and recommended the perfect product, from beginners to novices, professionals – and gift buyers! 

Time: The gift that keeps on giving for brands and shoppers

Part of the reason why online retail is in such a healthy position is that savvy companies have become much more responsive to their customer’s pain points and are investing time and resources to make the gift shopping experience as seamless as possible for their customers. Convenience reigns supreme. 

Creating a great gift finder experience can make the difference between traffic acquisition and traffic conversion. Nevermind discount codes, flash sales and campaign gimmicks which only serve to lower profit margins and leave customers desensitised, confused and overwhelmed,  during the frenzied and highly competitive holiday period, give the gift of time to your customers.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.