DTC Gifting
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Scale Your Brand with an Online Gifting Strategy

October 24, 2022
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It’s hard to find the right strategies to grow your store and scale over time. Attracting, nurturing, and converting loyal customers is tough work, and it’s even harder to do when seemingly every DTC store is trying the same tactics.

Your competition is vying for the same traffic through ads, SEO, website copy, and more to all hit the same goal: growing their store by acquiring more customers. But with more competition, ever-changing SEO algorithms, and tightening privacy laws, customer acquisition has become a puzzle that few have pieced together.  

However, your best opportunity to acquire more customers and scale your store may be right under your nose. Prioritizing your gifting strategy may be just what you need to round out your overall customer experience, differentiate yourself from the competition, and grow a thriving online store.  

What You Need to Know About Ecommerce Growth Tactics

As an entrepreneur, you understand the value of a thoughtful and researched ecommerce marketing strategy. Implementing a cohesive marketing strategy not only enables you to appeal to your target audience, it provides you with a structured plan on how to grow your business over time. There are infinite ways to run and advertise your store—and infinite ways to burn through your budget if your growth tactics are hastily done.

No matter how much prep work you do, though, it won’t change the fact that there will be challenges and growing pains you need to plan for. One way to combat these challenges is to assess your current ecommerce marketing playbook, learn from your past data, and optimize.

Your marketing is one of the first impressions a potential customer will have of your brand. Your ads, email copy, and social posts will most likely serve as a shopper’s only touchpoints with your store before they make a purchase, so it’s important to put care and thought into each tactic. Does your ad copy differentiate your product offering (or does it sound like every other competitor)? Does your email marketing engage your audience at the right time? Is your ad strategy being throttled by privacy changes?

Let’s take a look at some of the most common ecommerce growth tactics used today so you can start off on a good foot.

Email Marketing

There’s a reason that 300 billion emails are sent every day—they work. Email marketing is a highly effective marketing tool and its table stakes in the world of ecommerce. When was the last time you shopped online and the brand didn’t bug you for your email address? This pestering pays off, though, as it’s been shown that a brand’s emails can deliver nearly 70% of its conversions and boasts a $40 ROI for every $1 spent on the channel.

It enhances your communication with past, present, and future customers and allows you to keep them up-to-date on new products and services your business offers. Even better, it also allows you to easily reach a larger audience as more than 4 billion people have an email address. It’s a communication channel that’s a staple in the ecommerce industry as well as the everyday habits of consumers, which means that you’re meeting your shoppers where they’re already spending time—the inbox.

Email builds hype for product drops, can promote your other social media channels, extend your brand voice and reach, and, of course, encourage customers to take action on limited-time deals and head to your website. It’s a tried and true path to purchase for your shoppers, but its greatest downfall remains that you still need to earn every email address for it to have any impact at all.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is an ecommerce marketing strategy that requires a financial investment up front in order to reap benefits like increased sales and brand awareness. While the highest ROI isn’t guaranteed, 79% of marketers have reported profitable gains from their paid ad campaigns. Paid advertising offers many valuable benefits, such as quick results, opportunities for targeting and retargeting, broader outreach, and helpful analytics.

However, Apple’s privacy changes and implementation of App Tracking Transparency have all but shuttered the heyday of paid social ads. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for ecommerce merchants to see and understand their shoppers’ journey, how they’re engaging, or what content has the most impact. Ads have become part strategy and part guessing game, so unless you’ve truly dialed in your ads, this channel could be a gamble, especially when it comes to customer acquisition.


To take your business to new heights, personalization is key. Having great products is obviously paramount to your success, but does your ecommerce personalization add value to your overall customer experience? You can take advantage of ecommerce personalization, either online or via mobile app, by incorporating the use of personalized features tailored to your specific customers.

After all, 80% of shoppers state they are more inclined to purchase from a company that offers a personalized experience, and most shoppers are even willing to pay more for a product after having a personalized experience with the brand. Personalization doesn’t happen in a silo, though. Instead, it’s a tactic to consider as part of your other strategies. Personalized emails, ads, and landing pages are all parts of the puzzle. When creating these assets, consider what you can do to add a more personal touch. From adding Liquid language to your emails, building out perfectly triggered automated emails, and more, there are many ways to speak to your shoppers in dynamic, personal ways versus static, generic messaging.


While customer experience has taken precedence over pricing during your shoppers’ decision-making process, promotions are still a go-to for driving awareness and pushing people to convert. Ultimately, everyone loves a good sale! Use your time (and money) wisely by advertising your brand’s promotions.

With a plethora of sales promotions at your disposal, you can be sure to increase sales and build brand loyalty. Let’s drum up your promotional inspo with these tactics:

  • Contests and giveaways
  • Flash sales
  • Customer rewards programs
  • Free trials
  • Free samples
  • Referral incentives
  • Partnerships with like-minded brands

Whatever promotional model you choose, pair it with the rest of your marketing stack to ensure it gains traction and use. Advertise your VIP customer rewards in your emails, and entice more clicks when you collaborate with other brands for giveaways.

Influencer Marketing

It goes without saying that social media advertising is a hot ticket strategy in today’s digital age. While influencer marketing originally targeted celebrity endorsements before social media took off, anyone who has a powerful and active following nowadays can become an influencer.

Seventy percent of teens trust influencers more than celebrities, and more than one-third of consumers trust them more than brands. There’s a reason that social media influencers have generated such huge followings, and it boils down to relatability, personality, and trust. Businesses that leverage influencer and affiliate marketing are more likely to appeal to a wider audience due to the target audience influencers speak to, which means more engagement, awareness, and growth in the long run.

However, pairing with an influencer can be expensive. Get the most bang for your buck by doing your homework and making sure the influencer’s audience aligns with your key demographics, your brand’s values, and more. Even the best influencers could generate zero conversion if your product simply doesn’t fit the crowd.

Breathe New Life Into Your Brand's Marketing

It’s getting more challenging to stand out and provide an exceptional and memorable customer experience that earns long-time loyalty. With many businesses, including your competitors, using the same marketing tactics, many of these strategies are losing their novelty. So what can you do to breathe new life into your customer experience?

The truth is, your best acquisition channel might already be under your nose—your ecommerce gifting strategy.

Making your products easily giftable creates a new way for people to shop with you, a new way for people to share your goods, and a new way for you to connect and build relationships with people. People are most likely already purchasing your products to give as gifts, but without the right tools in place, you aren’t able to see what products are being gifted or who’s receiving the gifts. This lack of insight cuts off opportunities to advertise your most giftable products, understand how gifting impacts your business, or even build a relationship with and acquire gift recipients.

Adding or upgrading a gifting strategy could be exactly what your online store needs to elevate your customer experience, boost acquisition, and increase customer retention. It’s a warm, memorable moment for gifters and giftees, and if your gifting strategy hasn’t been given care or attention, it might be a bad experience or one that muddies your data.    

According to a 2019 Qualtrics study, customers claim their positive experiences have a direct impact on their purchasing decisions. Introducing a gifting experience to your customers holds the potential to improve not only your customer experience, but also your brand reputation, reach, and referrals.

Optimizing your ecommerce customer experience helps you build trust with your target audience. If your customers don’t trust your brand, they will not shop again with you. A happy customer means they will enthusiastically share their experience with friends and family, providing you with more business.

By developing a customer-centric gifting strategy, your ability to identify and meet the changing needs of today’s consumers will set you apart from other ecommerce retailers. When it’s easy to send a gift, delightful to receive a gift, and beneficial to understand the gifting data, everyone wins. But aside from ecommerce gift cards, how can you improve the gifting experience?

Zest Gifting App Creates a New Path to Ecommerce Growth

The best gifting strategy will check all the boxes:

✅ Add an easy, thoughtful way to send more products as gifts.

✅ Create a delightful, memorable moment for new gift recipients.

✅ Turn each gifting moment into an acquisition opportunity.

✅ Give brands clearer insight into how many gifts are purchased.

✅ Deliver data around what the hottest-selling gifts are.

✅ Differentiate one store from the rest and become a top USP.

✅ Offer a gifting experience that earns customer loyalty, retention, and growth.

With Zest, your store’s gifting experience will stand out from competitors with either no gifting strategy or offering only outdated gift cards. Plus, Zest’s Klaviyo integration means you have a path to connect with gifters and giftees that didn’t exist before. During Zest’s gifting flow, both gift senders and recipients can opt into marketing, so your brand owns that customer record to use and weave into the other marketing strategies.

Remember how critical the customer email address is? This is the first gifting platform that empowers brands to own the entire gifting experience and collect the email addresses of gift senders and their recipients. That marketing opt-in can turn gifters into loyal customers and nurture gift recipients into first-time customers. It’s a powerful piece of the customer acquisition puzzle, and ecommerce brands just haven’t been given the tools to fully tap into it.

Get Growing with Gifting

Most gifting strategies are limited to a gift card that is forgettable and feels impersonal to the recipient, doesn’t truly relieve the friction of gifting for gifters, and is difficult to build warm brand relationships from. Even if the rest of your ecommerce growth strategies are spot-on, a poor gifting experience could deter new shoppers from purchasing or diminish the odds of customer loyalty.

With Zest gifting, you have a convenient and accessible path to gifting on every product page, as well as a way to connect with and nurture first-time gifters and recipients into long-term customers. Your gifting strategy could be a gateway to serious growth, especially when paired with optimized email marketing, social ads, personalization, and beyond.

Are you looking to turn your ecommerce playbook into a total growth machine? Don’t leave gifting out of the mix.

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Liz Lorge
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