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Things you can do to go a little bit further for your customers.

1. Offer a branded DIY giftwrapping kit. The kit should contain branded giftwrap, ribbon, and a card, offered for a nominal fee. You won’t need staff resources to wrap products, plus your customer gets to inspect the gift before presenting it.

2. Get their birthday along with their email address. Whether you run a shop or a website, you can email them or send them a card for their birthday along with a promotional offer.

3. Offer general gift certificates. Be as general as possible for the greatest gift-giving flexibility. Not including a space for someone’s name on the gift certificate means it can be ‘re-gifted’. And take off the expiry date. Studies show people don’t tend to use gift certificates until they are within two months of expiring. With no expiry date, you can save on printing.

4. Create a cart abandonment program. Did you know 65 percent of customers who visit but don’t buy from your website today, buy tomorrow? They may have to transfer money into their credit card, find out the recipient’s size, favourite colour or other specific information. By gently contacting them the next day, you can increase your chances of them completing their online sale with you.

5. Online purchase, in-store pick-up. Do you have a website and a bricks-and-mortar store? Innovative US retailers let customers pay online, print out a receipt and then collect the item from their nearest store. Both the customer and retailer save time and money on postage.

6. Pay most attention to your Gmail customers. AOL and Hotmail are the oldest free email properties, while Gmail is the ‘youngest’. Customers are typically most engaged with their newest email address, using their older accounts for competitions and newsletters that they don’t plan to open frequently. Gmail users are the ones most likely to open your emails.

7. Testimonials help cut return rates. US retailers that have more than 50 product reviews on their website have return rates 65 percent lower than those who don’t have any testimonials. Each return costs US merchants approximately US$6–10.

8. Testimonials help SEO efforts. Request customers include their name, city and state in their testimonials. Select the most SEO-friendly reviews which include words and phrases you want associated with your products.

Google will return these phrases and/or the customer’s name or address in searches, which will give greater credibility to your products when a friend or colleague Googles that person.

9. Send invoices separately in gift packages. Some customers send gifts directly to their recipients. Make sure you don’t mail product brochures nor invoices with the product as it ruins the gift experience. Instead, email the invoice to the purchaser.

10. More gift sales occur between 1st–5th and 15th–20th of the month. Concentrate your selling efforts on the first five and the third five days of the month. Most people get paid on the 1st or 15th and research has found that 64 percent of people spend the bulk of their discretionary income in those first few days after payday.

—Elizabeth Ball is the founder of It’s In The Stars (www.itsinthestarsonline.com)

Elizabeth Ball

Elizabeth Ball

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