Why it’s time to take the stress out of buying the perfect

Alison Wiltshire

08 Sep 2021

You know the feeling. You’re on the hunt for the perfect gift. It might be a birthday, an anniversary, a thank you trinket or a ‘just because’ gift, especially after the trials of the pandemic. But you are pulling your hair out trying to find it.

But buying the perfect gift is not an easy task – whether we know the recipient inside out or not. Even when we think we’ve found it we’re often way off the mark. And it’s often made worse by the fact that the person we’re buying for is one of those strange anomalies in this world. The perfect gift-buyer. The kind of person who listens to something you briefly said you wanted months ago, stores it away and presents you with said item a few weeks or months later with a big triumphant bow on top. You’re thrilled of course but now you feel the pressure even more.

Or the friend that’s noted your new hobby and got you a must-have you needed before you even realised you needed it.

You’ve got a friend like that? Yes, me too.

For us mere mortals we need a little extra help with our gift-buying – especially when we’re shopping online. The easy option, a gift card, often goes to waste with almost $3 billion in gift cards left unspent. Instead, social proof messaging can help find the right present to bring a smile to your recipient’s face, allowing retailers to provide the information and guidance you need to transform you from turkey gifter to present princess (or prince). It also means that the $659 that the average American spends on holiday gifts alone doesn’t go to waste.

Social proof messaging helps shoppers narrow down the overwhelming choice, buy with confidence and make more informed buying decisions.

So how does it work?

Social proof messaging highlights best sellers or trending items that allows the shopper to put together a possible shortlist of gifts based on what other shoppers might be looking for. So if your friend is a baking enthusiast you might find the latest kitchen gadget, while someone buying for a cycling addict might find the latest in jersey designs.

The fact that social proof applies to the whole purchase funnel is crucial to the gift-buying process – providing reassurance and guidance at every stage. Social proof with aggregated review messaging helps the novice buyer understand how other customers rated the product.

Urgency messaging can remind you that the item you are looking at is selling fast, especially important since you may be hesitating over a purchase, ensuring that you don’t miss out on the perfect present for little Lily’s birthday.

Social proof messaging allows the customer to buy right first-time and for the retailer increases conversion rates significantly, most usually with double-digit increases.

And that buying first-time element is especially important when it comes to gift-buying. Is there anything more embarrassing than having to tell someone you want to return their gift? “I’m so sorry, I already have that”, you exclaim, while quietly muttering ‘does she not know me at all??’

Or worse, you don’t say anything at all, and that gift sits unused and dusty in a cupboard until said friend comes round for supper and asks where that novelty item that they ‘just knew you would love’ has gone.

Social proof messaging also eases the gift-buying process, wherever a customer may be browsing. For example, a little social media stalking with the addition of social proof can help inspire ideas and allows you to turn that idea into a purchase, on the platform you are already on.

The beauty of social proof messaging is that it’s based on the factual behavior of other customers, drawing directly on the retailer’s own data to deliver accurate and factual messages. 

That means it’s like having your own personal shopper. And when it comes to present buying that’s a gift in itself.

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