create a gift guide

How to Create a Holiday Gift Guide for Your Retail Website

During this time of year, most of the visitors on your retail website are likely looking for one thing: gifts. Their goal is to find the right gift for the right person in their price range. One way to make this process easier for them is to create a holiday gift guide suggesting products.

Jump into your customers’ shoes. Your customers have a problem (“What should I buy Aunt Sally?”), and your holiday gift guide should make it as easy as possible to solve. Many holiday gift guides stick simply to relationships that the gift giver has to the recipient (Mother, Spouse, Co-Worker) or Age Group. These are great places to start, but you can create a holiday gift guide that’s even more effective by thinking about specific personality types related to your products.

Some generic examples include bookworm, sports fan, and tech aficionado, but it’s even more important to make these personality types relate to your product. For example, if you sell bike products, your categories might include competitive cyclist, weekend biker, commuter, and family rider. This level of specificity helps make the gift-finding process easier for people who may not be as knowledgeable about biking as their recipient.

Educate your audience. The bike example ties into this next tip. During the holiday season, it’s likely that the type of person who visits your site might change. For example, if you sell toys, it’s likely that your typical visitor is a parent, but during the holiday season, you’re more likely to have grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends shopping, and these people are likely to be less knowledgeable about current toy trends. If you make it easier for them to feel confident about their purchase, they’re more likely to hit buy, so it’s also important to think about how to create a holiday gift guide that’s educating your visitors, not just featuring products.

For example, for the toy store, you might include a few bullet points next to each gift suggestion highlighting the type of child who would enjoy the gift: “Ages 2 to 3, Highly Active, Loves Bugs.” Or you could share a brief description of how the toy works. The idea is to quickly convince your customer that this is the right gift for their particular need.

Look at your analytics. Not really sure why people are coming to your store? A great place to start is the keywords that they search for to arrive at your site. Also, if you have a search bar on your site, look at what terms they are using there.

Now step back and analyze what you’ve uncovered. Is your site delivering on these needs? Is your holiday gift guide making it easier for people to find what they want? In some cases, you may find that people come to a particular page looking for something specific but quickly leave because it’s not the right match. If that’s the case, use this page to highlight other products that might be the right match by directing them to the holiday gift guide where they can find more options.

Do keyword research. Your site might not be optimized for keywords that are seasonal, so it’s a good time to head back to Google’s Keyword Tool and do some investigating. Even if you’re not getting traffic related to these specific terms yet, you may have consumers looking for these items on your shop.

Also, take a look at what’s popular related to your products that you’re not currently offering. These could be missed opportunities for additional revenue, so consider if you’re able to add them to your shop.

Alter your Google AdWords. See some killer terms that you’re just not getting any traffic from? Design specific landing pages in your holiday gift guide for them, and adjust your PPC campaign accordingly. Check out this previous article where I talk more in-depth about how to optimize your paid search ad strategy for the holiday season.

Consider price points. Consumers have different budgets in mind for different people, so make sure you cover the spectrum in each category, offering low-, mid-, and high-priced items. Make it easy for people to sort this way, too, so that they can more quickly find what they’re looking for. And offer a stocking stuffer category of items that are not only less expensive but also easily fit into a stocking.

Consider product margins. Don’t waste space in your holiday gift guide promoting products that are less profitable for you. When analyzing what to include, keep your net profit on each item handy to make more informed decisions about what to include.

Optimize for mobile. Hopefully your shopping cart is optimized for mobile, but it’s also important to ensure people can easily read your holiday gift guide on their smartphones as well as complete a transaction directly from that holiday gift guide if they find something they like. If not, you’re likely to lose out on sales to someone who makes the process easier.

Upsell. This time of year, consumers aren’t just shopping one individual but all their family and friends, and they may not stop at one gift for each person. Showcase related items, accessories, and add-ons whenever you can. Make it as easy as possible to get all their holiday shopping done without even leaving that holiday gift guide, let alone your site.

Keep the gift guide up year-round. Many companies spend a lot of time to create a holiday gift guide and then simply take it down after the holiday season ends, but that’s a mistake. There are occasions throughout the year that motivate people to search for gifts. Instead, remove anything holiday-centric, make it more neutral, and de-emphasize its presence on the site. A good place for a year-round link is in your footer or your menu bar – generally banners and large home page features drawing attention to it aren’t as necessary.

Here’s an added benefit to keeping it up – and even actively promoting it during the rest of the year: improved search rank next holiday season. Consider how you can feature your gift guide in guest posts and other link building strategies throughout the next year.

Create a Holiday Gift Guide to Beat Last Year’s Sales

When you take the time to research and prepare, you can create a holiday gift guide that’s a major driver of sales, bringing in new customers, increasing the size of each transaction, and converting reluctant buyers. At the beginning of each New Year, make a point to take a look at your successes (and failures) and to note them for next year’s season. Things can change a lot in a year, but having more data to work with from the onset is always an asset.

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