You, me, and every single person you've ever met and ever will meet has a deep and inherent desire to be acknowledged.
Whether it's a compliment on a fresh haircut, congratulations on a work milestone, or a satisfied moan after eating a well-cooked meal, it's hard coded into our DNA to crave recognition especially when there's extra effort exerted.
Call me cynical, but to me, the holiday season is like a yearly exam designed to see how well you've been paying attention to how your loved one's interests have changed, and there's an awful long build-up to see if that effort paid off.
Don't get me wrong; I love the season, it's just that it's overwhelming finding the perfect gift in addition to decorating, visiting the in-laws, booking travel, paying bills, shoveling snow, and everything else that comes with the season.
Sticking with the exam metaphor, it's not like you get an immediate reaction after you've purchased your gifts.
Your gifts sit in a dusty closet for weeks while you wait, second guessing yourself asking, "did I get it right?" "What if someone else got it?" "I hope it's the right size/color/model." Finally, the day comes when you sit anxiously watching as they tear through the wrapping paper, waiting to catch that immediate, genuine reaction cross their face.
Pass the test, and your reward is a glowing "Oh WOW! Thank you!" and constant raving about how you are the perfect gift-giver.
Fail, and it's "Oh...haha...thanks," and you wait another 365 days for redemption.
I'm not the only one that feels this way, right?
Finding Opportunity in The Human Need for Appreciation
As a business owner, you have to wonder, could the kind of self-rewarding mentality of gift giving create the real estate for engagement with the gift-giver?
But doesn't mean you can't reward them somehow for buying from you.
For this gift-giving, seasonal segment of shoppers - which is notorious for buying once then disappearing - appreciation of their thoughtful purchase could be what's needed to encourage a repeat purchase.
Rishi Jalan lays out in this Quora thread the benefits appreciation from others can bring in our daily lives:
Don't these sound like qualities you'd like to bestow upon your new, thoughtful gift-giver?
With a simple acknowledgment of their good taste in gift giving, It's not unreasonable to think they may buy more gifts from you in the future, or maybe even something for themselves.
Now the question is...how?
Surprise Your Gift-Giver With a Dual Unboxing Experience
It's pretty straight-forward actually.
Create an additional layer to the unboxing experience that acknowledges your gift giver's great taste in gifts.
As a quick recap, the basic parts of an unboxing experience are:
- The outer shell shipping box
- The fancier inner shell box (this will be what's gift wrapped)
- The inner packaging, including the item, inserts, and additional promo materials
The idea is to follow the basics of unboxing experience best practices, but in between the first and second layers of the unboxing.
When the gift-giver receives the package in the mail, they'll open it up and see sitting on top of their perfectly gift wrapped present some kind of affirming messaging that acknowledges them as a part of the buying process.
This could be anything from:
- A simple "thank you for buying" message
- Discounts for them to buy something for themselves
- Free samples they can enjoy for themselves
We're not reinventing the wheel. We're just taking an extra step and giving credit to the gift-giver for choosing you.
Unfortunately, not many brands are doing this from what I've been able to tell, so I can't point you to a brand and say "here, this is a great example" but that should be viewed as a testament to the untapped opportunity.
How This Increases Customer Acquisition
Think of all the times you've ever bought yourself something while shopping for a gift. Now think of all new retailers you've discovered while buying for someone else.
In 2014, the National Retail Foundation found that around 15% of holiday spending is done on "self-gifting." In 2015, that percentage increased to 16.5% ($132 out of $800 spent on gifts) with 60% of shoppers admitting to buying items just for themselves and showing an upward trend in recent years of self-gifting behavior.
The dual unboxing experience taps directly into the heart of this behavior and encourages the gift-giver to spend their self-gifting budget with you in a way few other retailers have thought of.
It'd be reasonable to have concerns about additional costs to take advantage of this opportunity, after all, you're doubling the amount of inserts, samples, or whatever else you'd use to acknowledge your gift-giver.
However, when thinking about the long-term potential for repeat purchasing, word of mouth, and potentially acquiring two customers for the cost of one, especially because it taps into a rising trend in consumer behavior, it's at least worth considering.
It's a fairly new concept, so I'd love to get your thoughts on this in the comments below.