how to use gift finders for retailers

While the holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, gift shopping is still the biggest pain point for retail customers. When asked about what turns a potentially pleasant experience into a source of stress, 29% of shoppers say that there’s too much to choose from, while 24% say that online stores don’t provide enough product information and support to make selecting the right gift easier. To address this issue, a number of online retailers are starting to offer interactive gift guides and finders.

Gift finders engage shoppers by asking a few questions about the gift recipient, and immediately providing them with gift ideas. Some of the most interesting gift finder examples include: Sephora, Mama’s and Papa’s, and Lacoste.

This interactive, conversational approach is proven to increase conversion by over 253% and engagement by more than 76%, as it eases the shopper’s path to suitable gift inspirations.

So, how do you boost holiday sales with interactive gift finders? Read on for a list of best practices and tips to follow when implementing a gift finder on your webstore.


How To Create Effective Gift Finder Campaigns


Creating your gift finder

Conversational gift finders are most effective if they factor in the following aspects to hone in on the recipient’s personality. The more selections you have in the gift finder, the better you can provide tailored gift ideas and recommendations. Try focusing on the following details:

  • Age (potentially gender)
  • Interests
  • Preferences
  • Lifestyle

If all of these points are met, you can provide shoppers with a highly curated list of gift ideas that will surely increase conversions.

Developing the conversation

Carefully plan the conversation flow with a particular focus on the first question, since it determines whether shoppers engage with your gift finder. The first question needs to be appealing, easy to answer, and focused on the gift buyer’s needs.

Start with broad questions and then gradually add in more specific questions. For example, start with gender, move on to age, and then add personality and lifestyle questions.

It’s also vital that the voice of your gift finder is consistent with your brand. A great example of this is Firebox, a quirky and edgy company offering all manner of unusual gifts.

I’m particularly a fan of the ‘How much do you love them?’ question when you use the filter option for pricing. See below:
include demographics in your gift finderImage source:


Designing your interactive gift guide

Similar to the wording you include, ensure that the design of the gift finder is consistent with your brand.

Remember to use compelling visuals to showcase your products. A great example of this is Smyths Toy Store, which displays a picture of the product being used in a real context and helps the shopper envision the person they are buying the gift for.

make your gift finder interactiveImage source: Smyths Toy Store


It’s important to make the gift finder mobile-friendly as well, as Statista predicts that mobile sales will continually be on the rise till the year 2021 in the US.

You can go a step further and take a leaf out of Not On The High Street’s book by releasing an app for your gift finder.


be specific for better gift findersImage source:


Displaying Results

When customers get to the search results, explain your product picks so they understand why a certain gift was recommended.

Lacoste does a great job. They explain why they selected a particular fragrance for the shopper. They also only return one choice, ensuring the customer isn’t overwhelmed.
use personalized messages with gift findersImage source: Lacoste


Another great addition to your results page is customer reviews. They are fantastic at adding credibility to your recommendations. does this very well, as seen below. They also always show the overall Google rating for their company at the bottom right-hand side.

add reviews or ratings to improve conversion on your gift finderImage source:


If you don’t have a suitable gift idea for the recipient after they’ve used the gift finder, don’t display ‘no results found.’ Display alternative recommendations so you can ensure a satisfying shopping experience even for the most demanding visitors.

Lastly, for more relevant results, create a dedicated product finder for different occasions. This creates a better shopping experience and helps gain their trust in your brand.

Here’s a great example:

dedicate gift finders for different occasionsImage source: Pandora


Promoting your interactive gift guide

Now that you’ve created an amazing gift finder, people need to know about it. Share your gift finder in as many places as you can. Try posting about it on your social media outlets during specific holidays.

share your gift finder on social media



You can also include it in a few areas of your website:

  1. Live chat: Are you using live chat on your website? Have your support staff direct customers to the gift finder. You can also turn your gift finder into a chatbot. This allows you to plug them into the chat solution you are using and have intelligence-driven conversations with your customers, without taking up your staff’s time.
  2. Partner Network: Another great idea is to syndicate your gift finder to your retail partners or popular websites in your niche. For example, LastCall posted a holiday gift generator quiz on their website which linked off to other websites products.
  3. Email Marketing: Try sending the gift finder in various email marketing campaigns. Also, don’t forget to send a follow-up email to ask whether the gift was a good fit and suggest supplementary gift ideas as an upsell. Also, let your customers set a reminder to use the gift finder next year.


Moonpig customers can opt-in to receiving notifications as reminder to purchase gifts again next year.

have opt ins for gift findersImage source: Moonpig


Gift Finders Improve Customer Experience

Creating a great gift finder experience will help your holiday campaigns stand out, engage potential customers, and make your store a perfect gift shopping destination.

While competitors differentiate their holiday campaigns based on discounts which can lower profit margins, this is an opportunity to stand out and offer a rewarding shopping experience to your customers.


About the Author: Markus Linder is one of the founders of SMARTASSISTANT and serves as the company’s President & CMO. SMARTASSISTANT is the leading technology provider for Intelligent Sales Assistants and Guided Selling for online retailers, manufacturers and service providers. The SaaS technology is used by businesses in varied sectors (such as Retail, Automotive, Financial Services, Telecoms, etc.), providing digital sales assistants in hundreds of product and service categories and helping millions of their customers make smarter purchase decisions.

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