How to Create an Online Holiday Gift Guide

As people start drafting their holiday shopping lists, you’ll want to be sure items from your online store are included. According to Statista, in 2020, as high as 87 percent of UK households made online purchases within the preceding 12 months, making this the highest online purchase penetration rate in the country in the past 11 years.
One of the best ways to boost your eCommerce sales during the holiday shopping frenzy is by creating a well-rounded digital Christmas gift guide. Showcasing curated merchandise in an online list or guide can simplify the gift-buying experience and ease your customers’ stress.
Here’s everything you need to know about creating a successful online holiday gift buying guide.

Organise your lists thoughtfully

Rather than putting random items into one digital gift guide, focus on targeting specific customer segments with relevant and appealing suggestions.
Here are a few ways you can approach list organisation:

  • By recipient:Go beyond women, men, and kids to address groups who are more specific or harder to shop for, such as teachers, work associates, and service providers.
  • By interest: If you have a wide range of merchandise, segment your list by hobbies or personality traits, such as gifts for hikers or gifts for working from home. This works even better if your store caters to a niche. For example, a cooking store could do a holiday shopping list of gifts for novice cooks or gifts for the chef who loves gadgets.
  • By price: Offer a variety of price points. While many shoppers may gravitate toward lower-priced categories, don’t shy away from a luxury list for those looking to splurge.
  • By age: Help a confused shopper find just the right thing from their tween niece’s Christmas wish list or for an elderly uncle by segmenting the list by age. Broad categories are fine for all-purpose recommendations (e.g., toddlers, teens, and adults).
  • A combination of these: There may be elements of each of these segmenting strategies that work for your site. Once you’ve created the text and images, you can mix and match lists. An art set could be marketed in lists targeted toward kids, under £25, and gifts for lockdown. You could also create a list of best all-around gifts to appeal to a busy shopper who wants to make a fast decision. And don’t forget to suggest your gift cards for the easiest purchase of all.

Choose products carefully

Once you’ve established categories, you might be tempted to start including everything on your site that logically fits. But shoppers appreciate a curated holiday essentials list that includes just a few choice items in each group.

To decide which items to promote, think about where your eCommerce store would benefit from increased sales. You might decide to focus on popular products to help attract new customers. It might also make financial sense to feature merchandise that allows a larger-than-average mark-up to improve your profitability. Or you might want to include an item for which you have a backlog of inventory.

Seek input from your suppliers on new products or what they expect to be especially popular this year. They might offer you a discount if you include their products in your online holiday gift buying guide. And discuss how easy certain items are to source to ensure your digital gift guide suggestions will be available throughout the shopping season.

And finally, aim for quality. Suggesting a low-quality product can mar your reputation among the online shoppers who are relying on your recommendations for their holiday shopping list.

Focus on presentation

You want to make your digital Christmas gift guide stand out, so go the extra mile with attractive graphics and high-quality photos or videos. Use text that reflects your brand voice and engages your audience. Consider telling a story or having a theme that runs throughout the online piece.

As you design the ultimate holiday gift guide, make sure that each list includes a summary at the top that clearly informs customers of the type of recipient for whom these items were curated. And test that the digital holiday gift buying guide loads and displays well on all types of platforms and mobile devices.

Educate the shopper

With in-store browsing curtailed, help customers feel confident in their purchases by doing the following:

  • Include clear photos, taken from multiple angles.
  • Write detailed item descriptions that engage the five senses.
  • Update sizing charts with explicit information on fit.
  • Include item dimensions for physical goods so shoppers can visualise the merchandise in their space.
  • Add shoppers’ feedback, testimonials, or reviews, if possible.

Develop an online marketing plan

The internet will soon be filled with digital holiday gift guides, so you’ll need to step up your marketing to get noticed. Tease different types of Christmas wish lists in social media posts and add relevant hashtags to get your holiday gift buying guide in front of your ideal customer. You can use general ones like #HolidayGiftGuide,
#HolidayShopping, and #PerfectGift, or mention customer personas tied to the type of gift, like #GiftsforWorkingMoms or #GiftsforGolfers.

Create an email newsletter that highlights various categories and reveals a few representative standout items. Customise the content to cater to specific shopping groups.

To aid discovery, use search engine optimisation (SEO) best practices that can help get your list to the top of an eCommerce web search. Conduct keyword research and include those words and phrases prominently in the category names, product descriptions, and image file names.

Provide a seamless user experience

Once a customer finds an enticing item in your online Christmas gift guide, you want them to be glad they’re shopping with you. Make sure your page loads quickly—you may need to decrease your image file sizes—and double-check that all links you include in your email or social media marketing aren’t broken or going to the wrong page. Create a generous return policy and offer multiple payment options.

It’s also important not to overlook the personal touch. This holiday season, more shoppers will be turning to eCommerce for all their Christmas list ideas and may miss the service they’re used to receiving in stores. Provide different avenues for customers to get in touch, such as chatbots or messaging platforms, that encourage shoppers to contact you with questions about an item or for assistance with their gift list.

The ups and downs of 2020 have forced many consumers to reflect and retreat to family and friends. This season, shoppers are likely to make their gift-giving more meaningful than ever. A well-curated digital holiday gift buying guide can help them make the right decisions for their loved ones and contribute to a very merry holiday season for everyone.