This is why most gift retailers sell the wrong way

Selling gifts is different to most other retail, and most get this wrong

Most retailers make one mistake in selling. (If you don’t count the obvious idiocy of poor service).

They sell the product. They focus on the features. They sell the drill not the hole in the wall. They sell the perfume not the sex appeal, the steak not the sizzle – as all those clichés go.

Gift retailers make that mistake too. But one other mistake that is observed often in gift retailing is that the retailer is selling to the customer.


Yes, you read that correctly. The economic buyer is very often (usually?) not the one that will be enjoying that purchase. The customer is buying for someone else. That is why it is called a gift, right?

Now the receiver of the gift could be very different from the customer you are facing in the store. An old person may be buying for a child, a man for women, a cheater for a lover.

So, you should sell to the recipient, right? And you would be thinking that you do. You always ask who the gift is for and what that person might like.

But that is not the full picture either.

Not only must you sell through the granny to the grandchild, you must ALSO sell to the granny in accordance with the first point above. That is, you must sell the sizzle (how it will make her feel) when her grandchild receives the gift (that the kid would like).

The grandma is not buying a gift, she is buying the opportunity to be loved; a moment to be the ‘best grandma in the world.’

As an aside: How could you put a price on that? If you are selling the RIGHT thing to the right person, then price very rarely comes into it. (Seth Godin said it well in a recent post.)

Selling is easy if you go about it the right way.


GANADOR: Client Acquisition, Retention and Engagement

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