DTC Gifting
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The Gift Strategy for Iconic Customer Experiences

October 15, 2022
The Gift Strategy for Iconic Customer Experiences

You’ve probably read a thing or two thousand about the customer experience. If you’re steeped in the world of ecommerce, there’s a lot of hype around this pretty all-encompassing topic.

Your brand design, your product descriptions, the user experience, site speed, customer support—these things all fall into the CX bucket. Not wanting to be left in the dust, you’ve tirelessly optimized every pixel on your site to bring the best experience to your shoppers. But what about your gifting experience

The experience that shoppers have when they come to your site with intent to gift is often relegated to just another gift card (if they’re lucky), but is that really the lackluster experience you want to give your customers (and all the recipients of those gift cards)? Here’s why taking a closer look at your gifting experience is becoming increasingly critical to making a memorable customer experience that sets your store apart.

No More Sleeping on Your Store’s CX

The customer experience is one of the most important yet least tangible factors ecommerce brands try to solve for today. While some adjustments are easy to check off of your optimization to-do list, improving the customer experience is a broad, collaborative effort between different parts of your business and touches every part of the customer journey. And even if you feel like your CX is rock-solid from pre- to post-purchase and every phase in-between, there’s no single metric you can look at to know if it’s all paying off.

Instead, you’re left to make decisions and track effectiveness from a variety of data points, like repeat customer rates, churn, average order value, and more. That’s a lot of numbers to crunch, but it’s what could make or break the success of your store.

It’s a huge priority for ecommerce merchants and marketers alike. And while most online brands think they’ve made the CX really great, most shoppers disagree. CX platform Emplifi recently released a study analyzing this disconnect between company and customer. While 87% of companies claim to provide excellent CX, a surprising contradiction to this claim unfolded as only 11% of customers agreed.


A horizontal bar graph showing how unimpressed shoppers are with the customer experience brands offer.

A company's customer experience is crucial to its success, so how can there be such a fat discrepancy between company and customer perceptions?

Some may argue the side effects of the pandemic have forced businesses to shift their ecommerce strategy to new heights too quickly. Others may claim the shifting trends in consumer behavior is difficult to keep up with. Then there’s the fact that most online stores are making the same CX changes, all taking pages from the same playbook, leading to the same dissatisfying CX and almost no differentiation.

Whatever the root of the problem is, this breakdown in communication can have a number of negative consequences, including decreased brand awareness and customer loyalty.

In order to close the gap between customer perception and reality, companies must first take a step back and critically evaluate their customer experience from start to finish.

👉 Do they have a company culture centered around CX?

👉 How are they focusing on meeting customer needs?

👉 Do they have a system in place that provides insight on customer expectations?

👉 What kind of technology systems are used to optimize CX?

Once these questions have been addressed, only then can they begin to make the necessary changes to provide the customer with the positive experience they deserve.

Your Secret Weapon to a Standout Customer Experience

Like we said, a seamless and memorable CX increases all the good stuff: repeat customer rates, average order values, positive word-of-mouth, and more. When someone comes to your store and wants to buy for themself today, odds are good that they’re getting a good experience.

Assuming your store’s CX basics are functioning smoothly, their experience isn’t something that would steer them away from converting. If you provide a seamless path to purchase and they provide the rest of the details—shipping address, clothing sizes, style preferences, and beyond—buying becomes a no-brainer.

But if they want to gift your product, they’re left to piece together the experience or settle for an impersonal e-gift card. Oftentimes, when a gifter’s intent to purchase is highest, they’re met with the worst CX in ecommerce.

Cracking the code to a better ecommerce gifting experience is the key to perfecting your brand’s comprehensive, memorable CX.

Always remember that your customers are looking for a satisfying shopping experience, whether in-person or online. It’s one thing to buy for yourself, but it’s an entirely different ballgame when you are searching for a meaningful gift for someone else. The last thing a gifter needs is a poor customer experience on top of the added pressure of delivering a thoughtful, meaningful gift that makes a good impression on the recipient.

Putting your brand’s gifting experience under the microscope also elevates other key factors to your store’s shopping experience, including:

1. Creating Customer Delight

If your store can provide a stress-free experience regardless of the shopper’s intent—purchasing for themselves or for others—you’ll already be a step ahead of the pack when it comes to customer delight. Add on other gift-focused features, and you can expect guaranteed surprise and delight for the gifter and their recipient.

2. Building a Community

A community is made when many individuals come together around a cause, a mission, a set of values, or a central experience. Gifting is inherently a feel-good, do-good experience, and putting it at the forefront of your overall CX is one way to build a community around what your brand provides. It can increase visibility, connect with a wider audience, and radiate positivity in the world of ecommerce.

3. Connecting on Social Media

Social media is not just where people connect with their elderly Aunt Marge; it's where they engage, explore, and essentially spend a lot of time today outside of connecting with friends or fam. Half of US adults are scrolling social media now more than ever, and roughly 90% of folks under 30 use at least one social media platform. All this means that there's prime opportunity to enter these social medialites' daily scroll and start building some brand loyalty.

A bar graph displaying "Social Media Use by Age" with 18-29 year olds using social media the most and those 65+ using social media the least.
Broadband Search Social Media Statistics

Not only can social media grow your community, it can also build brand awareness. As consumer behaviors continue to evolve, brands need to find innovative ways to stand out amongst their competitors. Brands that are consistently present on social media benefit from building connections with their customers, showcasing their brand values, and solidifying their brand voice. Gifting weaves seamlessly into a social media feed—showcasing a standout gifting experience, highlighting your most giftable products, and sharing positive gift experiences are all great ways to connect with people across your social channels.

4. Expanding Your Content Strategy

One of the stressors of gifting is trying to figure out what to purchase. By integrating a purposeful content strategy, you can position your brand to make a positive, long-lasting impact on your customers. Some ways you can do this is to utilize your blog to offer tips, tricks, and consumer insight on the best gifts for that special person in your life. In addition, interviews, how-to tutorial videos, and helpful infographics are tools you can use to promote specific products to increase sales.

A gifting strategy that goes beyond gift cards opens up a whole new world of helpful, engaging content. Maybe consider going old school and rolling out a gift catalog, eh?

Whatever direction you take your gifting content, having a clear content strategy focused on addressing current trends and consumer needs can position your brand to be the go-to for all their gifting needs.

5. Personalized Digital Touchpoints

Personalizing the shopping experience for your customers is an important part of creating a memorable shopping experience. Incorporating personalized features like greetings, discount opportunities, exit intent pop-ups, or even abandoned cart messages are just a few ways to be by your customers' side as they move through their shopping journey.

There are many benefits to increasing your digital offerings and experiential touch points. Not only will the customer experience for your ecommerce store significantly improve, you can also position yourself as a brand committed to your customers’ joy.

Improve Gifting and Elevate Your Whole CX with Zest

Many times, the ecommerce gifting strategy is restricted to digital gift cards that can be printed at home or digitally delivered in an email or messaging app. This can be an unsatisfactory experience for the gifter and a forgettable gift for the recipient. These are woefully obvious pitfalls to gift cards, but it’s not always the brand’s fault. Digital gift cards are often the extent of the gifting experience because other gifting solutions simply haven’t been built.

Zest was built for ecommerce brands looking for a way better gifting solution and, as a result, a better overall customer experience. It’s an affordable and accessible platform that expands the world of online gifting for brands, gifters, and giftees—and it all starts with a button.

Zest's mock Shopify store Pineapple Co.
Zest's "Send as a Gift" button makes products easily giftable.

Zest’s “Send as a Gift” button on product and cart pages gives shoppers a clear and easy path to purchasing gifts. No more scrolling around product catalogs searching for the gift card. Instead, shoppers can pick a thoughtful gift and send it as a gift with the click of the button.

Once clicked, gifters pick out a gift card, personalize it with their own gift note, and send a memorable gift in a text, email, or direct message. Gifters feel satisfied sending a thoughtful and meaningful gift, recipients get the thrill and delight of digitally unwrapping a present, and the brand’s customer experience adds a whole new experience to earn long-term customer loyalty.

The ease of gifting with Zest strips the stress and pressure of sending the perfect present. Gift recipients are also treated to the best possible first impression with the brand they were gifted. Unlike a digital gift card, which can feel cold and transactional, gifts sent with Zest create a branded and memorable experience that sticks with recipients and turns gifting into its own acquisition channel.

For brands, Zest provides valuable insight into their most giftable products, how much of an impact gifting has on revenue, and how many gifters and recipients are new. People who want to send your products as a gift have the highest intent to purchase here and now. Removing friction, empowering personalization, and taking the stress out of the process enhances the gifting experience and your overall CX. They’ll remember this and return to gift again and again.

Complete Your Store’s Customer Experience with Zest

With the quality of your store’s customer experience playing a bigger role in purchasing decisions, customer loyalty, and differentiation, it’s more important than ever to optimize every nook and cranny.

Ecommerce gifting has been the same for decades, stagnating at e-gift cards. Today’s modern consumers don’t want to settle for the online gifting experience of 20 years ago, so now is the time to upgrade. With Zest on your website, you knock down the hurdles to sending any product as a gift while building a richer customer experience all around.

Gifters have the most stress-free gifting experience. Recipients are met with surprise and delight. And online brands get the gifting insights they’ve been missing all while closing the gap between the CX shoppers want and the one that brands deliver.

Liz Lorge
Liz Lorge
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