Do I need a Wishlist for my Shopify store?

Asking the question is the first step

As a Shopify store owner, its a great sign that you are asking the question. And if you are not, then maybe you should be. Especially given the rapidly shifting consumer landscape, where more and more consumers are interacting with you on a mobile device, the ability to convert on every visit is markedly lower. While there are lots of reasons for why friction is much higher on mobile, what often gets ignored is also how shoppers’ usage patterns are fundamentally changing because of Mobile – it is no longer about a long, involved purchase session that was the norm in the early days of e-commerce. Instead, its typically a series of disconnected user sessions that make up the shopping journey in this new world, potentially spanning more than one device.

The stores that make it easier for their shoppers to pick up where they left off are undoubtedly better positioned to win – we consistently see that with the brands we work with. Note that I am not trivializing the importance of optimizing your experience for Mobile – that’s table stakes now. But over and above that, you want to be able to give your shoppers a truly seamless, connected experience that reflects the interactions they’ve had with your site over time. Unless you are a store that either has very few products (think under 10), or you are largely driving impulsive, low-value purchases, you should absolutely think about capabilities that help create that sense of continuity – and a Wishlist is at the top of that list of capabilities.

The value to the shopper

Consumers typically use a wishlist in one of the following ways:

  • Bookmark products that they’d like to buy, but aren’t ready just yet. Think of it as a “Save for Later” action
  • Put together a collection of items they are considering for simpler organization, so they can compare and make a final decision later – either in the same session, or later
  • Share their favorite products with friends and family – likely to let them know their interests

The one common theme across all of the above scenarios is a strong purchase intent, sometimes active and sometimes not-so-active. When viewed in the context of today’s disconnected shopping journeys, the value of capturing these and making them easily accessible for shoppers is such a critical element of the experience you offer them.

What is the value to your Shopify store?

As stated earlier, giving your shoppers the ability to add items to their Wishlist significantly enhances the experience they have on your store. There is a good reason leading retailers like Amazon and Ebay offer these – the usage scenarios and implementations might vary by retailer, but the fact remains that these lists drive a lot of purchases eventually.

In addition to that improved experience, Wishlists also give you great insights into which of your products are popular with shoppers, what the demand is for those etc. In the absence of that, you are having to rely solely on purchase and browse data to forecast demand and that can be rather challenging.

And lastly, using the contents of a shopper’s wishlist to target them with relevant triggered campaigns will help drive much better engagement with shoppers. Getting timely information on products that they care about consistently delivers improved engagement and better conversions, so it really is a win-win scenario.

How do I make my Wishlist effective?

The first and last rule, as with most user-facing features, is to keep it simple. Make the feature easy to discover and use, and make the contents of their wishlist easily available to shoppers on any of their devices. Requiring a user to create an account and log in before they can use your Wishlist is really an archaic, fundamentally broken approach that renders the feature unusable for most shoppers. Especially when they are on a mobile device with a very limited attention span, shoppers would rather just abandon and go to your competition that offers a better experience than take the pains of creating an account just to save an item to their wishlist.

Occasionally, we hear concerns from merchants on the negative impact an “Add to Wishlist” button can have on conversion rates. The wishlist almost always helps your conversion rate over time. Here’s a simple way to think about it — the ability to add to wishlist is NOT going to prevent a potential buyer from buying. Instead, you are much better off making it easy for shoppers to buy directly from their wishlist, targeting them with personalized messaging based on their wishlist contents and basically enabling them to buy when they are ready. The metrics we’ve seen on conversion rates and purchase activity from the Wishlist module consistently support that.

If you are on the Shopify platform, the good news is you have plenty of compelling options available via the Shopify app store – pick the one that works for you, and the value you accrue over time in delivering a better experience is guaranteed to improve your bottom line. Stay tuned for our next post where talk about best practices and the metrics we typically see with our customers.

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