Customer Retention

8 Gift Guide Ideas for Frazzled Shoppers

Shopping for gifts can be daunting. Stores can ease the burden with gift guides.

Holiday gift guides should appeal to all budgets and preferences. Consider creating categories based on price ranges, personalities, trends, and more.

Here are eight types of gift guides to consider.

8 Gift Guide Ideas

  • Gifts by price range work well for small or narrowly focused catalogs. Determine price ranges by average price points and the target audience. For example, discount stores could use ranges from under $10, $10-$25, $25-$35, and so on.
  • Gifts by category organize suggestions based on product types, such as apparel, electronics, and décor. They’re helpful for shoppers who know the kind of present they’re seeking.
  • Personality- and hobby-driven guides focus on individual recipients. “Dads” or “Moms” could be a category. “Thrill Seekers” could be another, for recipients who love things fast and furious. A fashion apparel store may offer items for buyers’ “smart and sassy” friends. A sporting goods site could include segments that appeal to boaters, campers, or hunters.
  • Hand-picked or curated guides evoke a sense of exclusivity. These can be based on what’s trending and popular or on niche interests. Curated guides work well for companies that instill trust in a community of customers.
Screenshot of a Crate&Barrel Gift Guide

Curated guides based on trending items rely on sales data to tell shoppers what’s popular.

  • Social guides rely on curating social media posts of customers or influencers around specific hashtags. It’s the most-used method of collecting and presenting those users’ favorite products. Many top brands rely on Instagram feeds for this purpose.
  • Trend-based guides rely on what’s in or happening now. Big brands often rely on celebrity and fashion trends, while others piggyback off the latest headlines or events. Backyard barbecues can inspire gift collections during the summer.
  • Quiz-based recommendations ask shoppers questions to determine their preferred items. Keep the questions short with 10 or fewer options. Note that guides needing shoppers’ inputs take much time to produce and likely require third-party tools that hook into product and sales data.
  • Staff picks are products your employees recommend to shoppers. Loyal customers trust the folks behind the scenes. Ask employees to tell their “story” by sharing what they love most.

Ways to Market

Having built the gift guides, your next steps are to market them, analyze their performance, and provide additional support.

  • Incorporate links to gift guides in the website’s primary navigation, emails, and marketing materials. Don’t leave shoppers hunting for gift suggestions.
  • Consider offering personalized help. Live chat and phone sessions with a personal shopper would be ideal for luxury stores. Or, shoppers can complete a questionnaire, which you could then respond to via email.
  • Offer gift wrapping and special messaging, so customers have gifts delivered to recipients directly. These offerings can make ordering a no-brainer.
Screenshot of a Nordstrom Gift Guide

Nordstrom uses callouts to promote extended support, such as styling and gift wrapping.

  • Analyze sales funnels to understand which recommended products sell best. Remove the slow movers and replace out-of-stock items.
  • Don’t forget to sell gift cards. They help gift-givers who can’t decide, while boosting your bottom line.

A Prime Benefit

With so many options, shopping for the perfect gift is more difficult each year. Done well, gift guides act as a prime benefit — a sort of white-glove service shoppers aren’t getting elsewhere.

And gift guides aren’t just for the winter holidays. Adjust the recommendations based on all seasons and holidays. Or create additional sections for birthdays and weddings, encouraging customers to return year-round.

Pamela Hazelton
Pamela Hazelton
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