According to a recent study, the average eCommerce business
receives 20 percent of its revenue from November and December
alone. Is it the colder temperatures that make people shop?
Perhaps a desire to finish off the year in style? No, for most
businesses, this uplift in revenue comes from an entirely
different set of customers to the rest of the year:  gift

Gift buyers may have never bought from your shop before. But
they are probably buying for someone who loves your stuff. Or
perhaps they’ve come via Google, searching for gifts for their
nephew/neighbor/father/sister. Either way, it’s often not
possible to find and engage with this type of buyer the way you
do the rest of the year.

So, what should you do to target this new audience?

Find Them and Create Audiences Like Them

Imagine a store that sells clothing to men, aged between 20 and
40. How could they adapt their existing Facebook ad campaign to
target women buying gifts for this type of man?

The first step is to find the audience. You need to create a
‘lookalike’ audience based on recent customers, and then limit
it to females aged between 20 and 40. Then it’s possible to
target your ads at exactly the right audience.

The next step is to restrict the products that appear in these
ad campaigns. By limiting the range to those within a typical
gift budget, and those suitable for presents, you can maximize
your ROI. During the holiday season, it’s also worth demoting
items that you know are more likely to be returned, to mitigate
the number of January returns. However, returns can have a
silver lining, which we’ll discuss this a little later.

Alternatively, if you’re using AdWords to attract new
customers, you can create a landing page directly related to
the specific keyword bringing customers to your site. For
instance, if they’ve searched ‘gifts for Dad’, you can
recommend suitable products. Because you know what they’re
looking for, you can use your own site data to display what
other customers looking for that item went on to buy. By
providing highly relevant recommendations and displaying the
products most likely to convert, you’ll increase your Return on
Ad Spend (ROAS).

Help Shoppers Buy

Once you’ve successfully directed the gift buyer to your site,
there’s a range of seasonal tweaks you can make to maximize
your chance at a sale. From dynamic ‘Hot Products’ lists to
seasonal filters—such as ‘For Him/Her’, price, and gift
type—the key is to make it easy for the customer to find the
perfect gift as quickly as possible.

Once they’ve made their selection, you have one final chance to
increase that average order value: the cart page. An item in
the basket gives you the strongest signals as to what they’re
interested in, and therefore crucial data on suitable
last-minute purchases. By including recommendations on the cart
page, you can potentially increase extra dollars per customer
cart size—and that can add up to a very happy holiday season.

Consider displaying items that are often bought with the gift,
such as batteries for electrical items, or a belt for a pair of
pants. If you offer free shipping over a certain basket value,
don’t just show people how far they are from the threshold.
Suggest items that will push them over that magic limit. You
might be surprised to see how much people are willing to spend
to feel that magical glow of free shipping.

Re-engage With Them

RJMetrics study
found that the average eCommerce business
acquires 23 percent of its new customers in November and
December, versus 17 percent over any other two month period.
And while these customers do have a lower lifetime value by 13
percent, the sheer number of new customers still makes them a
segment worth re-engaging.

So, if you were thinking that the initial gift purchase marks
the end of your relationship with the gift buyer–at least until
next holiday period–think again. You can use email marketing to
re-engage gift buyers.

That same RJMetrics study found that 38 percent of customers
made a second purchase within the same holiday season, so
sending an email showing other gifts may prompt another
purchase. And since another 42 percent made their second
purchase during the following 10 months, reminding the customer
about your store is worth it, whatever the time of year.

The message? Don’t be shy about sending that ‘we miss you’
email. If someone enjoyed a positive experience with your brand
at the beginning of their gift shopping, there’s every chance
they will return later in the season for more gifts, or even to
buy something for themselves.

For an extra seasonal spike, optimize your returns policy to
make the experience as pain-free as possible for the gift
receiver. After all, a bad returns policy won’t stop someone
returning that gift, but it will almost certainly stop them
from shopping with you again.

In fact,
found that 45 percent of people made an additional
purchase when making a return online, clearly demonstrating the
need to make sure this first interaction with you is a positive
one. With 60 percent of people saying that a free returns
policy results in the best returns experience, it’s worth
considering. It could help you navigate that notorious January
sales slump.

By making just a few seasonal tweaks to your PPC campaigns and
onsite experience, you can optimize the buyer journey for the
gift buyer. Add a touch of automation, and you could enjoy the
happiest holiday season yet.

Happy holidays from all of us here at Nosto!

There are still a few weeks left in 2017, so let’s make them
count. If you’re a Magento user (or you’re interested in the
benefits that Magento could bring to your business), check out
our Definitive
Guide to Supercharging Your Magento Store
 to see how
you can skyrocket your business.


Susi Weaser and Nosto

Rockstar copywriter Susi Weaser was previously a journalist and
editor for the UK’s first gadgets to girls website, Shiny
Shiny, and freelancer for everyone from GQ to The Guardian.
Founder of Death to Flowers, the cool guy’s alternative to
flowers. Nosto
enables online retailers to deliver their customers’
personalized shopping experiences at every touch point, across
every device. A powerful personalization platform designed for
ease of use, Nosto empowers retailers to build, launch and
optimize 1:1 multichannel marketing campaigns without the need
for dedicated IT resources. Leading retail brands in over 100
countries use Nosto to grow their business and delight their
customers. Nosto supports its retailers from its offices in
Helsinki, Berlin, Stockholm, London, New York, and Los Angeles.
To learn more visit