How to add a gift message option on shopify [ 2023 Guide ]

Shopify Gift Messages

The gifting opportunity in e-commerce is massive. What was originally thought to be a boost from the consequences of the covid pandemic -- forcing us inside and left with no choice but to purchase online -- now turns out to be the new normal. One look at this latest chart from the St. Louis FED is all you need to see: E-comm is the new normal. And with that has been a linear correlation with the share of gift sales that are now taking place online.

As a Shopify store owner, big or small, it only makes sense to meet your customers where they are and provide them with more incentives to purchase their next gift from your store. If you're just getting started figuring out how make your store more attractive to gift givers and want a quick and cost-effective way to capture more gift sales, this article will be a great introduction to the ways in which you can do that. Let's dive in.

Here's what we're going to cover in this post: 

  • What are the benefits of using out of the box shopify gift message options ?
  • How to add a gift message using native shopify functionality
  • Problems with Shopify's default gift message option
  • How to use an app to automate your gift message process and add more personalization to you store without more work

What are the benefits of using out of the box Shopify gift message options ?

First let's start off with why you would use something like a gift message option.

Given how common it is to send gifts online, gifting represents a year-round opportunity for e-commerce businesses to increase sales without increasing spend, and adding a gift message option is the most low cost, low effort way to do this.

Given that the share of people looking to buy gifts for others online is increasing, offering gifting personalization will give your brand the competitive edge over other businesses when people are choosing where to buy their gift from.

In short: If they're going to buy it somewhere, give them a reason to buy it from you!

Cost effective

Using Shopify's out of the box gift message option is a super cost effective of doing this. In fact, it costs you nothing other than your time to get started. This option will attract the most passive gifters to send gifts directly from your site so you can start capturing more of those gift sales

Saves you time

Instead of customers emailing and pinging your live chat support asking to change their order to add a gift message, you can offer them the option upfront, which will save you time in the long run so you can focus on the most important parts of growing your business.

Gain New Customers

A lack of gifting options on your site may actually be losing you customers, especially during the holiday season. Customers looking to buy a gift for someone online will immediately look for the stores that offer more personalization options for their gift. Showing customers that your products make great gifts will give you a head start to capturing those customers before they leave to find a different option.

Increase AOV

Ultimately gifting options can lead to increases in average order value. Once you master the gift message option, you can start exploring other gift upsells like gift wrapping, or curated gift bundles.

Now that we've covered the benefits, let's cover the details.

How to add a gift message using native shopify functionality

( This assumes some basic familiarity with Shopify Themes and familiarity with your Shopify backend. If you have any questions along the way, refer back and don't hesitate to reach out to us for help )

Here’s how to enable it: 

  • Go Themes > Customize
  • Go To Settings
  • Click ‘Cart’
  • Check the box next to ‘Enable Cart Note’
  • You should now see a text area on the cart page where a customer can add a note to the order 
By default the Cart Note messaging isn't specific to gifts

By default, this will enable what Shopify calls the 'Cart Note' and the messaging isn't very use friendly and it isn't very specific to gifting. It will look something like the following: 

In order to change the text, we need to change the theme translations file:

  • Next to your published theme, click the button with the 3 dots > Edit default theme content
  • Use the search box to find "Order special instructions"
  • Change the value to “Add a gift message to this order” ( or whatever you prefer ) 
  • Click ‘Save’
Edit your order notes label to be specific to gift messages

Note: this may be slightly different depending on which version of Shopify Themes you are using. If you have any questions we’d be happy to help

Now you should be all set up to start receiving gift messsages along with your orders. When a customer adds a gift message to their order, it will appear on the order page under Order Notes

Order Notes on the order page in the Shopify Admin

Problems with Shopify’s default gift message option

You might already be starting think that this doesn't seem like the most user friendly option, both for yourself and for your customers. Even with the gift message option, if someone adds a message to their order, what are you -- the store owner / manager -- supposed to do with it? This is where you'll need to have a more robust gifting solution in place and will need to put in some manual work sifting through everything.

Some of the possible downsides to this solution are: 

  • manual
  • time consuming
  • impersonal

For some of you, you can connect the order note attributes directly to your Shipping provider such as Shipstation and have the message get added directly to the packing slip. For others, your customers may be expecting you to add a hand written note, or type out the message, print it out and add it to the package. This involves a bit of manual work and time on your part to copy and paste the message from each order, which during the holiday season can get a bit cumbersome.

Then there is the problem of who it's from. It's possible that the gifter added to their message a note about who it's to and who it's from, but in a lot of cases the message won't have any information attached and the gift receiver will still be left wondering: "Who the heck got this for me!?". See the above screenshot for a super common example of how people might add messages without specifying who they are.

Finally, the default gift message option puts the responsibility on you the store owner to make sure that no mistakes are made throughout the process. This requires that all of the steps along the way were done with 100% accuracy. Like a game of telephone, processes that are manual and time consuming leave lots of opportunities for details to get lost along the way.

Imagine if it's for something important such as a wedding gift or flowers sent as condolences to a grieving family. Sending a gift with a missing message just isn't acceptable in these cases.

Lastly, and on a related note, from the customer’s perspective, it is definitely a value add to be able to add the gift message to the order, however if it’s someone they care about or for something important like the wedding or a death in the family, they will likely be seeking out an additional level of personalization to make the gift truly stand out.

Automate your gift messages

If you've read this far, I appreciate you being here! I'll also assume that the time-consuming and impersonal nature of Shopify's default gift message option isn't going to be enough for you and your customers and you're looking for a simpler and more engaging way to attract more gift sales. If that's the case, Gifted is the best gifting app for saving you time and capturing more gift sales. Our primary focus is on saving you time and providing a more engaging and personalized gifting experience for your customers.

By using an app like Gifted to automate your gift messages you’ll save tons of time and eliminate the possibility of forgetting to add the gift message to the package. Your customers will love having a more engaging way to send gifts to their loved ones.

With Gifted, we will also automatically tag all your gift orders for you so that you can easily scan through your orders and quickly see which ones are gift orders

Our app dashboard will provide you with a clean table of all your gift data so you can easily see who your gift givers and gift recipients are, and their email addresses, so that you can add them to your mailing list for future marketing purposes

Gifted Demo Dashboard with all your stores gift orders with their gift messages

I hope this article has helped you! There’s some other stuff I want to show you.

Check out this blog post about how to prevent Shopify from always replacing the Customer's default address with the shipping address on every order

Or this one which covers how to make more sales with gifting

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