In this previous post, we explored several interesting examples of interactive gift finders.
Before you can begin building an effective gift finder, you’ll need to understand what defines a “good” gift shopping experience. Ultimately, the goal of your solution must be to offer the necessary level of guidance and curation that helps gift-hunting shoppers find suitable gift quickly.
Building interactive gift finders can be difficult, especially when faced with restrictions on your budget, time, or resources. Apart from designing an engaging and compelling UX, you’ll have to have a system in place to easily manage and update the products – given that stock levels, offers, and prices are likely to change.
And that’s not all. The gift finder also has to be “intelligent” enough to generate relevant suggestions based on different user needs and preferences, because you’ll want to prevent situations like these…
Looking to avoid unnecessary challenges such as the ones listed above? Using a flexible technology platform rather than taking the time to develop a static, hard-coded finder yourself, is likely your best option.
For example, many retailers and brands found success with the SMARTASSISTANT Digital Advice Suite to create their own targeted gift finders. It comes with a highly interactive WYSIWYG advisor builder to create, design and tweak advisors. Perhaps most notably, it reduces the overall development effort by around 75%, allowing you to go-live faster. The powerful SaaS solution also integrates product data management features, an analytics dashboard, and automation capabilities to further speed up the process.
Whichever way you go, here are some best-practice tips to make your gift guide more effective.
1. Create an immersive experience
If you want to use a gift guide to create a compelling experience for your audience, then you can’t simply provide them with a list of possible purchases. You need to give them an interactive experience that centers around the personality, interests, and requirements of the gift recipient.
It needs to be easy to navigate and visually appealing, while still being brand-consistent. Get creative with typography, colors, and high-resolution images so that your solution is inviting and attractive to potential users.
2. Ask the right questions
Your solution should not be just another impersonal filtering tool. The questions you are posing to the user should be presented in a familiar, personable tone: similar to conversations had between sales associates and shoppers in store. Each question should help them to get closer to suitable gifts. Remember: your questions need to be easy to answer, personal, relevant, and needs-oriented.
If you have a large catalog, rather than pulling your entire product line into the gift finder, instead carefully curate products to integrate e.g. by popularity and/or relevance with a particular audience. When creating an interactive gift guide, it’s advisable to have a plan in place for creating versions for various occasions, holidays, or seasons. In any case, it’s wise to update them continuously.
4. Don’t overwhelm
The goal is to help shoppers find the right gift with ease. You don’t want to overwhelm them with multiple pages to browse through. Limit the displayed items, use visual cues to highlight best matches, and help users understand why you’ve recommended them.
5. Use eye-catching visuals
Your gift guide should showcase your items visually to capture the attention of your audience. Remember that today’s customers retain visual information better than written information, and high-quality pictures – both in the quiz and the results – make your guides more appealing.
6. Make checkout simple
Ideally, a customer’s journey through using your gift advisor would end in making a purchase. It’s crucial that your advisor process is integrated to allow for that. Make sure to use clear call-to-action buttons that allow users to seamlessly add items to a wish-list or their shopping cart.
7. Promote through visual email campaigns
You could have the most well-designed, highly-targeted gift advisor out there, but what good does this do unless people actually see it? Make the most out of the advisor that you’ve created. Promote your gift guide by focusing on making your campaign emails as “visual” as possible.
Visual campaigns are aesthetically pleasing, appeal to the emotional side of shoppers, and are oftentimes easier to absorb than text-based emails. With an image, you can show your customers exactly what they can get from your gift advisor, without having to explain the complexities. In a time when people are searching for simplicity, visuals can go a long way in terms of improving your chances of success.
8. Make sure you’re mobile-friendly
Today’s customers expect their online shopping experiences to be completely mobile-compatible. After all, US adults spend around 59% of their time on their smartphones. As studies show that 75% of smartphone shoppers will use their phones during the holiday season, it’s important that you make your gift guides as mobile-friendly as possible.
Test your guides for mobile operability (on several different devices) and make the purchasing process is as streamlined as possible.
9. Use Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool to interact with modern audiences. Take advantage of it by posting your gift guides on the social media channels most popular among your customer base.
One of the best things you can do for your customers is inspiring them and simplifying their decision-making and shopping process. A guided solution, such as an interactive gift finder, could help you to introduce the incredible experience your customers are looking for.
Do you want to create your own gift finder? Head over to SMARTASSISTANT to start your free trial or contact me. I’m happy to support you.