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How to enhance your customer gift experience using tags and segmentation

Delivering a memorable gifting experience that goes beyond the purchase.

6 Minutes, 48 Seconds

Gifting is big business in ecommerce - there’s a reason why we spend so much time and effort planning for the end-of-year holiday season. The best part though is that the opportunity to sell to those customers who buy over the holidays doesn’t end in December; customers look for gifts year-round. Those who make a purchase from a particular brand as a Christmas gift may make another purchase next time a birthday or anniversary rolls around. That is, if they had a good experience with the store in question. 

So how do you deliver a memorable gifting experience even after the customer has already made a purchase? 

Personalization, customer experience, and retention 

It’s a fact at this point that the world of online shopping is extremely crowded. As good as your product may be, you’ll have competitors who are vying for attention from the same audiences you’re hoping to attract. These days, customers aren’t just influenced by your products or even your pricing, they’re looking for who has the best experience. 

In the context of gifting, one may think that customer experience matters a little less. After all, they’re not your target audience, they’re buying for someone else who might be in your target audience. You don’t need to impress them quite as much, as there’s a chance they’ll just be a one-off customer…right? Not quite - gift customers are a varied audience. Get their experience right, and they’ll be just as valuable as your primary audience.

The customer journey starts with discovery, and extends well beyond when the customer clicks “checkout”. For customers purchasing gifts, their experience doesn’t simply end because they’ve bought the gift they were looking for. They might be a regular customer who decides to buy a gift card for a friend, or they may not be interested directly in your brand but they have a family member who is. These present unique opportunities for retention and long-term relationship building with the right strategy.

One of the best ways to enhance your CX strategy is to add deeper personalization. We’ve already covered that the ecommerce marketplace is overflowing with options, and this means customers’ attention span is very limited for brands without a personalized experience. 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences, and 77% are frustrated when they can’t find them. Close to 80% also say that they’d consider repurchasing from a brand that delivered on the personalization they were looking for.

Personalization doesn’t have to be complicated for merchants. It can start with something that’s both incredibly effective and simple to implement - tagging and segmentation.

How tagging and segmentation enhances the customer gifting experience 

To put it simply, tagging allows you as the merchant to automatically apply a sort of label to customers that can indicate a particular quality. It might be something demographic like their region, or behavior based such as which product category they purchase from. You can get even more granular with behavior and demographic tagging, so that every customer has several different qualities or tags associated with them. 

Segmentation is then when you create groups based on these qualities. So you might want to create a group of all the customers who are tagged as living in Canada, who have purchased a gift product in the last 6 months. Or all customers globally who purchased gift cards around Mother’s Day. The value here is that you can then start to test and tailor content and offers you send via email and SMS to pinpoint what engages different customer segments most. 

Let’s look at how tagging and segmentation can help you deliver that personalization your gift customers are looking for.

1 - Better understand who buys gifts, and what they buy

Personalizing an experience begins with understanding your customers. By adding tags and creating segments, you can dig deeper into customer behaviors and preferences around gifting. This in turn will allow you to design a better gift product offering, and know which audiences you should target with what kind of product. 

Some segments you could consider looking at include:

  • Regular customers - These are customers who purchase for themselves, but who have purchased gift orders in the past either by marking the order as a gift, buying a gift card, etc.
  • Gift-only customers - As the name suggests, customers who have only purchased gift orders or products.
  • Gift cards vs products - Customers who typically purchase gift cards vs those who purchase physical items as a gift.
  • Time of year - Tag customers based on when they purchase gift products, so you can target occasions and holidays.
  • Average Order Value (AOV) - How much the customer typically spends on gift orders.
  • Lifetime Value (LTV) - How much the customer has spent in total with your store.
  • Customers by region - What do customers buy in different regions you sell into?

By analyzing these tags on their own or as part of a combination for a specific segment, you can start honing your strategy, products, and messaging around gifting.

2 - Deliver a more focussed, tailored email marketing strategy

More than 306 Billion emails are sent around the world every day. Between work and personal emails, customers receive a constant stream of emails into their inbox at all hours of the day. Much like when shopping online, they don’t have the time or attention for brands who provide them with irrelevant content. If you want to catch the eye of your customers in their inbox, you need to give them something worth opening. 

Segmentation is one of the best ways to start tailoring your email marketing, and deliver the content each customer is looking for. You can even exclude different segments depending on the kind of campaign you’re sending. For example if you want to focus on previous gift customers only, you can send a campaign just for them complete with messaging that speaks to them. Or if you’re running a promotional campaign where it only applies to gift customers in a particular region, you can exclude everyone except tagged customers in that region. 

Tags can be added automatically, so for example if a customer buys a gift card they’ll be added to the “gift card customer” tag and again be added to any relevant segments. This can then trigger an automated email campaign around the same time next year to encourage them to purchase a gift card again. You can also add in other personalized touches like product recommendations, and gifting options they may consider like gift cards or gift wrap. 

3 - Reward loyal customers with content and incentives they actually want

Having a loyal customer base is essential to the success of any online business. Even within gifting, loyalty and personalization play a role in retention. There may be a segment of your customer base who frequently purchase gifts, or who do so every time a specific holiday or occasion rolls around. They may be a customer who makes regular purchases for themselves, but they’ve also purchased and sent gift cards.

By using tags, you can keep track of those loyal customers who also repeatedly purchase gifts, and start to give them the kind of content and incentives that will keep them coming back. That may even be offering a gift card to a customer who has frequently purchased them for others, i.e. “This time treat yourself on us!” as a thank you and an incentive to place another order. This can then be automated, so that once a customer meets specific criteria, they’ll be added to a tag which triggers an email with a reward. You can also use segmentation to test which incentives and content engage different customers most, so you can truly maximize your promotional spend and effort.  

Buying a gift is a personal activity for customers. They want to find the right product for their recipient from a brand who’s going to give them an easy experience packed with personal touches. When the time comes for them to buy another gift, they’re going to remember the brands who delivered on a personalized, engaging experience. Tagging and segmentation are straightforward and powerful tools that’ll allow you to understand your gift customers, give them the experience they’re looking for, and successfully bring them back in the future.

Want to learn more about how Govalo can enhance your digital gifting experience on Shopify? Click here.

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