The annual tidal wave of Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales has passed, videos of the storm surge serve as testaments to the mayhem. All the discounted, big-ticket items have been swept up into the eager arms of value-driven holiday shoppers. Bountiful shelves, once fully stocked with must-have products, now await the next crop of apparel, toys or electronics.
The Christmas shopping list has been checked-off: An iPad Mini for Dad, Kindle for Mom, Beats headphones for Bobby, One Direction singing dolls for Suzy.
But, what remains in the shopping season is the opportunity for the best present of all: The Unexpected Gift (TUG).
This is the magic item that comes from knowing someone so well that you get them a gift they never even thought of asking for. The item doesn’t have to be expensive – I once received a small, maroon paperback copy of Catcher in the Rye purchased for probably $0.25 from a school flea market that remains on my bookshelf today. Fulfilling these gift wishes requires only thoughtfulness and knowledge of the person and their interests.
Instead of scouring stores thinking, “What would this person want?” start from the comfort of your own home. Use today’s digital tools and these three tips for leveraging digital media to get a gift that TUGS at the heart:
1. Window Shop on Social Media:
Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest you have direct access to the things people want or need the most – they have already broadcast their interests. Maybe they have tweeted about their messy house; then buy them a Groupon for a professional cleaning service. Or, if Facebook gleans they’re a fan of American Idol, order Scotty McCreery’s holiday album from Amazon. Pinterest makes it even easier – just look for a purchasable item they pinned and wrap it up as a gift. Can’t be there to deliver the gift in person? Facebook has rolled out its ecommerce offering with over a dozen retailers and services so you can buy and send gifts directly over the social network.
2. Command the DVR:
When watching TV together, resist the urge to skip commercials. A person’s response to television advertising gives great insight into their likes and preferences. If he laughs at the latest Bud Light ad, ask casually, “What kind of beer do you like best?” and get him a case for the holidays. If she sparkles when a Gap holiday ad appears, gift a winter sweater, or hat and scarf combo. This is especially simple with kids – just aurally gauge the squeals-of-joy during a Toys “R” Us commercial to determine the most desired toy.
3. Showrooming Together:
Showrooming – the act of visiting a brick and mortar retail location to browse products, then purchasing that item online for a lower price – has grown significantly this holiday season. The National Retail Federation projects that over half of holiday shoppers will buy gifts online. Snag your tablet or smartphone and hit the stores looking for deals. By showrooming together, you’ll get direct consumer insight on the products they like most. Just be sure to dissuade them from actually purchasing the item, so you can buy it for them later.
With a little cyber-sleuthing you’ll be primed to give the perfect gift from a knowing heart. When asked, “How did you know?!!?” just say it’s a secret between Santa and you.