Holiday Marketing Ideas: Create a Gift Concierge Service

Man shopping and texting

One in three customers plan to increase their holiday spending this year. But now that mobile shopping is growing in popularity, customers are less likely to come into stores to find their holiday gifts. While that’s more convenient for shoppers, they’re missing the person-to-person connection they used to have with store associates. It’s critical that retailers capture customers’ attention with VIP service so they can reap the benefits of their big shopping plans.

One holiday marketing idea addresses many of these challenges at once: a gift concierge service. A gift concierge is a convenient, digital VIP customer service program that helps customers meet their gifting needs—while empowering you to spread the good word about your products and services.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of a gift concierge service, from why you’d want one to how to set one up.

What Is a Gift Concierge Service?

Customers often go to stores for holiday shopping with the expectation that they’ll be able to ask store associates for advice about what to purchase for their loved ones. A gift concierge service helps you offer that same personalized experience digitally.

A gift concierge service is a digital program that allows customers to ask questions and get gift suggestions, mirroring the in-store interactions they would have with sales associates. Some retailers offer this service year-round, but more often they offer it during certain times of year, like the holiday season or before Valentine’s Day.

This digital service has three basic components:

  • Customers contact the store with questions, usually through a messaging channel
  • Customer service team organize customers’ incoming questions and assign them to a gift expert
  • Customers get connected with the gift expert in a one-on-one conversation

A gift concierge service typically works like this: Customers message your team with a special keyword, starting the gift concierge process. Your team responds, prompting them to describe the people who they’d like to buy a gift for, including some basic information about what they like. Your sales associates reply with a short list of potential gifts they can purchase. Then, customers can ask any additional questions, like what colors you offer and whether the gifts would ship before a particular holiday.

There are a variety of ways for customers to get in touch with your team digitally, but SMS and omnichannel messaging are the ideal platforms. They’re highly convenient and popular with your customers. In fact, 89% of customers want to be able to message businesses. Additionally, of the six out of 10 customers who are expected to message businesses during 2021’s holiday season, 40% of them are more likely to buy from companies that offer messaging.

Why Do I Need One?

Just like when they come into your store, your customers want to learn about your products through one-to-one conversations. They don’t want to be barraged by coupons and sales notifications, which can cause them to unsubscribe from newsletter lists. This is especially true during the holidays, when customers are eager to ask gift-related questions to store associates in person.

A gift concierge service allows shoppers to make authentic connections with your team members while getting advice they desperately need. Plus it’s a great way to authentically chat about your business’s products with customers. As holiday marketing ideas go, it’s a win-win.

How to Set Up a Gift Concierge Service

There are four key steps to setting up an SMS gift concierge service:

Step One: Prepare Your Team

First, decide which team members will answer the gift concierge texts. Ideally, these will be sales people who have a strong understanding of your brand’s products and services. You can automate assignments so these dedicated team members automatically receive all incoming customer messages that feature your gift concierge program keywords.

Step Two: Choose a Gift Concierge Service Keyword

You need to know which customers texting in want to access the gift concierge service. That way, you can direct them immediately to the designated “gift concierges.” Choose a unique keyword customers can use to text in. Consider something simple, so customers can easily text it. “GIFT” or “ADVICE” would work well.

Step Three: Announce Your Service

Now it’s time to get the word out about your gift concierge service. First, text your opted-in customers who are already part of your SMS list, including a description of the service and your special keyword. Then, announce your gift concierge service on your website and social media pages, including a description of the service, your SMS number, and the special keyword.

SMS Gift Concierge Tips

Your designated gift concierges need to make strong customers with connections while providing prompt service. To do this, they should:

  • Check customer history. Review customers’ history to understand their shopping habits better. For example, if they frequently purchase your most expensive products, you should feel comfortable recommending more expensive gifts. With an integration like Shopify SMS, you can access up-to-date customer information from within your business SMS platform.
  • Personalize messages. You should use SMS templates to create a basic gift concierge response. You can include merge tokens to draw in custom fields for each customer. (More on that in the next section.) SMS templates will help you answer customers faster while still maintaining personalization.
  • Suggest products that are in stock. Customers may want to buy their holiday gifts right after they speak with you. That’s why it’s so important to suggest products that are in stock. Make sure you have updated stock information on hand so you can make accurate suggestions.

Most importantly, don’t forget to include your personality in texts. It’s important that customers have a positive experience talking with people, not bots.

Examples of Gift Concierge Texts

SMS templates make it easy to send an initial mass text with the gift concierge announcement. Then you can use SMS templates to answer participating customers quickly. So what do gift concierge texts look like? Here are a few examples that you can tweak and use for your brand:

Hi {{customer name}}—still need to find holiday gifts? Our gift experts are here to help! Text GIFT to get advice on your holiday buys. 🎁  Text STOP to unsubscribe.

Hi there {{customer name}}, thanks for texting our gift concierge service! I’m Jean, and I’m here to help you pick out a present. Who is it that you’re looking to buy for? Text STOP to unsubscribe.

Your mom is going to love anything you get her—but from what you said, I have a few suggestions. Try the newest Remodelista cookbook, a pair of snazzy Parks and Rec oven mitts, or a local spice mix for her barbeques. (We have all of those in stock on our website!) Text STOP to unsubscribe.

Gift Concierge Service: A Holiday Marketing Idea for Connecting with Customers

A gift concierge service is an effective, simple way to help customers get an in-store experience from the comfort of their homes. Ultimately, having one-on-one conversations through a convenient channel helps you boost customer satisfaction and form strong connections with customers that keep them coming back again and again.

 

Looking for more holiday marketing ideas? Check out our holiday hacks guide.

Sophia Huneycutt
Sophia Huneycutt is Heymarket's lead writer, producing everything from articles to eBooks. She works closely with Heymarket's product and customer service teams to help convey the latest business texting best practices. A B2B technology writer since the mid-2010s, Sophia has also worked with brands like Microsoft and Indiegogo. Her dying potted plants wish she'd stick to writing in her spare time, too.
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