Creating a separate ‘gift centre’ for customers makes the online shopping process quick and effective, writes Hosein Moghaddas, VP & MD International, GSI Commerce.
With the Christmas rush well and truly underway, time stretched customers simply do not have time to search through arduously designed websites in the hope of finding their perfect gift. Hosein Moghaddas, VP & MD International, of GSI Commerce, advises online retailers how to make Christmas shopping quick and pain-free for browsers, from log in to check out.
Create a ‘Gift Centre’
In the midst of Mega Monday and the busiest ever online shopping minute in the UK, we are set for a frenzied online Christmas. With deals racking up, shoppers have all the more reason to go somewhere else if they can’t find what they are looking for on your website.
A good way to ensure that your customer has a seamless and efficient online shopping experience is to create a separately placed and marketed ‘Gift Centre’ on your website. This capitalises on previous searches and buying behaviour, allowing for a personalised shopping experience, in which customers can shop for items on their own terms. Customers can be afforded the luxury of setting their own search parameters and viewing options; allowing themselves to find their chosen gift as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Don’t overload your shoppers
It’s a familiar scene: you log on to a high street retailer’s website looking for a Christmas bargain, and are faced with pages of gift recommendations. Not only is this an inconvenience, but the fact is that many competitors or aggregators can offer an easier experience. Quite simply, why would you stay on a website that you have meticulously search through, when you can get a quick click experience somewhere else?
As a retailer, your focus should be to present customers with what is appropriate, not a mirror image of everything you have on file. The golden rule is to keep it short and snappy, 2-3 pages of results, as this is generally how far a customer will browse before becoming frustrated and searching elsewhere. Make your recommendations based on trends, most popular gifts and top selling products within your customer’s desired price range. In short, fit your suggestions within the realms of the customer’s agenda.
Personalise, personalise, personalise
Presenting gift recommendations through a number of different item groupings allows retailers to differentiate their gift centre from normal navigation.
One option to consider includes dividing items by ‘personas’, which leaves shoppers free to filter searches by specific personalities and interests. For example, a sports retailer could present gifts utilising different ‘personality’ categories, such as ‘The Outdoorsman’, ‘The Gym Rat’ and ‘The Savvy Swimmer’.
Another effective method is presenting ideas through ‘Top Rated’, ‘Top Sellers’ or ‘Most Wanted’ lists, which gives shoppers a clear idea of what’s hot this year. Equally, with a recession addled Christmas on the horizon, pricing brackets, such as ‘Gifts under £15,’ is a clear way of allowing the cash-conscious customer to get what they want out of an online shop as quickly as possible.
Separate your services
Creating a separate ‘Gift Services’ page is a simple, yet effective way of clearly showing additional options available to customers, that they can be taken advantage of at will. Such services could include alternate payment options, such as PayPal, or any gift wrap and messaging services you may offer.
The early bird catches the worm
The festive rush starts earlier every year, which puts greater pressure on shipping deadlines and shopping windows.
To get your gift centre at a peak position in search engine rankings, retailers should make full use of title and meta description tags, in addition to targeted key words.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Since you’re really limiting the amount of products you’re offering in the gift centre, it’s imperative to carefully monitor how these are performing. Keep a close eye on available sales, click through rates and conversion data, and update your product offering according to what your customers are telling you.
In short, consumers do not want to be searching the ends of the earth for your festive offering, especially since they have so much opportunity to buy elsewhere. If done well, a gift centre not only makes it easier for the shopper, but provides the retailer with priceless perspective on what they customers are looking for and why, leaving the web manager to respond to trends swiftly and intelligently.
By Hosein Moghaddas
VP & MD International