Customers love wish lists. They're a license to window-shop, without the restraints of budget or time. Online shoppers build millions of wish lists every day, across countless eCommerce websites, and nothing beats the satisfaction of coming back to finally buy something added to a wish list long ago.

At first, you may underestimate the power wish lists actually have. But did you know that wish lists are very helpful to merchants, too? If you run an online store, you can use customer wish lists to gain some valuable information that can help you increase your sales. You just have to know how this information can help you, and then you can start putting it to use immediately. Here are 4 great ways wish lists can boost your online sales.

1. Word-of-Mouth Advertising

This one doesn't require much action on your part, because it's handled by the customer. People share wish lists with their friends and on social media to help others gift-shop for them. Birthdays and the holiday season are both prime time for sharing of wish lists.

To help your customers share their wish lists, you should allow them to choose whether their wish lists are private or public. Provide a URL they can copy and paste wherever they want to share their wish list with others.

Customers who stop by your online store to buy a friend's wishlisted item are likely to stick around and look for other products that interest them. This is because the shared wish list acts as a form of social proof. The shopper thinks, "My friend likes this store, so maybe I'll like it too." Social proof gives you a strong marketing advantage, especially today when people rely heavily on customer reviews and personal recommendations to make their purchase decisions.

 

2. Ultra-Targeted Email Campaigns

In today's eCommerce climate, personalization is the name of the game. Customers appreciate it when merchants understand their interests, and targeted marketing that speaks directly to the customer is far more likely to get a response than a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

Thanks to wish lists, you can discover exactly what products a specific customer is interested in and tailor your marketing accordingly. Where more generic emails might be ignored, a customer will nearly always open an email relating to products on their wish list. There are several types of personalized emails you can start using right away:

 

  • Inform customers that an item on their wish list is on sale
  • Notify them that a wishlisted item is getting low in stock
  • Let them know when a wishlisted item is back in stock
  • Inform them when a wishlisted item's price changes
  • Send them a coupon applicable to an item (or items) on their wish list
  • Notify them of products that relate to items they've wishlisted
  • Send a notification of a new, featured customer review of an item on their wish list

 

All these ideas will build leverage to help draw customers back to your store and can tip their decision toward a purchase. Plus, this level of interaction will help customers feel that you care about them and don't want them to miss out.

Also consider sending an email to all customers near the holidays to encourage them to make and share a wish list. When they do, you'll have even more customers you can target on this powerful, customized level.

 

3. See Products Customers Want— but Aren't Buying

Sales data is extremely valuable, of course, but so is data regarding the products customers desire the most. The most frequently-wishlisted item may not necessarily be the top-selling item, for a number of reasons including price and the need to "think it over." Sales data doesn't always tell you what your customers really want, but wish lists can.

Pay attention to patterns in your customers' wish lists and you'll be armed with this knowledge. Use wish list data to inform promotions, pricing adjustments, and other marketing decisions.

 

4. Build Loyalty and Retention

Wish lists are a positive step overall toward building up your store as a trustworthy brand. They help eliminate assumptions about your customers, allowing you to serve them better. They're also an invitation to browse, which has customers coming back time and time again. Customers who maintain wish lists will return frequently to check for new items to add before a gift-giving day approaches and it becomes time to share. Plus, the customized marketing emails you'll be able to produce will help them feel as if you have a personal relationship with them. They'll be likely to stick around, and as mentioned earlier, recommend your store to friends.

 

Conclusion

Wish lists are a valuable tool for your online store and can make a big difference in your marketing efforts. It's easy to see why all the big names in eCommerce support wish lists for their customers. Customers and sellers both find them extremely useful, and they make the overall shopping experience better as long as their data is used effectively. If you haven't already, add a wish list feature to your online store. There's no downside!

Wish lists are just one of many ways to boost your sales by turning your online store into the perfect place for gift shopping. Check out our free Gift Shopping Guide for eCommerce Storestoday, and learn more strategies for making your store irresistible for gift shoppers!

 

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