Online Presence Essential to Succeed in the Gifting Market

Author // Pamela Danzinger Categories // The Luxury Market

New Unity Marketing report finds that gift shoppers turn first online when shopping for gifts

Online Presence Essential to Succeed in the Gifting Market

In a reversal of historic trends, gift shoppers now rate online shopping venues as their primary 'go-to' source for gifting purchases,

making an online e-commerce presence essential to the success of gift retailers. This is according to the Gifting Report 2012, the newest report from Unity Marketing.

In the report summarizing the results of a new survey among 1.939 recent gift buyers, Unity Marketing reveals that over half (52 percent) of all gifting consumers consider the internet/online websites as their regular 'go-to' destination for gift purchases, replacing discount department stores, such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target, as gift shoppers' number one shopping destination. Back in 2010, the last time the gifting survey was done, only 39 percent of gift shoppers rated online as their 'go-to' destination.

When asked about special store features that make a destination more attractive for gift shopping, the trend that really stands out in 2012is how much more important online access is to the gift shoppers. What gift shoppers want most in a shopping destinationis thatthe shopping experience be easy and convenient, and online has a leg up in that area becauseit allows people to shop anytime and anywhere. The availability of internet access to the products and services offered by a retailer moved the most in terms of importance from 2010 to 2012.

"In the past five years, we have seen an evolution in the way that gifting consumers view online shopping destinations," says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the report. "Not too long ago, the conventional wisdom held that consumers might do research online, but they preferred to make purchases in physical locations that would allow them to leave with gift in hand."

"Today, the opposite is true. Gifting consumers are looking for the convenience of being able to research and make a purchase without interrupting their day with a shopping trip. Combined with the ability of online shopping destinations to offer unique or special products that might be costly to offer in a physical store, this is a powerful reason for marketers to invest in their online presence."

Take Action>> Examine Your Online Presence

Danziger suggests marketers take a look at their online sales presence from the prospective of a consumer, asking the following questions:

  • Is my site reliable and can the customer get satisfaction fast? Gifting consumers crave the ability to shop from home 24/7, so frequent downtime is a serious problem for online retailers, as is delays in shipping.  Online marketers must expediate orders so gifts arrive at the destination in time for the holiday or special occasion.  Twenty-four hour turn around for new orders is going to become industry standard.
  • Do I offer free shipping? Consumers do not want to have to pay for shipping from an online store any more than they pay for shipping from a physical store. Offering this perk is key to making the sale.  Zappos.com nails this with free shipping always.
  • Are my items easy to research? Consumers look to the internet for research, time saving, and gift selection. Offer consumers the ability to compare similar items on a site, look at prices and sales, and read customer reviews.  Amazon.com is noted for providing reliable customer reviews.

To learn more about the behavior of the gifting consumer, start with the The Gifting Report 2012: The Ultimate Guide to the Consumer Gift-Giving Market.

Take Action>>  Understand Your Customers' Gifting Behaviors

Building upon previous research conducted on the gifting market, The Gifting Report 2012 presents an expanded view of consumers' gift buying and giving behavior based upon a survey of 1,939 gift buyers conducted in January 2012.  By comparing the current results with those from a similar survey conducted in January 2010 provide tracking of key trends in the gifting market.  Intended for marketers and retailers that tap the gift market, this report presents:

  • Gifting behavior by holiday and occasion: Key characteristics of the gifting market, such as on what holidays and occasions consumers buy gifts, how many people they buy gifts for and their relationship with the gift recipient, such as spouse, child, close family member, etc. and how much they spend. This report also reveals what range of products people choose for gifts, what drives their selection of particular gifts and what drives their selection of stores to shop for gifts.
  • Demographics of the gifting market: How many households buy gifts, how much they spend by key demographics, and the key different demographic segments within the gifts market (e.g. HHI, age, size, composition, education, etc.)
  • Gifts market buying behavior: What are the primary characteristics of the consumers' buying behavior related to different gifts? What makes a good gift? What attributes and qualities make gifters want to buy? Where do they shop for these items; how do they decide to purchase one item over another? What is the role of brand in gifting buying behavior? What is the purchase incidence and spending on key categories of gifts?
  • Psychographic profile and segmentation of the gifting market: The psychographic profile of gift consumers reveals their different drives and motivations in purchasing gifts. What factors are more or less important in driving gift purchasing decisions? How can gifts marketers and retailers better understand the hearts and minds of their consumers and use that insight to capture a greater share of the consumers' gifting budget? In essence we reveal "why people buy gifts."

This report includes brand new gift data including:

  • Deep dive into Christmas gift and Birthday gift buying behavior:Detail data is collected aboutgifts bought for Christmas and birthday gift giving -- the top gifting holiday and occasion -- plus where people shopped for each of those gifts. This data allows marketers to determine whether people's shopping behavior is different for these two most important gift shopping experiences and the other gift holidays and occasions throughout the year.
  • Gift choices ranked as 'go to' gift category: Data is collected about 10 different gift categories, such as personal care items, giftables, consumables, electronics and more and nearly 100 individual product and experience categories, such as candles, DVDs, women's fine jewelry, kitchenware and more. Further each of the ten categories is ranked as to whether it is one's favorite 'go to' gift category, good for most people and most occasions; appropriate for some people and some occasions only; or something consumers rarely or ever gift as a gift.
  • Types of stores ranked as their 'go to' source for gift shopping: Nearly 40 different types of stores and other shopping venues are tracked in this report, broken into three major categories of shopping venues: General merchandise stores; nonstore retailers, internet, catalogs, TV shopping, etc.; and specialty retailers, including book stores, food stores, drug stores, electronics store and many others. And each of the 38 stores included in this report are ranked by  respondents as either their 'go to' destination for gift purchases; appropriate only for occasions and some people; and stores where one rarely shops for gifts.
  • Internet as a source for gift shopping: For those respondents who had used the internet to buy gifts in the past year, an additional series of questions were included to gather more details about how they used the internet and their satisfaction in using the internet for gift shopping. A list of websites were rated as a source for gifts as well.

About the Author

Pamela Danzinger

Pamela Danzinger

Pamela N. Danziger is an internationally recognized expert specializing in consumer insights for marketers targeting the affluent consumer segment. She is president of Unity Marketing, a boutique marketing consulting firm she founded in 1992. Pam received the Global Luxury Award for top luxury industry achievers presented at the Global Luxury Forum in 2007 by Harper's Bazaar.

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