DTC Gifting
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5 Tips for a Truly Memorable Gifting Experience

November 4, 2022
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As an online store owner, you know how important customer experience is to your success. And it’s not just another buzzword—it’s a really big deal. For today’s shoppers, your customer experience (CX) could be the difference between just skating by and scaling big.

Ninety-five percent of consumers are likely to recommend your company if your CX is perceived as “very good,” 94% are more likely to return and buy again, and 86% of shoppers are willing to pay more for a product if they’ve had a great experience shopping for it. With all these numbers stacked up, it’s no wonder that eight in 10 companies plan to focus more on CX in the near future.

Stats like site traffic and conversion rates are still important, but customer experience is what brings people back and gets them talking about your brand out in the wild. And with more than 2.5 million online stores in the United States alone, you need to make sure your store stands with a comprehensive and memorable CX.

One increasingly important part of the customer experience is online gifting. It’s no secret that ecommerce soared as more people had to shop online with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, but an important side effect of the growth was also a surge in online gifting. With (literal) distance keeping people apart, buying and sending an ecommerce gift was one very thoughtful and convenient way to stay connected and close. Turns out? That’s not one habit that’s going anywhere anytime soon.

"The pandemic has created a lot of anxiety. We’re reminded the world is not permanent. By giving gifts and things that are enduring and are a lasting expression of care, it helps us soothe a bit of that anxiety."

— Chris Gray, Psy.D. of Buycology

So, how can you create a successful ecommerce strategy that leverages stellar and memorable customer experiences in this new era? How can you ensure gifting gets the attention it needs today? Here are five ways you can create a positive customer gifting experience to grow, scale, and win the hearts of many.

5 Ways Create a Standout Gifting Experience for Your Customers

1. Offer a one-of-a-kind gifting CX that matches modern expectations

One way you can stand out in the crowded online shopping space is to offer your customers a unique gifting option that makes gift giving easy for them. Adding the gifting platform Zest to your website will help create an experience they won’t soon forget.

Zest offers an easy and convenient way for customers to send a gift from your website. More personal and engaging than a gift card, Zest offers one-click giving that allows givers to easily select and send the perfect gift. How does Zest work?

A GIF showing Zest's gift-sending customer flow.
The gifter experience in Zest includes choosing a gift note, writing a personalized message, and customizing the digital delivery options.

When you add the Zest “Send as a gift” button, all your customer needs to do is click the button, provide the recipient’s phone number or email, add a personalized message, and Zest takes care of the rest. Before shipping, Zest will confirm the recipient’s address with the recipient, and your customer can offer their recipient the option to accept or exchange the gift before it even ships. Gift shopping doesn’t get much simpler than that.

2. Brand your entire CX (no matter the customer journey).

You’ve worked hard on your store’s identity, and it plays a big role in how shoppers buy stuff for themselves. But just because someone is buying (or receiving) a product as a gift doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get to experience your brand in its full glory.

Use your brand to create a memorable shopping and gifting experience throughout the process. Use your brand colors and logo in your packaging, on your receipts, your social media, and all customer communications. When your branding appears consistently and thoughtfully throughout your business, it helps create a memorable customer experience.

Using personalized branded gift enclosure designs, consistent language and copy throughout your site, and sending your products out in packaging that reminds customers of their positive experiences with you will all help keep you and your store top of mind for your customer.

Plus, when you use Zest, you can upload custom gift note designs and even personalize your post-gifting emails to both gifters and giftees thanks to the Klaviyo integration.

3. Add unexpected touches and reward customer loyalty.

Ensure that your store becomes your customer’s first stop for every gifting need by surprising and delighting your customers throughout their experience.

If you are a seller of high-end or customized products, offering virtual consultations to your shoppers can enhance their experience, make decision-making easier, and give you the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell with gift purchases. Even online, more than 80% of shoppers have said they would like more human interaction during their shopping experience. This may not work for every online store, but consider your customer demographics and whether this ecommerce strategy could help boost sales of your high-ticket items.  

In addition, rewarding customers for their business encourages them to return. Creating incentives like “buy four gifts, get a bonus gift for you,” or offering a percentage or dollar discount for their next purchase will show you want them to return and gift again. (And every gift recipient is potentially a brand new customer that you didn’t have to pay for.)

Consider adding a small but thoughtful unexpected “extra” with their order. Slipping in a bonus promo item (that could match your branding), a sweet treat with a gift order, or a coupon for repeat shopping, will all contribute to making your customer’s gifting experience memorable.  

4. Welcome gift recipients and new customers positively.

In addition to following up with gift purchasers to gain feedback on their experience, follow up with gift recipients as well. When you connect Zest with your Klaviyo account, you can automate the sending of welcome and follow-up emails to remind your customers that you are, indeed, committed to ensuring their satisfaction and a positive experience with your store.

Getting your email marketing into the mix not only makes sure you won’t forget anyone, but allows you to track your ecommerce analytics. These welcome emails can include additional information about the gift, tips and ideas for using it, and offers to return for follow-up purchases.

Whether someone is giving or receiving your products, you have an opportunity to engage and personalize that journey. Share your brand’s values and mission with gift recipients who aren’t customers, show appreciation for the shoppers who are gifting your products, and unlock a whole new way to engage with gifters that didn’t exist before.

An example of an automated email marketing flow inKlaviyo.
A sample Klaviyo flow that personalizes the experience for a gift recipient based on if they're an existing customer or brand new.

5. Ask for feedback for the gift sender and the recipient.

How was your customer’s gifting experience? How was their recipient’s experience? What did they love and what can you do better? The best way to get the answers to these critical marketing and customer experience questions is to ask. Encourage your customers to provide you feedback and reviews.

A key component of a great ecommerce strategy is knowing what your customers want, and then providing it. Occasionally adding brief surveys that allow your customers to tell you just that can help you improve that gifting experience and become their store of choice.

Having 5-star reviews from customers “creates powerful social proof for inspiring shopper confidence and driving sales.” And isn’t that the goal of your business? When you follow up with customers and learn to ask properly for reviews, you are likely to receive a higher percentage of positive reviews. Also, asking for feedback from your customers (and following up on it) shows them that you care about their experience with you, and that you are committed to creating an excellent customer experience.

Don’t wait for a customer to contact you. Generally speaking, they are much more likely to reach out to you when they have a problem, and that can lead to a negative review. Be proactive and ask for the feedback you need to ensure a positive experience.

Gifting and Your Customer Experience Are Inseperable

Putting these five steps into action in your store can help you create a more positive experience for your customers, and especially a more impactful gifting experience. Your goal as an ecommerce business should be not only to sell and be profitable, but to build a loyal customer base to ensure those profits.

Happy customers are loyal customers. With more than 2.5 million choices for online shopping, it’s important to set your brand apart and above your competitors. According to research conducted by American Express, customer experience is one of the biggest brand differentiators and money-makers.

That study also found that customers are willing to be more loyal to companies that provide a top customer experience, and those customers will spend up to 140% more and remain loyal to that store. Loyalty is the key to long-term success—especially in ecommerce—and it all starts with improving your customer experience.

Taking the time to create a great gifting experience for your online customers can reap benefits far beyond the initial sale. So, which of these five will you implement first in improving your customer’s gifting experience?

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Liz Lorge
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