The Secrets of Highly Giftable Products

What makes a perfect present?

You’ve got a highly giftable product when retailers and customers look at the lovely thing you make and see the answer to their prayers.

When you can make that happen, there’s no need to sell them on anything because they’re already sold.

Here are three qualities highly giftable products have in common.

1. Highly giftable products solve problems (instead of creating them.)

Some presents are a total pain in the ass.

They may be beautiful. They may be expensive. They may be given with love. They’re still a hassle, wrapped in a nuisance, tied with a bow made from pure inconvenience.

That’s because they make the person receiving the gift do work of some kind. In order to use or enjoy the gift, they have to expend time, energy or money. They have to frame it, find the right screws so it can go on the wall or buy a cushion to go inside their new cushion cover.

They didn’t sign up for those tasks and would probably much rather be shot-gunning toffifees while watching Working Girl than schelpping around Ikea.

When people choose presents they’re often aware of this, so if your product looks like it’s going to be a bother they may steer clear – as will potential stockists.

Help your buyers out by: doing the work for them.

If you make tea-light holders, include a tea-light in each box. If you make prints, provide a couple of picture hooks and a wire for the back – or even just a card giving advice on framing and hanging.

Most suppliers don’t think about this stuff. If you’re doing your best to make things easy for the customer, that’s a selling point for the retailer. Make sure to point out your helpful additions in your wholesale catalogue or on your packaging.

2. Highly giftable products look like a complete present.

Have you ever bought a present for someone, got it home and realised that, actually, it doesn’t look like much?

Regardless of how much you spent, the gift somehow doesn’t seem as generous or as thoughtful as you want it to. There’s something missing.

You don’t feel good about giving it.

So instead of gleefully ticking that person off your list and helping yourself to another chipolata, you head out into the frosty night, searching for something else to go with the item you’ve bought.

You roam the aisles of your local 24-hour Asda, searching for a bag of sweets, a set of pens, a mug, a bumper pack of courgettes – some little extra that will bulk out the gift and allow you to feel like it’s finally enough.

This is why people hate Christmas shopping. The endlessness. The false dawns when you think you’re done, then suddenly realise you need a courgette for every damn person you know.

Help your buyers out by: combining small items to make a larger, ready-made present, and putting little items into gift boxes or baskets to make them feel bigger.

This isn’t so much of an issue with large presents. Handing over a huge box, even if there’s just one thing inside, pretty much always feels good.

Giving someone a little thing, however, even if it’s expensive, can feel a bit mean. That’s when the urge to find extra stuff kicks in.

So if you make little items, pair them up in advance. Find ways to make them seem bigger and more complete. Save your customers from frantically buying courgettes at 11.23pm on Christmas Eve.

3. Highly giftable products sing on the shelf.

You’ve heard me talk about shelf appeal – that hard-to-define quality that makes some products sell by the bucket load.

That kind of magic is often the result of extended trial and error, but there are some simple things you can do to nudge your packaging in the right direction.

Use colours that stand out. Dark shades may be traditionally wintry but they can make a product blend into the background. Jewel-tones, which are both rich and bright, may more effective than flat shades.

Give your products a Christmas twist. That might mean you add a few robins here and there, or you could simply choose a new colour of ribbon to go around your candles. Little tweaks like this can help customers see your work with fresh eyes.

Make sure your packaging speaks to your target customer. If, for example, you make hand lotion for stylish, environmentally conscious women who enjoy natural scents, your packaging should call out to that type of customer – it should wave hello to them.

When you get this right, you’re helping to sell your product not only to your target customer, but to her friends and family and the retailers who serve her.

I’ve been talking with Indie Retail students this week about seeing your lovely thing as your buyers do. Giftability is a good marker of your ability to do that.

The more you understand your customer, the more giftable your products become.

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