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With people hunkering down at home this December, the giving season looks significantly different than ever before. But the celebrations are not stopping — consumers are projected to spend almost $1,000 per household on gifts and other holiday-related goods. Instead of a huge family gathering where gifts are exchanged in-person, gift-giving in 2020 is involving shipping presents directly to loved ones. 

That’s why e-commerce will define this holiday shopping season, which is fantastic news for digital retailers. A change in gift-giving behavior means a massive opportunity for brands to develop a relationship with two distinct audience segments: gift-givers and gift-receivers. Here are four ways to make the most out of these unique circumstances:

1. Offer Gift Cards

If your site doesn’t already offer gift cards, it’s time to add that to your product mix. Digital gift cards are beloved by eco-conscious shoppers trying to minimize their carbon footprint, as well as those who want to reduce the risk of purchasing an unwanted gift. When the shipping pipeline is notoriously strained, instantly delivered digital gift cards are a great way to alleviate some of the anxiety of last-minute shopping. 

For brands, offering gift cards allows you to boost brand awareness for both the giver (who is checking out your site’s offerings) and the recipient (who will browse and acquire your products.) If you impress them both you’ve gained two customers who, hopefully, will come back for more. 

2. Make It Easy to Find the Perfect Gift

For most, finding the perfect gift can be an extremely stressful process. To better assist these time-strapped shoppers who are navigating a crowded e-commerce landscape, consider providing them with tools to quickly discover appropriate products. You can:

  • Develop a curated gift guide. You’ll want this to exist as a standalone tab easily accessed from all pages, rather than a buried sub-page. Don’t forget to promote your gift guide in emails and social posts. 
  • Spotlight your best-selling products. Social proof works, and allowing shoppers to find your most popular offerings is a simple way to help them feel less overwhelmed. 
  • Add filters for popular gift-based categories. You can have these filters reflect our stay-at-home lifestyles and new shopping trends. For example, “Comfort Chic for Her,” “Nostalgic Gifts for Him,” or “Your Pet’s First Holiday” are filters relevant to our times. 

For more holiday sales tips:

5 Ways to Extend Your Hot Holiday Sales Streak Into Q1

3. Don’t Ruin Surprise Gifts

Nowadays, marketers have a plethora of data and tools that they can use to understand their shoppers better, from pixels to cookies. Although it’s become the norm to track shoppers’ digital footprints to serve them retargeting ads, these practices can become thorny during the holiday season when shoppers hope to keep their digital behavior under wraps. (This is especially relevant in 2020, when more households are sharing devices.)

Marketers will need to take a step back and consider their customers before launching their retargeting ads. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Track conversions properly. If a customer has already purchased an item that’s marketed as a holiday item or if they selected a gift wrap option, you could temporarily remove them from your retargeting list. 
  • Consider retargeting on mobile devices only. Desktop computers and tablet devices are more likely to be shared among a household. 
  • Consider retargeting via email campaigns only. Compared to social or display ads, emails are a more private and personal form of communication. 

Think about what role technology plays in your target shoppers’ everyday lives and operate with empathy. Retargeting ads are a powerful marketing tool, so remember: It just takes one misplaced ad to ruin a surprise. 

For more on running holiday ads:

Should You Run Holiday Ads During the Holidays?

4. Create Gift Sets

With shoppers accustomed to searching for the biggest savings when shopping online, gift sets and product bundles are an excellent way to deliver value. For shoppers who are unfamiliar with your brand and products, selecting a gift set can reduce some of the risk associated with purchasing a singular product. Holiday-themed packaging also helps make these bundles feel more festive. But beyond that, gift sets allow recipients to sample the products you have to offer, find one they love, and return for more later. 

5. Deliver Delight Through a Seamless Returns and Exchange Process

Though the gift-giving process looks different this year, it should still be a special one. Here are some ideas on how to alleviate the stress of gift-giving by making returns and exchanges a little easier: 

  • Allow gift recipients to easily exchange products for a different size or color. 
  • Extend your returns window, especially considering the widespread delivery delays. 
  • Make sure gift recipients can return gifts without notifying the gift-giver (e.g., don’t automatically refund the original payment method.) In your returns policy, you’ll want to clearly communicate how this works.  

For more on holiday shipping:

Holiday Shipping: The Ultimate Preparation Checklist

It’s Time To Celebrate

This holiday season will be an unprecedented one for most Americans, where new traditions will be forged. Luckily, by offering a thoughtful gift-giving and gift-receiving experience, you can be the brand that delivers holiday cheer. Ultimately, if you impress both the gift-giver and gift-receiver audience segments, you’ll have two customers to look forward to in the future instead of just one. 

If you’re looking for more ways to capture online shoppers’ attention during this holiday rush, check out the solutions that we offer here at AdRoll. 

Author

Steph is the Community Marketing Manager at AdRoll. A relationship-builder, she’s behind the Growth Guerilla Collective (GGC); the community for D2C marketers. Before AdRoll, Steph ran Customer Marketing at a B2B SaaS company in San Francisco. She is passionate about customer-centric marketing.