Call it gender stereotyping if you want, but the fact is most guys struggle with holiday gift shopping. If you are able to help them with the chore, you'll earn more of their holiday budget. The effort will serve you well throughout the year, as the average male navigates the gift-buying process for other special occasions.
We did some "street interviewing" to find out what is most helpful to men when they're shopping for gifts online. If you combine a frightened rabbit with a lost puppy, you'd have what we saw in the eyes of most men when they were asked about holiday shopping. The anticipated frustration is enough to turn men into the Grinch. Following are 15 suggestions they have for improving their online shopping experience.
One stop shopping - If a guy can go to a store website and finish all their shopping, they're happy campers. Offer variety...but not so much that it's overwhelming.
Gift guides - One gentleman said he took his Sears Wish Book shopping method online. He relied heavily on the pages in the front that had gifts categorized by cost. Organizing online gift guides by price, recipient group (women, children, etc.), interests, best sellers, and even purpose (such as stocking stuffers) is helpful to male shoppers.
Sales on popular gift items - Flyers are another tool guys use for efficient shopping. Online sales are similarly organized and have featured products in numbers most guys find more manageable. Rather than having a simple link or menu button for "Specials", consider featuring sales with a special graphic strategically placed on every page of your site. Also, prominently feature price-matching policies and coupons.
Gift cards - The answer to many shopping guys' dilemma are gift cards. They still need to make it look like a special gift though, so they often make an effort to stop by stores favoured by the recipient. They may buy a $25 gift card for a game store and another for a beauty product site, and so on. Rather than simply offering gift cards as an option, write sales copy that presents them as more than an easy solution. Emailed gift certificates are especially popular with last minute shoppers, a habit that many guys are famous for.
We are Canadian - Men and women alike are becoming more aware of the benefits of shopping within Canada or in their own neighbourhood. In fact, a UPS/Leger study found 51% of Canadians surveyed will only holiday shop in Canada in 2016. Make it clear that you are located in Canada and feature products made in Canada.
Bundle Products - An easy way to increase sales and serve the frantic man is to bundle products. For example, you can combine products into a basket type of gift or gather up 10 stocking stuffers.
Inside information - Holiday shopping guidance is something a lot of guys gobble up before they buy. Run feature articles and blog posts focusing on each person a guy may be shopping for, such as his Mom, wife, or children. Product reviews, customer testimonials, and feature comparison charts all beckon to the internet-shopping male. Helpful content not only increases conversions on a retail website, it's also favoured by search engines. You'll find lots of ideas for holiday content marketing in the article, How to Use Content Marketing to Skyrocket Holiday Sales.
Organization - Most people are easily frustrated by a disorganized website and guys are no exception. They want a straight-forward menu of categories, which are broken down further when they click.
Guarantees and Returns - Provide reassurance and flexibility with a guarantee or return policy. Offer in-store returns if possible.
Upgraded shipping options - Again, men are notorious for last minute shopping and they'd rather do it online than brave the crowds offline. Be sure to feature the fact that you offer fast shipping options, so it's clear your website is where a guy needs to be. Consider including an "order by _____ for delivery by December 24th" notation.
Gift wrapping - A task cited as "most hated" by plenty of men, gift wrapping options like those offered by Amazon are very popular.
Customize Affiliate Marketing and Advertising - Affiliate marketers and bloggers can feature gifts, sales and coupons from their favourite merchants. Companies that have an affiliate program can cater to that through their newsletters. Include holiday content, samples for review, and personalized affiliate links to make it easy to promote your offers.
Lurk around social media - I see many men desperately seeking help on social media, be it gift suggestions or the inability to find a specific item. Use social media tools to listen in on their cries for help. For example, guys often post specific items they're looking for on Twitter. You can ride in on your virtual white horse to save them, by replying that you carry the item or by offering a suitable alternative.
Alternate Sales and Marketing Channels - Consider selling products to bargain-hunting men via online auctions like eBay or marketplaces like Amazon. Online Marketplaces for Canadian Sellers provides a list of Canadian-friendly marketplaces.
Make it easy to find you - Whether you want to be found online, offline, or both, now is the time to consider search, social and mobile advertising. Don't forget to target men in your ad's, such as headlines featuring your gift guides or fast shipping. It's critical that you have a multi-channel and mobile strategy that helps the mobile male, no matter where he is.
Getting into a guy's head while he's shopping online is well worth the effort. It will improve the eCommerce experience for all visitors (male or female) and contribute to your search engine optimization (SEO) success, all year long.
Tell us, guys, what makes your season bright when shopping online?
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