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Crafting a customer guide for holiday gifting

Dec 07, 2023 - Alyssa Wolfe
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According to McKinsey and Company, 47% of shoppers need holiday gift ideas. This holiday season, provide inspiration, drive sales and move inventory with a holiday gift guide. Gift guides educate your customers about your products and offerings while assisting them with what may be a difficult task: choosing the best holiday gift for friends and family. In this article, we'll delve into the art of creating holiday gift guides and provide valuable insights and tips to help you boost sales, increase customer retention and help your products land in the hands of excited gift recipients. 

The art of gift curation: Building your holiday retail guide

The key to crafting an effective retail gift guide is selecting the right products and featuring them in an engaging way. Curating a selection of retail items that resonate with your audience and move target holiday products is critical. Focus on the right amount of diversity to appeal to a wide range of buyers. In other words, incorporate a little something for everyone in your retail gift guide.

The starting point

Begin developing your guide by researching popular trends in your industry. Consider:

  • What types of products are popular on the social channels that your audience uses?

  • What does your audience crave?

  • How much are people spending on items?

Leveraging the latest popular trends can help you attract eager customers.

In addition to trending items, include some of your more unique and exclusive products. Many consumers seek a balance of items that help them stand out while staying on-trend. The more your gift guide can highlight that balance, the more successful your Christmas holiday gift guide – and sales numbers – will be!

Timeless holiday gifts (don’t forget the classics)

Holiday gift guides require in-depth research into past and present trends. You’ll want to include more classic items along with trending products. Think about what shows up in gift guides annually and which classic items competitors consistently feature.

The goal is to create an ecommerce holiday gift guide that blends old favorites with the new while meeting a variety of customer needs.

Maximizing sales with engaging holiday gift guides

Retail gift guide success isn’t solely about the products you choose to showcase. An appealing design and user-friendly navigation are also crucial components.

How to create an engaging holiday gift guide that tells a story

McKinsey recommends featuring products in a way that inspires experiences. Storytelling through your gift guide is a great way to do that. For example, you can have simple photos of each product you recommend or you can make it more engaging by creating a scene that features products and how they’re used. Look at the way top brands produce content that makes you want to be there and participate. Your guide should do the same.

Steps to take to create your gift guide include:

Determine the format of your gift guide

Dig into audience data to determine your holiday gift guide's best format and channel. Consider questions like:

  • Are you planning to share it as a social media carousel?

  • Will you create a print version and mail it?

  • Would an email attachment work best, and if so, will you make a video or a static document like a PDF?

  • Where does your audience consume your messaging and engage with it most?

Make decisions based on your customer data and audience behaviors.

Keep the user experience (UX) in mind

The easier it is to navigate and understand your guide, the better. Clear text, helpful images and concise product descriptions all work together to produce clarity that drives sales. Avoid any formatting that makes your guide hard to read or visually confusing.

Write product descriptions that generate interest

Copywriting is an art form. It’s painting a picture with words. Great copywriting has the power to boost sales. Product descriptions can do more harm than good if they come across too generalized. Instead, tell your customers a story about what makes each item the best holiday gift using your authentic brand voice. Keep it short and sweet, and succinct and clear to minimize the chance of post-holiday returns. Your product itself can do the rest of the talking.

Leverage cross-selling and upselling techniques

One benefit of retail gift guides is that they’re designed to generate multiple sales from a single customer. Gift-giving season encourages people to buy five of the same item, purchase a whole series or add a wider variety of products to their cart to cater to several different recipients.

Cross-selling and upselling techniques encourage shoppers to add gifts to their cart or consider a higher-priced item, which helps increase your seasonal sales numbers.

Digital gift guides: Utilizing online platforms and channels

People often picture gift guides as mailers and catalogs. While the customer base for some brands responds well to mailed materials, many ecommerce shoppers keep their gift-searching efforts digital. This makes utilizing online platforms the best way to reach your target audience.

Beyond being a versatile format, digital holiday guides allow direct links to product listings. This makes it easier for consumers to purchase products while browsing the gift guide. To make the most of the opportunity, take the following steps:

  • Optimize your website for holiday shoppers. Simplify navigation, allowing customers to move seamlessly from gift guide to checkout. Utilize suggestions and recommendations to strengthen cross-selling and upselling efforts.

  • Share your gift guide through social channels to maximize engagement. Consider running ads for extra exposure. Maintain brand consistency so your brand content remains recognizable throughout channels and add visible links to your ecommerce site.

  • Collaborate with influencers when appropriate. It can be an excellent strategy for expanding your reach.

  • Leverage partnerships to get your products featured in other gift guides. Pick the right products and ensure they match the categories and themes. Pitch why your “giftable” product fits their holiday gift guide.

Promote personalization and customization for a more memorable gift

Depending on your industry, consider adding customization options to your gift inventory. Personalization is a meaningful trend that many gift-givers lean toward to show gift recipients that they care. From embroidered initials on clothing to pets’ faces on coffee mugs, people love receiving gifts made just for them. If you offer personalized items, showcase the options in your gift guide to maximize sales.

Create your gift guide today

Shoppers want gift ideas for a variety of people in their lives – and a gift guide lets you do that in one place. By curating a mix of products across different price ranges, you can boost sales and enhance the customer experience. Get started on showcasing your best items in a retail gift guide today. Make the most of the holiday rush and get your giftable products to customers with the help of a trusted 3PL like