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"Is the sweater I'm sending my daughter going to arrive in a gift box? I have no way of knowing what the gift-wrap looks like."
"If I want to send 3 items to my dad, is each item going to be individually gift-wrapped?"
"It's not clear how I can add a personal note to go along with the gift to my mom."
"I don’t want the invoice to show pricing on it when my friend gets the gift. But there's nothing on the site to tell me how that would work."
"Would a gift receipt be included with the shipment?"
“I don’t want to give my credit card info before I know what options are available on the site for me to send a gift to my wife.”
The questions and comments above capture some of the uncertainties that site visitors encounter while shopping online to send items as gifts to family and friends. As we move towards the upcoming holiday months, it is important for retail sites to assess if their checkout process is optimized for gift checkout. To that end, our focus this month is to examine best practices as they relate to the following:
Availability of Gift Box/Wrap Options
Ensure site visitors are provided an option to select a gift wrap. An optimal way of incorporating this into the checkout process is to include a ‘gift wrap’ option on the order summary because the summary lists all items ordered, making it easy for users to select gift options for each individual item. Additionally, providing it in the order summary makes it early enough in the process for users to know at the outset of the checkout process that the site offers gift options. An example of how the gift box/wrap options can be presented in the order summary is illustrated by the red highlighted box in the screenshot below from a major retail site:
Once visitors click on the ‘gift wrap’ option, provide them the ability to view the types of gift wrap offered and ability to specify gift wrap options for each item in their order summary.
This is illustrated below by the red highlighted boxes. The site presents visitors a visual of the gift wrap options and fields to decline or specify gift wrap options for each item in the order summary.
Options to Add Gift Messaging
Users interested in sending gifts expect the ability to add a gift message along with their gifts. Below is an example from a site that gives visitors the choice of selecting either a complimentary basic message to be included on the packing label, or a personalized greeting card to be included for an additional charge.
When visitors click on the ‘Sample’ link (see red highlighted box above), a pop-up of a sample package label message is displayed, as illustrated below:
Additionally, those who opt to add a personalized message are given the option to select a greeting card and a field to include a personal message:
Details about Invoicing and Gift Receipts
Visitors often are concerned that the gift package that is sent out to their friends or family may contain a bill with pricing on it. Visitors expect to see a statement letting them know about the site policy regarding invoicing and gift receipts. It is a best practice to ensure that once visitors are done with selecting their gift wrapping and personal message option, they are presented with a statement informing them that the invoice sent along with the gift package will not include any pricing. Additionally, if business policies allow, consider including a gift receipt with the package and ensure visitors are informed of this in an additional statement.
Present Gift Option Selections Prior to Collecting Credit Card Information
Users want to know what types of gift options are available to them prior to entering their credit card info. Hence, ensure options pertaining to the gifts are presented at the beginning stages of the checkout process. As noted in the first example in this newsletter, a good stage in the checkout process for introducing the gift options feature is the order summary because it is early enough in the process for users to know that the site offers gift options.
Implementing the best practices discussed in this newsletter will provide users with an experience that meets their needs and expectations. Let the coming holiday season bring good cheer to your site visitors as well as ring in good sales for your company.
-Thaya Sundram, Usability Analyst