June 6, 2001, 12:00 AM

Giving online gift buyers what they want

Online gift buyers want delivery and services for gift recipients, not more shopping tools, says Forrester Research.

Many e-retailers are misreading online gift buyers, according to new research from Forrester Research, playing up online shopping tools like wish lists while not paying enough attention to what gift buyers really want. A total of 68% of the online retailers polled by Forrester say they will add more tools and services to increase their gift business. But Forrester data on consumers’ gift-buying behavior show that gift-shoppers place more importance on features such as delivery services over shopping tools even pricing. 90% of the consumers surveyed by Forrester identified on-time delivery as the reason they were satisfied with their most recent online gift purchase, while only 34% identified cost and a scant 15% identified online tools. The Forrester data also suggest that gift buyers in general are more interested in online services targeted to please recipients more than those designed to benefit the giver. For example, 51% said they used a site`s delivery services and 41% said they’d used online gift cards, compared with only 20% who said they’d used a gift registry and 17% online event reminders. Only 5% of online shoppers said they’d bought a gift certificate online, while 66% said they did not plan to do in the next year.

“Retailers will not grow their gift business unless they start thinking differently about gifts,” says Forrester analyst Carrie Johnson. “Gift giving is a continuous process, not a one-shot event. A buyer and recipient who each have a satisfying experience will both buy merchandise from the retailer that supplied the gift.” To capture gift sales and snare both giver and receiver as repeat customers, online retailers should prominently feature – and make good on – delivery options and deadlines, says Johnson. They can also take steps such as bunching gift offerings by price categories rather than in other groupings, to make gift searching easier. “The end of the purchase process for gift-giver – receipt of a package by the recipient – is the beginning of the customer acquisition process for retailers,” says Johnson.


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