Whether you sell online or at physical venues such as a craft fair, gift boutique or open house, it’s important to know who your customer is. If you look at my books and journals in MisterPenQuin, what strikes you almost immediately is that the vast majority of books and journals are probably for women and girls, especially with a flower affixed to the cover. “So so cute!! Great gift for a pre-teen!” reads a comment from one of my buyers in regard to the book below. I’m pretty sure the address book was gifted to a girl, not a boy.

Address BookAccording to a recent article in Etsy’s Seller Handbook, How to Make Your Products More Giftable, adding some gift ideas to your shop can help you reach new customers. Such as, for example, guys. In the article, Etsy merchandising specialist Emily Bidwell points out that “Buyers really engage with content that offers ideas for guys. They’re really craving gift ideas for men.”

Although I don’t personally have a problem finding gifts for the guys in my life, that may not be true of everyone. According to the Seller Handbook article, people often have a person and an occasion in mind when they shop for a gift, but not necessarily a product. By developing one or more gift products for a specific type of recipient, and generating titles and tags that apply to these products, you are more likely to pull in the appropriate shoppers.

For all you know, you may already have items in your shop geared toward a specified type of person. With Father’s Day close on the heels of Mother’s Day, I figured it might be a good idea to look at the gender neutral products I already have, and earmark them for guys. Not every book or journal in my shop has a flower on the cover! Here are a couple of products I found whose title and tags could be adjusted so the focus is more male.

Safari Stripes Mini Blank Book
Safari Stripes Mini Blank Book
Leaves of Gratitude Journal
Leaves of Gratitude Journal

There are several principles you should keep in mind when developing gift products for a new customer:

  • Style and utility. Keep in mind the recipient’s preferences and needs, and how your product might fit into both. In other words, is the product something your recipient can really use? Can you make the recipient feel a need he or she doesn’t know about? Is the item functional or purposeful? Does the color, size or style have a somewhat universal appeal, or is one or more of these factors so funky that only the narrowest range of recipients will find the product appealing? It’s helpful, in this regard, to keep watch on market trends.
  • Pricing. Set a price that’s in the gift-giving range, which probably averages about $22-23. The article, How to Make Your Products More Giftable, suggests a price point somewhere in the $20 to $40 range for someone the buyer knows well, and $10 to $15 for someone less well known.
  • Uniqueness. Maybe your product has a silly or clever side, making it unique and gift-worthy. The word “geekery” comes to mind, but in a positive sense. Make sure you highlight what makes your product unique through photos, title, tags and your product description. It’s a package deal, so make sure all of your details match.
  • Packaging and customer service. Using Etsy’s Listing Variations feature, you can offer your customer a gift wrap and/or gift card option. This helps close the sale, making the buyer feel you are taking care of the entire gift-giving process, taking them from selection to wrapping and shipping. Make sure your packaging makes a positive statement, and treat your customer the same way he or she would expect to be treated in a specialty boutique. That’s what your shop really is, in a word.

There are several times of year and certain types of occasions for which you can plan to highlight products for a specific type of customer. Some of these include Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduations, birthdays, weddings and anniversaries. Keep on top of trends by visiting Etsy’s Seller Handbook and typing “trends” into the search box. Here are a couple of posts I discovered for 2015:

After I read Etsy’s How to Make Your Products More Giftable, I decided to create a Gifts for Men section in my shop, so if you’re looking for something special for that guy in your life, you’ll want to visit that section HERE. And here’s a new password book I’ll be adding to that section soon.DSCN8955What type of new customer would you like to attract? What products do you anticipate offering?

© 2015 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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3 thoughts on “How to target new customers with gift product development”

  1. Great advice, Judy! I have two shops on Etsy. The girly one is quite obviously for women 🙂 but I hope that my second shop offers some gift ideas for men. I’ve tagged a few of the items appropriately too!

  2. Paige @ Little Nostalgia

    You’re right that people always need gift ideas, and I’ve always been sure to include a few suggestions in all of my listings. I could be better about having stuff for men, though!

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