Online Presence Essential to Succeed in the Gifting Market
New Unity Marketing report finds that gift shoppers turn first online when shopping for gifts
April 17, 2012 Stevens, PA -- 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 2012 when comparing the results from the survey conducted in 2010 is how much more important online access is to the gift shoppers. There is a clear opportunity for retailers to position themselves as a gift shopping destination by making the shopping experience easy and convenient, and one of the ways retailers can make shopping easy is to let people shop at home. 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 a complete 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 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.
- 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.
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.