Sell More This Holiday Season with a Gift Recommendation Chatbot

Want to attract more customers in the Holiday period and beyond? TruVISIBILITY Sales Manager with 25 years of experience knows how. Read his insights in the blog.

Anna Kildisheva
December 14, 2021


An Interview with TruVISIBILITY's Sales Manager, Steve Sunshine 

Christmas is quickly approaching. Due to the growing number of holiday shoppers and website visitors, companies face various challenges: how to convert those visitors into customers? How to get more sales during this holiday period? How to cope with a bigger number of calls, emails, orders, and returns? A chatbot can become the solution to all these problems. 

We asked our Sales Manager, Steve Sunshine, to share his 25 years of experience and expertise in how to create a well-designed, efficient gift recommendation chatbot that suits your marketing needs.  

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Gift Recommendation Chatbots Boost Your Sales on Christmas and Beyond

Every Christmas, customers face the same problem: they need to pick gifts for their loved ones, parents, grandparents, children, nieces, nephews, colleagues… How nice would that be if there was someone who could quickly narrow down the choice according to your criteria?

Luckily, that is what a gift recommendation chatbot does. It takes a customer through a set of questions to narrow down the range of products. Then, a chatbot gives possible suggestions that might appeal to the customer. And customers LOVE chatbots that provide personalization.

Just look at these numbers: 



Apart from taking the pain of finding a Christmas present away from customers, a gift recommendation chatbot provides value for the company and can become built-in to the company's marketing strategy. 

A Chatbot Can Sort Out Qualified and Unqualified Leads 

Let’s look at a real-life case: Pierce Window and Door is a company that sells windows and doors wholesale: 10, 20, 30. If a person owns a house and needs just 1 or 2 windows, they can’t place an order with this company. So, Pierce Window and Door had a problem: they were getting lots of calls and emails from those who couldn’t even possibly be their clients. 

That was a huge waste of time and the company wanted to deflect those unqualified leads. So, what did Steve and the TruVISIBILITY team do? 

They developed a chatbot much like a gift recommendation chatbot that would ask basic questions, such as “How many windows do you need?”, “What size?”, and so on. 

The chatbot saved the company money, time, and the enthusiasm of the employees. And what’s more important, led to more sales, as the salespeople started focusing only on qualified leads. 

You Learn How Much People Want to Buy 

Figuring out the demand for your products is the most difficult thing in business. “Large companies rely on data and analytics, but small firms don’t usually have the means to do that. They rely on their guts. Should this item go on sale? I feel like it should. The only thing small business owners really know is how many they sold today, but they don't know how many people actually want it,” says Steve. 

Chatbot platforms like TruVISIBILITY give small companies an opportunity to take advantage of data analysis tools. Here is an example of how you can keep track of data with the TruVISIBILITY dashboard:


Data the chatbot gathers is a powerful tool. Not only can you adjust your selection based on how much people buy, but you can also manipulate this data to boost sales by, for example, creating a sale based on the need. Let Steve tell you a bit more about it:

“Imagine you go on a store’s website to buy a couch. They have a chatbot that helps customers find the right item. The chatbot gives you some suggestions, but unfortunately, they are all too expensive for you. You end up not buying anything. But the chatbot says:

 –You know, if you're not in a hurry, let me have your name. Once this thing goes on sale, we’ll email you.

Now here's the tricky part of it:  if the chatbot can get five people interested in that couch, the company can make this couch go on sale, then the chatbot will send these people personal discount messages. The company is happy. The customers are happy. It’s a win-win”. 

You Know What People Want Before They Think About It

Almost everyone is familiar with personalized recommendations. Sometimes we even feel like large stores know we want something before we realize it. Let’s look at the leader among recommendation engines: Amazon.  

“Amazon knows everything about you and uses that to personalize your experience. If you go on Amazon today, December the 4th to buy a gift for your six-year-old nephew. And you say “gifts for six-year-olds”, and you buy something. A year from now, around the same date, they're going to show you gifts for seven-year-olds because they know a year ago, you shopped for a gift for a six-year-old. So, in the suggested products section, Amazon is going to show gifts for a seven-year-old before you even ask. That is personalization machine learning at the ultimate. Our chatbots can do the same thing. 


Want to boost your sales? Use a chatbot to personalize every customer experience based on their previous shopping records. 

A Chatbot Scales Up Your Sales

How to sell to more people without hiring extra staff? Hire a chatbot! 

Sure, you have a great salesperson on staff, but they can only talk to one person at a time. You can take their skills, their approaches, their insight, their tricks, and automate that on a chatbot.

Now you can talk to 10, 15 people at the same time just as efficiently as your great salesperson did with one customer. 

Repurposing the Chatbot Once Christmas Is Over 

According to Steve, putting time and money into a holiday chatbot that a company is not planning to reuse afterward is wasteful. Happily, a Christmas gift recommendation chatbot is very simple to repurpose. It will use the same mechanisms, the same programming, you just throw a different theme on it. 

Here are just a couple of ideas from Steve on how a gift recommendation chatbot can be used apart from Christmas: 

  • Back-to-school recommendation chatbot 
  • Birthday gift recommendation chatbot 
  • Valentine’s day recommendation chatbot


Over time, this recommendation engine can become the heart of your marketing strategy instead of just a seasonal campaign.

Create a Gift Recommendation Chatbot that Works 

Just like everything in business, a chatbot needs to be created with an analytical and thorough approach. Steve has shared with us some chatbot-creating wisdom that he applies to all TruVISIBILITY projects. 

These steps will help you make sure that your chatbot is well-thought-out, perfectly does the job it is designed for, and delivers value to your customers on a daily basis. 

Do Preparatory Work

A great chatbot requires a lot of preparatory work. What does it mean? 

First and foremost, one chatbot has one goal 

In our case, the goal is to give gift recommendations. The work backward from the goal to build the chatbot logic: what actions do I want users to take? 

As Steve says, “You need to see the whole picture and only then have a customer take the journey. I'm going to have them go left if they're a boy. If they're a girl, they go right. If they're under 25, they do this. If they're over 25, they do that. So, you’ve got to have this flow chart of what you want to accomplish. Metaphorically speaking, some people can see the forest, but some people can only see the trees. If you create a chatbot, you need to see the forest”. 

Make sure a chatbot gives relevant recommendations 

This requires testing. Test the chatbot carefully before you deploy it. If I say I want a red car but the chatbot suggests blue and green options, it’s a waste of time and money.

Make sure a chatbot creates solutions, not problems 

For example, when a chatbot recommends something that is out of stock. 

What If a Chatbot Doesn’t Accomplish Its Goal? 

It might so happen that the products a chatbot recommends are out of stock or the company doesn’t have the right color/size. The chatbot might fail to accomplish its initial purpose. Steve highly recommends having a secondary and tertiary purpose. 

What might it look like?

The chatbot might say something like, “We didn't find your red convertible today. Can I put you on our mailing list? And as soon as a red convertible comes available, I'll contact you. Would that be okay?”

Now, you have a qualified lead! All you need to do to close the sale is to find this car in stock or order one. 

Ask Users the Right Questions

The chatbot needs to ask clear, easy-to-answer questions. For example, “What’s your style?” is not a good question. A user might not know what’s their style, might not have one, or might be uncomfortable sharing it. So, more precise questions with clear answer options will work perfectly. For instance: 

  • Do you prefer bright or quiet colors?
  • Do you prefer natural or artificial materials?  

What’s Wrong with a Budget Question?

“What’s your budget?” is a very popular question to use in a gift recommendation chatbot. But Steve believes this is actually not the best strategy. Why? 

  1. Most often, people don’t know how much they are going to spend. If I want to buy a necklace for my wife, I might have an approximate budget on my mind, but it is more about the requirements: I am thinking about a gold necklace with black gemstones. And I am definitely ready to stretch out. 
  2. Customers don’t want to feel pressured by the only option the chatbot recommends. Narrowing down the price of the gift excludes a lot of products that fit the rest of the description, thus, reduces the chances of selling. 
  3. A 100% right recommendation is almost impossible. So, if you give one or two suggestions, the customer might still be left unsatisfied.   

What’s the best way to offer recommendations if you don’t ask about the price?

Here is a sales trick from Steve: You want to offer a relatively cheap product, a middle-priced product, and a more expensive product. Now your customer has a choice in different pricing categories. 

Here is another trick: The second product should have an insignificant price difference with the first one and more cool features. So that your customers will go: “Just 20 more bucks for a much better necklace? My wife deserves it!” 

Remember: People always spend more than they originally thought. So take advantage of it!  

Turn Your Chatbot into a Product Expert 

This strategy is absolutely essential regardless of whether you’re a chatbot expert or not: your business must have expertise on what you are selling. So must the chatbot you built. 

How to come off as an expert when designing a gift recommendation chatbot? 

Always justify the recommendations. For example, you are recommending a gift for a twelve-year-old. Your chatbot could say: “Most people would think to buy this gift for a twelve-year-old, but in our experience, spending $3 less for this other toy is going to give more satisfaction”.

Now you sound like you know what you are talking about!

Combine a Chatbot with a Real Salesperson 

There are two major ways a chatbot can offer the recommendations: 

Connect the chatbot to your database 

This way, the chatbot works 100% independently, but connecting the chatbot to the database might be too difficult or expensive for some businesses. 

Combine the efforts of the chatbot and salespeople

The entire chatbot logic is the same: you take a user through a set of questions. Then the chatbot says “Our salesperson will connect with you shortly to find the best product based on your criteria”. This way, a salesperson gets a qualified lead who is one step away from completing the purchase.     

Make Your Chatbot Noticed 

Last but not least, how do you get users to your chatbot in the first place? 

According to Steve, the best way to do it is to make big promotions and announcements. But even before raising awareness among your clients, it is equally important to make everyone in the company aware that you have a chatbot, what its functions are, and how it works. 

If your employees don’t even know you have a chatbot, it will be as bad as a waiter who doesn’t know what’s on the menu. 

Once every person in the company learned about the chatbot, tried it, and gave their feedback, go ahead and spread the word to your clients: your newsletters, send-outs, advertisements, and promotion announcements are great channels for that. 

Use TruVISIBILITY Expertise to Build a Gift Recommendation Chatbot 

With the TruVISIBILITY Chatbot platform, one person is enough to build a chatbot. However, we want to share our experience, expertise, insights, and strategies to make sure the chatbot really works for your business. 


Build your first chatbot with TruVISIBILITY