How to make your Shopify store top of mind for holiday gift giving
Question: How can smaller Shopify merchants emerge as a top gift-giving contender amid a noisy holiday season?
Answer: By investing in thoughtfully curated messages stitched together through an email marketing campaign.
A series of marketing emails — each with unique content, underpinned by a consistent vibe (colors, imagery, look, etc.) — can have immense influence over subscribers. It’s a statement: “I’m here, too, people! And I’ve got plenty of gift options.”
Further, the goal is to devise a campaign that genuinely helps the gift giver. Done well, you give shoppers tremendous value and convert more subscribers to buyers.
Let’s dig in. We’re walking through the four distinct newsletters needed for a knockout gifting campaign, and strategies and email elements to consider.
Our email examples vary by brand and industry, meaning you won’t see a unifying theme across them. It’s more important to understand the possibilities and take away best practices.
(Stick around. We’ll show you what a cohesive campaign can look like with Seguno’s starter gifting campaign templates. We’ll demo how easy it is, too.)
#1: Save shoppers time with a gift guide
Most people have at least one person on their list who induces gift-shopping stress. The grandparent who has everything. The co-worker you only know on a surface level.
Enter the gift guide. It can be the salvation for those out of ideas and low on persistence. It serves equally well for shoppers scrambling to check off their shopping lists.
Think of it as your Shopify store’s digital catalog. A gift guide is not just a window into your products but an avenue for steering subscribers to what they’re looking for, even if they don’t know it. When you pull out products and organize them into categories, they don’t need to wrack their brains.
There are many ways to slice and dice your categories. Deciding your options can be overwhelming. We suggest you start by thinking of both the gift giver and the recipient. What are possible problems they’re facing, and how can you be the solution?
For example, a limited budget confines some gift givers. On the other hand, recipients can be very particular about their preferences. Like the aunt who only buys crew-cut shirts and hates v-necks.
Considering shopper and recipient mindsets will open the door to category considerations. You might group gifts by:
- Product line
- Relationship to the recipient
Let’s break down the approach from the brand GREATS.
- Imagery does the talking. A great thing about gift guides is you don’t have to invest much time in crafting a lot of copy. Put your efforts toward beautiful product photography instead.
- We love the category labels as a stand-in for a call to action (CTA). And the accompanying outfits give a flavor for what you’ll find in the “Mr. Midtown,” “The Brooklynite” and “The Downtown Denizen” collections.
- About those CTAs: multiple ones are better than one; they provide more avenues for sending people to your site. Differentiating the language for each is a nice touch, too.
Expert tip: If you create a gift guide, you want to expose it when you can. Add it as a clickable link within your header for all newsletters sent during the holiday season.
Read Shopify’s “9 Steps to Creating a Holiday Gift Guide that Converts” for many more suggestions.
#2: Build trust with testimonials
Next in our email campaign lineup is the testimonial-stocked newsletter, which we recommend sending two to five days after the gift guide.
We use the word testimonial loosely, as this strategy has different forms:
- Showcasing reviews/testimonials provided by customers
- Sharing your team’s picks
- Highlighting media mentions
- Featuring an influencer’s recommendations
Any of these approaches have weight. Who doesn’t read reviews when contemplating an online purchase? Or view a brand differently when a person or establishment of status backs it?
It’s human nature to seek the advice of others when deciding where to spend your money. Eighty-six percent of consumers rely on ratings and reviews to some extent; 34% place a lot of trust in them.
Therefore, a newsletter spotlighting reviews demonstrates your brand has value. You can tout yourself all you want, but the words of others go much farther in convincing you’re legit. Social proof is crucial.
Anthropologie embraces the user-generated content (UGC) angle with its email (of which we’re showing a portion for space conservation):
- The title sets the stage — especially the star symbol. Our eye goes there first, immediately perceiving that bestsellers are what’s in store.
- Once again, photos are in the limelight. Pairing quotes with matching product imagery brings the accolades to life.
Of course, acquiring reviews requires some legwork. Some customers leave ratings without solicitation, but others need a nudge.
Because consumers are 36% more likely to submit a review when prompted by email, lean on automated review request emails to build your stash. You could also ask customers to announce their satisfaction on social media by posting a photo of them with the product and tagging your account.
Such UGC is marketing gold. Plop them into your emails for a punch.
Seguno integrates with several product review apps — including recently added Junip and Loox — to ease the reviews collection process.
#3: Help deliver gifts on time with a shipping reminder
So, you’ve hypothetically sent a gift guide and testimonial newsletter. The shipping reminder is the third component of our email marketing campaign. It’s a “get your last-minute gifts before December 25.”
Ideally, planning your gifting campaign starts here — with this email — in terms of developing a calendar. Here’s what we mean. For the optimal campaign flow:
- Pinpoint your carriers’ shipping deadlines so that you can →
- Determine your shipping cutoff for holiday deliveries and →
- Pick a target send date for email #3 (a day or two from said shipping cutoff), then →
- Decide on the send dates for emails #1, #2 and #4 (advice: send the shipping reminder two to five days after email #2)
Be aware that you may be working with slightly less time this year. FedEx, for example, has moved its holiday shipment cutoff dates up a day from a year ago.
Now let’s turn to a shipping reminder example from Dr. Loretta. We’re showing a partial shot so you can see the details better:
- The brand spells out its order-by deadlines for ground, second-day and overnight shipping. Specificity is super helpful. We’ve also seen an example of defining deadlines according to shipping address location.
- Though shipping is the focus, this email newsletter is more about helping subscribers wrap up their shopping. How? They recommend gifts of regimen sets and essentials, among other categories. In other words, they’re slipping in the gift guide.
Bonus tip: Shopify merchants with one shipping deadline date should try a countdown timer to instill some urgency. That, coupled with helpful content, has extra potential to motivate a purchase.
#4: Come to the rescue with a gift card
You’ve got one more shot to help your subscribers and concurrently rake in holiday sales once the holiday shipping deadline passes. The digital nature of gift cards makes them the perfect suggestion for shoppers who need a quick solution.
One survey predicts greater demand for gift cards this year. Forty-two percent of consumers indicate they’ll rely on them, compared to 37% in 2021. More than half of that group — 60% — are resorting to gift cards because they anticipate limited product availability.
The ideal time to send this fourth email? Any time. But as the caboose to the campaign, two to three days after the shipping reminder works well.
Per the Zee.Dog example, go simple:
The brand proves that all you need is an image of a gift card and a CTA.
Make the image a gif if you want to jazz it up. This email includes animation; our still shot doesn’t show the black box rotating among the dollar amounts. You could also toss in product images for inspiration. You never know who’s shopping for themselves.
Close out the message with icons communicating your unique selling propositions — such as the payment method as Zee.Dog does — and use it in every newsletter. We call this email block a “footer that functions.” Reserve space to point out differentiating factors about your brand, what you stand for, or anything else you want the shopper to know.
Build your email campaign with Seguno’s gifting templates
Did you notice that none of the examples revolved around a sales promotion as the pitch? Anthropologie nestled its discounted pricing within the email, but it paid prominence to the content.
A best-in-class email marketing campaign contains helpful content that addresses customers’ needs. In short, content aimed at offering solutions drives more sales.
Seguno users can quickly create a gifting campaign and let their content shine with our ready-made templates. The four-pack contains customizable emails for each example above: the gift guide, testimonials, shipping reminder and gift card.
Watch the video below to see how you can build a gifting campaign with the templates as a starting base.
Check our fully built holiday gifting campaign templates if you want an even quicker solution and an expert’s touch.
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