How to Make the Most Out of Your E-Commerce Wish List

Sep 14, 2023 11:00:00 AM
12 min read

Have you ever found an item online that you love so much, but it’s either out of stock, way too expensive, or not practical enough to close the deal on? You’re not alone.

Laptop with the screen displaying an e-commerce store. Overtop of the display, is a canopy, mimicking a physical store front. Many shoppers find products they want but aren’t ready to buy. What happens to these items? A study from the University of Glasgow found that 74% of online consumers use shopping carts to stash their favorites until a later date. Unfortunately, many of these products remain untouched, contributing to a lofty average cart abandonment rate of just over 70 percent. This is where a wish list comes in really handy.

Digital customers use wish lists for several reasons. Whether it’s to save products they’re interested in, track price changes, or share items with others as gift ideas for a special occasion, wish lists provide a convenient way for shoppers to manage the online finds they want most.

In fact, 40% of consumers think their shopping experience would be better if retailers offered a wish list. For e-commerce businesses, this is a gold mine for finding out exactly what your customers want most from your store. Of course, these lists don’t guarantee sales, but with the right insights and strategies, the opportunity to convert wish lists into revenue is closer (and easier) than you might think.

In this article, we’ll share some practical and effective ways to make the most out of your customer wish lists, and the advantages of implementing this must-have feature in your website.

E-Commerce Wishlist Best Practices

Your e-commerce wish list is a powerful loyalty tool. Here are the most important things to focus on to delight your customers and increase your sales.

Create a seamless experience.

The first step to making the most of your wish list is turning it into something your customers will want to use. And that starts by ensuring the user experience is effortless.

Make the wish list visible and easily accessible.

Two hands clasping each other.The only way shoppers will use a wish list is if they can find it. Place the wish list in relevant locations, such as at the top of your website, where it can be seen and accessed from any page.

You’ll also want to include a prominent “Add to Wish List” button on every product page since this is where your customers are likely to utilize it most, and be most disappointed if it’s not there—24% of users are ready to leave a site if this button isn’t available.

Tip: Many e-tailers require customers to create an account and log in to use the wish list. Instead, offer this feature for everyone by utilizing on-site cookies, and take advantage of the insights you gather from anonymous users to enhance the customer experience even more. You can even use an exit-intent pop-up when it looks like a shopper is about to navigate away from your site, to prompt them to create an account so they don’t lose their wish-listed items.

Create a user-friendly interface.

Customers need to be able to manage items on their wish lists easily. To achieve this, shoppers should be able to:

  • Add products with just one click
  • Remove items they no longer want
  • Move items from their list directly to their cart
  • Create and name multiple lists based on different product types, occasions, or interests
  • Filter products based on price, priority, discount, purchase status, and even reviews.

Ensure cross-platform compatibility.

Floating illustration of a smartphone.Your customers aren’t visiting your site using the same channels, so it’s important to make sure wish lists are both functional and accessible across all devices and platforms. This includes desktop, tablet, and mobile devices (including apps), which are projected to exceed $510 million by the end of this year. (Source: Insider Intelligence)

Send targeted notifications.

The information captured in wish lists provides an opportunity to connect with your customers through personalized notifications that act as reminders about items that they’ve already indicated they’re interested in.

Update them when items are back in stock.

Illustration of a floating speech bubble. Many shoppers add out-of-stock items to their wish list, in the hopes that they come back again in their size or desired color(s). Informing customers when an item they’ve been wishing for is back in stock can rekindle their interest and increase the likelihood of them making a purchase. These alerts are so successful that they have an incredible 22.45% average conversion rate!

Warn them when stock is running low.

Who hasn’t experienced a case of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) at least once in their life? For shoppers wavering on “to buy or not to buy,” a low stock alert is often all it takes to compel them to make an immediate purchase.

Send price-drop alerts.

Illustration of a coin with a dollar sign on it.At times like these, when the price of everything seems to be on the rise, a lot of customers may be holding off until a deal comes around. If an item goes on sale, always send a personalized notification to any shoppers who have it on their wish list to encourage them to take advantage of the lower price while it’s still available.

Recover those abandoned carts.

Wish lists can be a valuable tool for cart recovery. By automatically adding abandoned products to a user's wish list, you still have a chance to nudge them towards completing the purchase down the road.

Send out personalized emails or text reminders.

Two letters traveling through the air. Only 50% of the top 100 e-commerce businesses send cart abandonment emails. Integrating wish lists into your abandoned cart recovery strategy is an effective way to remind users of the wish-listed items they left in the cart. A gentle “Don’t forget your favorites” email can be all it takes to get them to come back to the site to complete their purchase.

Tip: Sometimes, shoppers forget what they’ve saved on their wish lists. Extend your abandonment alerts to include wish lists, which can be used in the same format as cart abandonment reminders.  

Don’t forget to include an incentive.

Illustration of a present with the lid off, floating over top.Though some customers may complete their orders without any additional offers, a large portion of your shoppers will be more compelled if there is an offer attached. When sending out abandoned cart or wish list emails, highlighting a targeted promotion can incentivize them to complete their purchases. Examples include free shipping or a limited-time discount, if the order is completed within a certain time frame.

Allow customers to share their wish lists.

When customers share their wish lists, it not only spreads awareness about your brand, but can also result in additional sales and visibility for your e-commerce site—especially in gift-giving circumstances (like Peak Season!)

Make sharing easy peasy.

Customers should be able to send their wish lists to friends or family via email or text within a couple of clicks, so include a prominent share button that makes this possible.

Person smiling and giving thumbs up to a computer. The computer is displaying a thumbs up on the screen in return. You’ll also want to provide ‘View Only’ and ‘View and Edit’ options that shoppers can choose from when sharing their lists, as well as privacy options (Private, Shared, Public) that your customers can choose from to limit who can see their lists at any given time.

Incentivize social sharing.

Two hands reaching out, about to shake, in front of a green circle. Having your customers share their wish lists on social media is a great way to attract new customers and generate buzz about your products and brand—especially since sales via social media platforms are estimated to reach nearly $1.3 billion worldwide by the end of 2023.

To motivate shoppers, consider offering an incentive, such as a promo code, to those who share their wish lists on their social platforms. Include social sharing buttons to the most popular platforms to make the process seamless and simple.

Use wish list analytics to your advantage.

E-commerce brands can leverage data from customer wish lists and saved 'favorite' items to boost revenue, increase conversions, and enhance the overall customer experience.

Spotlight popular wish list items.

Illustration of a magnifying glass. Wish lists will reveal the products your customers are most interested in. Take this information and highlight the most-wished-for items on your website and in marketing campaigns (including social media) to create a sense of urgency among potential buyers. What’s great about this is that you’ll gain deeper customer insights by discovering which of these products receive the most click-throughs.

Create personalized recommendations.

Mobile shopper being served a pop-up. Behind the shopper, is a graph showing an upward revenue trend, suggesting the pop-up is increasing revenue. Wish list users are further down the sales funnel than those who are merely browsing, so a personalized message is a great way to get them to navigate to the end of their journey with a sale. Use the data from wish lists to provide tailored product recommendations similar to the items they’ve saved.

Machine learning software, like Granify, is an incredibly efficient way to suggest related products based on their wish list items, browsing history, and purchase behavior. You can even use these insights to upsell and cross-sell additional products to further increase your average order value. For instance, if a customer has a handbag on their wish list, you could cross-sell the matching wallet. And get this – 10% to 30% of most e-commerce revenue is generated through upsells.

Refine your marketing strategies and product offerings.

Person with a lightbulb above their head, pointing upwards as though they've had a good idea. The information found on wish lists reveals a lot about your customers. You’ll be able to analyze this data to gain insights into customer preferences, popular products, and trends. You can then use this information to inform future product offerings and marketing strategies.

Tip: Categorize wish lists based on factors like product type, price range, or occasion, which can help tailor your marketing efforts to different shopper segments.

Offer exclusive wish list promotions.

Brand loyalty goes a long way, so why not reward shoppers using wish lists by offering exclusive promotions and discounts on wish list items? This strategy not only encourages purchases but also strengthens the bond between your brand and your customers.

Reach out over birthdays.

Two people discussing. Between them, is a lightbulb, suggesting they've both had an idea. Nothing says, “I care about you” more than wanting to celebrate someone on their special day. Sending a birthday discount for items in a customer's wish list is a great way to encourage them to treat themselves—and remain loyal going forward.

Tip: Don’t limit this incentive to just birthdays. Offer a discount on wish list items for other holidays too, such as Mother’s Day, Halloween, and even “Ditch New Year’s Resolution Day (that’s January 17th, btw).

Integrate wish lists into your loyalty programs.

ourstory_5@2xLoyalty programs already offer incentives, but there are always more opportunities to delight! One simple way to do this is by rewarding customers with points or special offers for adding items to, and purchasing items from, their lists. Not only will this encourage repeat visits, but it’s an easy way to garner more sales.

Plan seasonal wish list campaigns.

Planning special promotions and campaigns around peak-season shopping and other seasonal events will encourage users to engage with their wish lists for gifting and shopping purposes. Add exclusive deals or bundles to incentivize wish list conversions even more.

Wish List Benefits

Illustration of a star with smaller little stars travelling around it.Wish lists allow you to tap into your customers’ thoughts. Whenever a shopper adds a product to their list, they’re creating a profile of their interests. Analyzing this data can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends, which can be used to create smarter e-commerce strategies.Here are some of its biggest advantages.

It improves the customer experience.

Wish lists provide a convenient way for shoppers to save products they are interested in without committing to a purchase if they’re not ready. Customers can access their wish lists anytime they visit your site, allowing them to quickly view and manage items they want. This enhances their shopping experience by allowing them to revisit and consider these items without the need to search for them again.

It reduces cart abandonment.

Empty shopping cart. Wish lists encourage users to hold off on adding products to the cart before they are ready to buy. This feature can help reduce cart abandonment rates and encourage customers to return later to make a purchase. Wish lists also allow customers to compare products before committing, potentially reducing the likelihood of abandoning their cart due to indecision.

It boosts sales and conversions.

As we touched on previously, wish lists are often used for gift-giving occasions, allowing customers to share their desired products with friends and family. In addition to driving additional sales, your new visitors may find something they want for themselves, leading to a greater influx of revenue for your brand. Wish lists also serve as reminders for customers about products they want to keep an eye on. This can lead to increased conversions when customers return to complete their purchases.

It increases customer engagement and loyalty.

Shopper sitting in armchair with a laptop. The shopper is about to make a purchase from home. By offering wish lists, you can gather data on customer preferences and behaviors. This information can be used to personalize product recommendations and marketing efforts, increasing engagement and the likelihood of repeat purchases. It also demonstrates that you value your customers' preferences and their shopping experience, which fosters brand loyalty.

It helps you more accurately manage your inventory.

Monitoring wish lists can provide insights into which products have generated the most interest. Not only will you be able to see what's popular and what’s not, but you can use wish lists and associated conversion rates to plan stock levels accordingly, preventing unnecessary stock-outs.

It drives more traffic to your site.

A shareable wish list is one of the easiest ways to attract new visitors to your
site. Customers can share their lists with others, and your e-store gets the chance to showcase its products to more people, with hopes of attaining more sales and brand loyalty in the process.

Closing Thoughts

Person smiling as though satisfied, with arms crossedAn optimized wish list experience can benefit both your customers and your bottom line. These benefits collectively contribute to a more convenient and enjoyable shopper journey, while also helping to boost your e-commerce sales and customer engagement.

By incorporating the best practices we’ve suggested, your e-commerce brand can transform wish lists from a passive feature into a dynamic tool that drives sales and builds lasting customer relationships.

Turn your e-commerce wish list into revenue reality.

Person using crystal ball to predict the future. Granify's advanced machine learning algorithms analyze customer behavior, and our tailored messages are shown only when we predict a customer will most likely convert. Talk to us today to learn more about how our AI-powered technology can increase your revenue immediately!

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