How good are you at giving gifts? According to a national survey commissioned by Etsy, 75% of Americans believe that being a good gift giver is important and shows someone how much they mean to you, but 64% feel it takes a lot of effort to find the perfect gift.
Now the $8.4 billion market cap e-commerce company is launching a new product called Gift Mode, to make narrowing down the more than 100 million things for sale on its platform a lot easier. It’s also a strategy to differentiate itself in a world where virtually every other platform, whether it’s e-commerce like Amazon or media like Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube, presents users with the sometimes paralyzing paradox of choice.
“What brand stands for gifting?” says CEO Josh Silverman. “It’s tough to think of one. Etsy can be that.”
Here’s how Gift Mode works: After entering a few quick details about the person you’re shopping for, they can be categorized by more than 200 recipient personas. These personas are labelled with names like The Music Lover, The Adventurer, The Pickleballer, and The Pet Parent, and gift suggestions are tailored to their interests and personalities. You can then opt to create a personalized gift page for the recipient, including their gift note, tracking information, and even a sneak peek of the forthcoming item.
Silverman says that in Etsy’s brand research, while many people know about and like Etsy, but they also have a hard time determining the right occasion to actually use it. Without prompting, only 12% of U.S. shoppers name Etsy top of mind as the place to shop for gifts. “Because Etsy sells everything, it’s difficult for people to know when to turn to Etsy,” he says. “With Wayfair, for example, it’s home furnishings. But for Etsy, it’s all over the map. But the most concrete reason to trigger the habit to go to Etsy is buying cool gifts for people. When you need to buy a gift, we want people to think of Etsy. And if we can build that habit, then we hope people will then make the next step to think of it to shop for themselves, too.”
Gift Mode represents a major investment, across both product development and brand marketing, leading to Etsy’s first-ever Super Bowl ad, set to launch on February 1. Silverman says beyond the obvious reasons of scale in advertising during the big game, that Etsy has a significant opportunity to build its reputation among men. According to its survey, men think finding the perfect gift is just as stressful as doing their taxes and even more stressful than turning off their phone for the day. And 63% of younger men panic about gift shopping. But while 76% of men are confident in their ability to buy great gifts for their female significant others, only 37% of women are confident in their male partner’s ability to deliver a good gift. “As much as men are nervous about gift giving, they should be!” says Silverman.
He says that this new product launch is the first chapter of the company’s investment in the gifting space, with plans to continue to iterate and enhance Gift Mode’s capabilities in the coming months.
“The internet is full of gift guides, recommending the same stuff to everyone, so the goal here was to make great recommendations that are also personal to the individual,” says Silverman. “It all starts with knowing just one thing about them.”