Great gifts always have that personal touch. From the choice in gift itself, to the little details like gift notes, personalization is key in the gifting experience. With gift cards, it’s especially important; the gift giver should be able to tailor their gift card the same way they would any other gift. The value of replicating that in-person gifting experience is vital.
A gift always means more when it’s thought out, personally selected, and carries a touch of thought when given to its recipient. It can be difficult to maintain this level of personalization when it comes to digital gifting, as it removes face-to-face interaction. If a store can’t bring digital gifts to that level, customers won’t buy them. Therefore if ecommerce merchants want to improve gift card sales, they have to start with personalizing the digital gifting experience.
So, let’s take a look at 5 ways you can personalize your gift card experience.
#1 - Customize the customer facing UI to set up a tailored experience from the start
A completely personal experience begins with the ability to customize how it appears to customers on your site. From start to finish, from a customer purchasing a gift card to the recipient redeeming the card, they should be presented with a consistent brand experience - as if they are having a great experience buying a physical product.
Make your gift card user interface (UI) more a part of that experience. Customize the language to match your region, and the voice and flair to represent your brand. This can alter how customers see and interact with your purchasing, balance look up, and redemption pages. This ensures a uniform flow and appearance with the rest of your store. The uniqueness of your brand will shine through, adding to customer experience, as customers simultaneously purchase their gift, fall in love with the brand, and become brand ambassadors.
#2 - Add multiple gift card images to choose from
Customers buy gifts for many various occasions and reasons - birthdays, holidays, or even just because. Merchants should consider this variety when building their gift cards, creating opportunities for customers to add further personalization.
Customization is just a click away; it doesn’t have to be difficult. All it takes is uploading a selection of different images for your gift cards, which will immediately elevate the customer experience. Turn a generic gift card into a highly personalized one and create collections for any holiday or occasion, using unique images. Customers can select the best option when choosing a gift card for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, and any other holidays or occasions.
#3 - Engage customers and recipients via email
Email is a significant part of the customer experience, and this extends to digital gifts. Merchants use email to communicate with their customers, and to deliver gift cards to their intended recipients. Personalization is a vital component of email - according to McKinsey, 71% of consumers expect personalization, and 76% become frustrated when brands fail to deliver it.
Start by customizing the emails that are sent to customers and recipients with gift cards. This includes the notification sent when someone receives a gift card, as well as transactional emails to the original customer. This can be as simple as adding your store’s branding and language to ensure a consistent brand experience from site to inbox.
Take this further with those original customers by thanking them for purchasing a gift. This should be different to your standard “thank you” email, speaking to the fact the order was for a gift, e.g. “Thank you for giving the gift of [brand name]!”.
For recipients, you can include product recommendations to really engage them and introduce them to your products. If they have previously ordered from your store, recommend products that will complement those they’ve purchased before or which other customers have purchased with similar interests. If they have no purchase history with your store, recommend bestsellers, bundles, or current popular products.
#4 - Allow customers to add a gift note and select the time their gift is sent
Just as a physical gift often includes a gift note, digital gift cards can too. Therefore it’s important to make it easy from the point of purchase for customers to add a personal note to their gift card. It’s a small but very important detail for your customers and their recipients.
And if you want to take this to another level, allow customers to tailor how and when their gift is sent. Typically, a digital gift card is sent to the original customer, then forwarded on or printed out. Instead, make it so gift buyers can send the gift directly to the recipient via email. They should also be able to choose whether they’d like the gift card sent right away, or select a future date they want it sent on.
These features combined remove a lot of frustrations that customers face when purchasing digital gifts. For example, customers often purchase gifts in advance but when gift cards can only be sent right away, that makes it more complicated. They’d need to either wait until the day of the event, or send it to their own inbox then dig through to find it to forward to the recipient. By allowing them to select a date, they can buy the gift whenever they want and know that the recipient will get it exactly when they’re supposed to.
#5 - Enable QR Codes for flexible redemption
With recent growth in in-person shopping, omnichannel experiences are the way forward. However, many merchants still offer both a digital and an in-store gift card, which can make it difficult for customers and their recipients. After all, it doesn’t make for a great experience if a gift recipient shows up to your store excited to spend their gift card, only to find out that they’re only able to use it online.
Merchants should instead simplify the use of digital gift cards, by enabling QR codes so they can be redeemed both in-person and online. Utilizing QR codes personalizes the gift card experience as it allows customers to choose where they want to redeem the card. They can shop online or in-store, catering to the recipient’s preferred shopping experience.
BONUS - Make it easy for customers to purchase gift subscriptions
What’s better than one gift? How about a surprise in the mail every few weeks? Subscriptions have grown significantly in the last few years, and many customers now want to share the experience with their friends and family. These make for an attractive gifting option, sitting somewhere between gift cards and a physical product. However in order to make the most out of this opportunity merchants need to make the process of purchasing and redeeming gift subscriptions simple and smooth.
To do this, allow customers to purchase a recurring gift for their recipient, selecting the duration of the gift subscription, and sending it directly. A major pain point that can arise where gifts are purchased similarly to a regular subscription; that is, the subscription starting from the point of purchase, rather than at a later date. Tied into this is the original customer being the one to create and manage the subscription account, requiring a handover process once the gift has been given. Instead, allow customers to send the subscription directly to the recipient and enable the recipient to redeem and start the subscription at their leisure. Once redeemed, recipients can then create their own account so they can manage their subscription like any other subscriber, or even continue the subscription when the gifted period is complete.
With personalization a primary focus this holiday season, we want to help merchants offer the most personalized gifting experience possible. Customers should be able to tailor their gift cards the same way they would any other gift, and the merchants who can make this a reality will see higher sales and customer satisfaction. Simple touches make a big difference, and it can all be achieved quickly and easily ahead of the holiday season.
All of the above suggestions can be implemented using Govalo - our gifting solution for Shopify. Learn more about the app here on the Shopify App Store, and click here to read about how Govalo led to a 3.5x increase in gift card sales for Felix Gray.