How to Create an online Christmas Gift Guide on a Budget

Guest blog written by Debbie Hatswell, Story Mama

In a perfect world, we would all have been sitting down with our designers in about April to talk about themes and festive strategies. The designer would be providing a lovely suite of pretty things to choose from and we would have locked away our gift guides into some fancy magazine software ready to distribute in the coming weeks.

christmas gift guideDon’t know about you, but I am not quite that organised and our finance director says we have to create our gift guide on a pretty tight budget, which means we are doing what we can ourselves.

Here is how to create an online Christmas Gift Guide on a budget:

1. Inventory Management

There is no point heavily promoting an item that is going to be difficult to keep in stock or re-order. Customers will be annoyed by clicking on an item they want to buy only to find it is out of stock. So select the products you are promoting carefully. You also might like to consider whether you want to bundle up some gift items together so that customers feel they are getting something unique and valuable.

2. Format

There are some fantastic online tools that can be used to create a gift guide. Have a think about utilising your own website. We like to keep a bit of flexibility in our gift guide, and by using our own site we can substitute alternative items into the guide at short notice if something has gone out of stock for a couple of days so we do not miss out on sales. If you are using your own site for you gift guide, don’t forget to make it stand out.

At a minimum in your guide you should include a professional image and product benefits or review and include a clickable “buy now” call to action. Consider carefully your target market and the categories they may like to shop by. Is it by age? By Gender? By Price Point?

Some other tools you may consider using are:

- Mailchimp

- Issuu

Don’t forget to think about how your customers will be viewing your gift guide. It will need to be mobile friendly.

There are some great free design tools that can help your gift guide look professional like Canva and PicMonkey.

3. Keep it both trackable and clickable

Measuring visits to your site/ products and the return on your investment will be an important measure of success and what to repeat for next year.

4. Shipping & Timing

Make sure your customers understand how you are getting your products to them, and include Christmas shipping “last order dates” on your website. Consider the latest your most geographically remote client can order, and base your gift guide distribution dates on this. For us that means Early November.

5. Distribution & Promotion

For e-commerce, e-mail still has a higher conversion rate than social media, so ensure you are sending your gift guide out to your list. Remember that every retailer increases their rate of e-mail to customers at this time of year so have a good think about your subject line, your offer and call to action and how you can stand out from the crowd. Social Media and paid promotion can also be used to drive traffic through to your gift guide.

So that is how we create a gift guide on a budget. Hope that helps you create your own Gift Guide and that you have a successful Christmas season. You can take a look at our online Christmas Gift guide here for inspiration here.



christmas gift guideDebbie Hatswell is the Director at Story Mama, an online bookstore specialising in picture books for children. Story Mama helps time poor parents and early childhood educators discover recommended picture books for children ages 0-7. You can find us at


Christmas image courtesy of suphakit73 /

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