How To Find The Right Gift? An Eternal Question Answered By Poltio 

The bumpy psychology behind gifting our loved ones

Picking the right gift for your loved one, whether he/she or they/them, can be arduous. A stressing one, to be exact. The state of limbo, where we don’t know what to buy, can be pretty daunting. Questions like “Should I spend more and break the bank, or push my imagination’s limit to guess the perfect, desirable gift?” lurk in the deepest corners of our minds.

According to Jeff Galak, an associate professor of marketing at the Carnegie Mellon Tepper School of Business, recipients do not care about the price of a gift unless they figure out how practical the gift is for them. “It seems pretty intuitive that if you spend more, you’re going to get a better gift,” says Galak. “It turns out that there’s no evidence that recipients are sensitive to the cost of a gift when they figure out how much they’re going to enjoy that gift.”
This perspective, although helpful, does not fully answer our question. ​We also need context for our gifts. Is it a special occasion? Is it their birthday, an anniversary, or better yet, is it Christmas? Pick the wrong gift at the wrong time and you might ruin a relationship.

Elizabeth Dunn, a psychology professor at the University of British Columbia, has excellent research on this subject. “Choosing the wrong gift can be kind of risky for relationships because it says you don’t have anything in common,” says Dunn, underlining an essential matter that many of us easily forget. Her research also shows that unwanted gifts can sometimes negatively impact the receiver’s perception of a relationship’s future potential.

The true challenge of finding the perfect gift

If we look at gifting at a surface level, selecting the perfect gift can seem impossible. While the road ahead might look rocky and unfeasible to complete, the motivations and symbolism behind our gifts guide us. According to research from the University of California, there are four main types of gifts:

  1. Gifts that are symbolic of the self and the giver
  2. Gifts that are symbolic of the giver’s knowledge of the receiver
  3. Gifts that are symbolic of the occasion
  4. Gifts that are expressive and contain an array of significant meanings

When asked, we generally think the most critical gifts fall into the second category: symbolic gifts that mean something to the receiver. Gifts that the receiver wants but wouldn’t have bought themselves.
As a seconder to this belief, a paper written by Mary Finley Wolfinbarger named Motivations and Symbolism in Gift-Giving Behavior proves that least favorite gifts are usually too symbolic of the giver and have little to do with the receiver. Wolfinbarger also argues that most gifts compromise what the receiver would like and what the giver would like the receiver to have. If Wolfinbarger is too complicated, here is a chart that might help. 

Source: Activity Superstore

Even if we glanced over this chart at a surface level, we now know what a perfect gift is: a perfect gift is a gift that keeps on giving. How much it can offer can be separated into two categories: usefulness and surprise effect. We can think of these two as a guideline for essential gifting hacks. If we go too much for the surprise effect, we might lose the plot and gift something that is not useful at all. We go too much for usefulness and might make the surprise factor disappear. The key is finding the middle ground, something that is both useful and surprising at the same time. That’s why Poltio is here to help.

The assistance you didn’t know you needed: Poltio Universal Gift Finder

Poltio Universal Gift Finder is a must-have for businesses this holiday season. Whether you want to drive online sales or ask direct questions to customers and make instant offers according to customers’ lifestyles and needs, we are here to help. With our Universal Gift Finder, you can maximize engagement and conversion rates across your existing and new customers. 

How does it work?

Poltio’s Gift Finder is a product recommendation module powered by Zero Party, Self-Identified Data fueled directly by the answers your customers give to some key questions.  Using Poltio’s widgets, you can ask your customers the right questions and match each individual customer with the right product(s).


Poltio has an extensive know-how when it comes to ‘asking the right questions’ and gifting is a category where the Universal Product Finder really works well.  

The flow of questions that the customer will answer before receiving a recommendation can and should be optimized for each company and category of products but Poltio suggests keeping key data points in place.

A first decision to be made is the methodology of making a recommendation.  

Persona based recommendation:  We suggest making persona based recommendations when you have a variety of products to recommend from, spread between various categories or if the type of product to recommend is directly linked with the end-consumer’s personality.  Another use case for persona based recommendations is when you don’t have a detailed product feed, with specific attributes to run a search function on.

Search based recommendation:  We suggest search based recommendation where there is a detailed product feed in place, with detailed attributes for each SKU and the category or categories of products to be recommended are possible to differentiate based on specific requirements.  Search based recommendation, also allows for the activation of learning models.  Minimal attributes to have in place in a product feed to support search based recommendation is product description, category info, price info, delivery time and at least 2 more differentiative attributes, available for all products.

Here’s an example flow for making Search Based gift recommendations, in the existence of a detailed product feed to search from.  The search algorithm uses a combination of filter based triggers; that directly work as search filters and learning segments; that are used for the learning algorithm.

Filter attributes: For example in this flow the first question will be one, asking for the ‘gender’ of the gift recipient.  If the product feed has gender based attributes, when the gift recipient is a Male, the tool will filter out all SKUs that don’t have the attribute Male.

Same goes for Product Category, Price and Time.  If the gift buyer is looking to buy flowers, products in other categories should be filtered out.  If the max budget is $30 and the customer needs to give the gift the same day, all products more expensive should be removed.  In order to be able to do this, the product feed needs to have these attributes for each individual product, SKU.

Learning segments: On the other hand, learning segments are hard to include in attributes.  If the customer is looking to buy a gift to say ‘I’m sorry’, in many cases that info will not exist as an attribute.  Similarly, products may have gender info but choosing a gift for your mother or your wife are different and most probably will not be in a product description.  For all of these ‘non-direct’ attributes, the model will use machine learning to make many tests, based on personas created on the fly and start identifying the right products to recommend for each scenario.

To put it better in short clauses, we help you:

  • Uplift sales by 60% 
  • Offer an ROI that can’t be ignored
  • Maximize engagement
  • Integrate easily with popular tools
  • Get to know customers better get detailed fresh insights 
  • Segment your consumers & Create Personas

Above 80% of customers complete Gift Finder’s questions, and 50% of consumers engage with our product finders. Imagine a sales loop where nearly 80% of your customers find what they are looking for in seconds. The only thing your company needs is asking questions to guide your customers. The power of Poltio’s Universal Gift Finder questions yield is mind-blowing regarding sales conversion.

In perspective, asking these questions enables you to find your customers’ style preferences and then map them to only the most relevant products and gift ideas based on their unique answers. By using Poltio’s Universal Gift Finder, you’ll maximize engagement and conversion rates and get to know customers better, increasing average order value across all your customer bases.

Plus, the opportunities don’t end with these. If you want to educate consumers on your products and why they’re better than what the competition can offer. Gift Finder can quickly help you get this out of the way in the most interactive and engaging way you can imagine. 

On the flip side, you don’t just get to make better suggestions or educate your consumers; you also get your fair share from zero-party “self-segmented” data. Meaning you are bonding with your customers through willingly shared info rather than cookies spread all over the web.

How to get started if you are new to Poltio

We live in a time where consumers are everywhere. Websites, social media, apps, you name it. Embedding Poltio’s no-code responsive solutions anywhere you want enables you to engage organic website visitors and drive traffic from paid social and media channels. You can also engage existing customers by driving them to the website with a call-to-action from push notifications, email and SMS channels.
Multiple consumer groups require multiple questions, and Poltio Universal Gift Finder has you covered on that end, there is a wide variety of technolog

Dynamic Product Finder:

Smart Result Page Finder:

Singular product Finder:

Calculated Product Finder:

For more information click here.

With Poltio’s no-code responsive solutions you don’t have to chase consumers across dated sales channels. We made it easy to engage with the consumers wherever they are at any given time. 

What are you still waiting for? Head over to poltio.com and get started today.