On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a messenger bag from Mulberry (pronounced Mulbe-ree).

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me, a messenger bag from Mulberry (pronounced Mulbe-ree).

The key driver for gift buying online is the same as for self-purchase…convenience. Sadly too many retailers don’t get the basics right when it comes to meeting the needs of gift buyers, and inconvenient propositions result in a lot of lost sales during the peak period.

Here are my 12 top tips to help ensure a successful Christmas trading period:

  • Gift categories including stocking fillers should be accessible from the top navigation. This will drive an increase in units sold and average order values.
  • Enable customers to search for gifts by price, gender or age.
  • Offer gift cards and vouchers. It’s a safe bet for customers when they don’t know what to buy.
  • Provide a guest checkout. If I’m buying a gift, I may not be a regular customer at that retailer and therefore don’t want to be emailed in the future.
  • Enable gift buyers to buy multiple gifts and have them delivered directly to different recipients.
  • Offer a specified date delivery option to ensure presents make it on time.
  • Enable gift buyers to have their purchases delivered to their place of work.
  • Offer free returns and enable customers to return unwanted gifts to stores as well as distribution centres.
  • Extend the date of the returns window to cater for gift recipients.
  • Have a mobile-optimised site to help shoppers buy gifts on the go.
  • Offer a free gift-wrap and card or message service.
  • Make sure all the important calls to action around gifting such as gift-wrap and gift card are communicated throughout the site. Too many sites leave it until the checkout.

Mulberry only meets three of these requirements. As such, I imagine my wife will buy that messenger bag elsewhere.

  • Martin Newman, Founder and chief executive, Practicology