• Home
  • News
  • Retail
  • How to use gift wrapping as a strategy to gain return shoppers

How to use gift wrapping as a strategy to gain return shoppers

By Guest Contributor


Scroll down to read more



The annual party season is open and we are once again hunting for festive outfits and surprising gifts. It is the high season for fashion retailers. At the same time, there is no shortage of staff to keep the tills ringing, let alone to sparkle in the packages of the purchases. Yet at the same time, the staff cannot be dragged along to ring the cash registers, let alone to wrap the purchases perfectly. And that's a shame, because that's where retailers miss much-needed opportunities, especially outside the festive season. The packing moment is the last moment to encourage your customers to come shop again. It is high time to see the packing moment as a future sales moment.

Expanding contact moments in this age of digitalization and corona

The contact moments with your customer are essential for your sales strategy. We all recognize the commercial value of the moments in which we help the customer find the right size, or provide styling advice at the fitting rooms. In this age of digitalization and corona, these contact moments are becoming scarcer and more fleeting. Making real contact in order to cash in on your sales strategy is therefore becoming more and more of a challenge.

At the same time, there are fashion retailers who are embracing digitization to improve the customer experience - even without human contact. For example, I recently bought some sweaters at Uniqlo and was impressed by their self-scanning checkout. Thanks to the smart RFID technology in the checkout system, I did not have to unpack my shopping bag, but I could simply drop it - with all the clothes in it - into a loading bay. The pile of textile was scanned in seconds into an orderly amount on the screen. And after a quick wave with the Apple Pay on my phone, the receipt rolled out. Just barely a robotic arm came out of the machine to wrap my purchases, otherwise this moment of convenience would be a scene from Back To The Future. Despite the fact that no employee was involved, this experience was very pleasant for me and offered me a quick exit from the crowded store. How different it was at a competitor's store, where I found a cash register with an employee. This time it took longer at the checkout, my clothes were stuffed more sloppily into the bag than I would have done myself, and I was handed the mumbled version of "have a nice day. Although this is an isolated and unfortunate example, I often notice that the very last contact moment in the sales process is left unused. A shame, because with a manned checkout you can cleverly expand your arsenal of contact moments.

Uniqlo self scan(via Melvin van Tholl)

From Contact to Contract: doing it with the 'r' of retention

The trick is to see the wrapping moment as your stage for unforgettable customer loyalty. If the customer is passively watching anyway, you might as well give him a 'show'. A great example of this is the Chanel shop-in-shop at the Bijenkorf. We recently bought a special cream there for my mother-in-law as a birthday present. To start with, a special gift box was brought out. While the jar disappeared into the box, the saleswoman asked us what other products the birthday girl would like. Very generously she took a number of samples and made a whole package of them in the gift box: a true party package. It was tied with a bow. And when we asked for an extra bag to transport this precious gift safely, another bow was placed around this bag. A Chanel bag never leaves the store without a bow. A week later my mother-in-law was in seventh heaven with all her goodies. And she was already craving her own visit to Chanel. So apart from the fact that we will go back next time for a repeat performance to surprise someone else, Chanel has gained an extra customer from my mother-in-law. That's retention - or repeat visits - plus customer acquisition in one wrapping moment.

With this, Chanel proves all too well how to turn a contact moment into a contract moment (= customer retention) by adding the 'r' of retention marketing. And your wrapping moment is extremely well suited for this. Adding a small gift and personal attention is not only surprising in the perception of the customer, but also serves as a bit of compensation for 'waiting', a thank you for the purchase and as an invitation for next time.

Chanel giftbox from De Bijenkorf, Amsterdam (via Melvin van Tholl)

Getting started packing clients yourself: tips

How can you do this yourself easily and on a wallet-friendly budget? Here are some tips to turn your wrapping moment into a wow moment in the customer experience:

  • Leverage the talents of your present employees. Like at Issey Miyake's boutique in Tokyo, where I watched in complete amazement as the employee artfully wrapped a customer's purchases according to the clean line patterns the brand is known for. And as a finishing touch, a small piece of origami performance was added in the shape of a bird or flower. In this way, the wrapping was very cleverly used as an unforgettable signature moment in the customer experience.
  • Pass along a solution as an afterthought for the product sold. In Madrid, the saleswoman at a sweater store wrapped my fresh merino wool purchase with a sachet. Later, in my closet, this not only diffused the wonderful home fragrance of the brand, but also especially kept the moths away from my purchase. This allowed me to enjoy it for a long time to come. Scent is a strong medium to store your brand in the memory of the customer.
  • Make every contact with your product a happy moment. Humour is the best promo, I am sure they thought at my favourite sock store. When packing my purchases, they ask if I need a love bag for my socks. That's a laundry bag for socks that says, "Getting separated really socks! In this, your socks never get lost in the wash. At the same time, I also think back to my shopping visit with a smile every time I wash them.

This way, with a surprising packing moment, you can still make a visit to your business even well outside the festive season, a party to - come back!

This is a contribution by Melvin van Tholl, Customer Experience Architect, of BLOODY BELIEVERS. The creative-strategic agency that helps brands and companies develop breakthrough solutions in their customer experience. He does this for companies both in the Netherlands and abroad. In this series he takes you into the wonderful world of the consumer, with lessons for making your company futureproof based on the customer experience.

This article was originally published on FashionUnited.NL, translated and edited to English by Kelly Press.

Bloody Believers
gift wrapping
Holiday Shopping