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E-Mail Holiday Shopping Reminder Service

  |  December 13, 2004   |  Comments

Implement this simple idea now to generate lots of business later.

With online holiday shopping reaching new heights, here’s a simple idea to implement now. It could help you generate a lot of business next year.

First, some eye-opening holiday shopping stats from a study Nielsen conducted for eBay:

  • Five of six Americans will buy a holiday gift online.

  • About two of five Americans will buy at least 20 percent of their gifts online.

  • 70 percent will spend the same or more than they did last year online.

  • People shop online to:

    • Save time (78 percent)

    • Get better pricing (51 percent)

    • Have a greater selection (43 percent)

    • Get easier shipping (40 percent)

    • Find more personalized gifts (28 percent)

In round numbers, that’s around 167 million online gift purchases. If the average person buys two gifts, that’s over 300 million gifts. That’s a lot of online gift ordering! Let’s talk about how to grab your share of that next year.

Chances are, you already have, or can obtain from the gift buyers, the following information:

  • Gift recipient’s name

  • Date of purchase

  • Item purchased

You want to implement this reminder program now. Customers are likely pleased with the gifts they purchased and open to messaging about next year. Below, three easy steps to set up a program.

Step 1: Send Thank-Yous and Announce a Gift Reminder Service

Right after the holidays, send email to everyone who purchased a gift from you. It should read something like this:

Dear Paul,
Thanks once again for purchasing a holiday gift from Company X. We really appreciate your business. Gift-buying can be hectic, which is why we’re proud to announce our Gift Reminder Service for next year.

About six weeks before the holiday season, we’ll send you an email reminder of the people you purchased gifts for, with specific recommendations based on past purchases and price range. We’re sure it’ll make shopping easier and more rewarding. To use this free service, click the link below.

The link contains the customer’s email address or another identifier, and is tied to all purchases. It pulls up a Web page that may look like this:

Recipient Item Price ($) Date Relationship Occasion
Jennifer Red glass heart 19.95 12/01/04 Wife Christmas
Tyler Football clock 29.95 12/01/04 Son Christmas
Cara Heart necklace 59.95 12/02/04 Friend Hanukah
Tommy Harry Potter DVD 19.95 12/01/04 -- --

The customer can fill in any missing info.

Step 2: Create a Gift Relationship Table

Now that you have a database populated with the pertinent information, create a table that connects past gift purchases with likely future gift purchases based on next year’s gift lineup, like this:

Past Purchase Recommended
2005 Gifts
SKU 19838: Football clock Football team blankets
Football player autographed photos
Football blooper video
SKU 20938: Red glass heart Heart Christmas tree ornament
Scented red heart pillow
Spa gift certificate

Step 3: Craft the Reminder Messages

The final step is to create a reminder message template, like this (boldfaced items are pulled from the database or calculated):

Dear Paul,
Last year you purchased two gift items from us and signed up to receive email gift reminders. Well, the holiday season is creeping up on us again, so here’s a recap of what you purchased, for whom, and what our buyers recommend this year.

To help get a fast start on your shopping, when purchasing at least three gifts from us, we’ll throw in free shipping on all of them.

2004 Gift Purchasing Summary

Recipient: Jennifer
Relationship: Wife
Item: Red glass heart
Occasion: Christmas
Price: $19.95
Date: 12/01/04
2005Recommendations

HEART CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT

HEART CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT
WITH JINGLE BELL
[Description”

[Balance of recommendations”

CLICK TO PURCHASE A GIFT FOR JENNIFER

Pretty nifty, right?

You have plenty of time to implement this system and make it something special. It doesn’t have to just be for holiday gift-giving. As long as you capture gift information, it can be a year-round service. To get ideas for your service, check out what the folks at Personal Shopper are doing.

Next year, you’ll be in a position to recommend relevant gifts and to capture more gift buying! Keep reading...

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Soltoff

Paul Soltoff is the chief executive officer of SendTec, Inc., a direct marketing services company specializing in customer acquisition. SendTec combines extensive direct response experience with proprietary technologies to produce scalable results. Principal services include performance-based online marketing, offline direct response marketing and direct response television. SendTec represents advertising agencies and advertisers such as RealNetworks, AARP, Monster.com, AAA, Punch Software, MyPoints, Grey Worldwide, CosmetÍque Cosmetics, Columbia House, and Euro-Pro. Prior to starting SendTec, Paul was a founder and EVP of Saatchi and Saatchi's DRTV division in New York and has over 25 years of advertising, media and direct marketing experience.

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