Skip to content
What Is a Wishlist?


Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

What Is a Wishlist?

A wishlist allows shoppers to create personalized collections of products they want to buy and save them in their user account for future reference. Wishlists signify a customer’s interest in a product without an immediate intent to purchase.

Wishlist Best Practices

  • Create a positive experience around creating a Wishlist, like in Pinterest
  • Allow customers to name their Wishlist and create numerous lists
  • Include share buttons so customers can send Wishlists to friends and family
  • Plan email and PPC strategies around Wishlists so customers can avail of offers
  • Make a Wishlist easy to find on your website
  • Ensure your Wishlists are mobile-friendly
  • Utilize popups to increase the use of Wishlists when:
    • a product is out-of-stock
    • a customer has spent some time on a product page
    • a customer navigates away from product pages on your website

Why are Wishlists Important to eCommerce Stores?

Besides the obvious benefit of improving the customer’s shopping experience, wishlists have the power to provide a much deeper, strategic value to online retailers. For customers, a wishlist creates an opportunity to save items “for later” if they can’t commit to a purchase at that moment and find them quickly whenever they return to your store. It also serves as a convenient way to remind oneself of the products that made it to the list, which is especially relevant when compiling gift lists or pulling shopping lists for major future events, such as weddings, new babies, housewarmings, etc. Mobile shoppers find this feature particularly appealing because it saves a lot of “browsing” time on a smaller screen.

The feature creates immense value for online retailers, too. Those committed to going beyond the basic goal of creating a seamless shopping experience can exploit wishlists’ potential in several ways:

  • Wishlists create a snapshot of your customers’ way of thinking. You’d think one customer’s personal wishlist is too specific to provide you with much insight. On the face of it, it is, indeed, compiled to meet the specific needs of one person. However, when you put all the data from hundreds or thousands of wishlists for intelligent analysis, a range of different valuable insights emerge:
    • You can easily identify trends and optimize your merchandising tactics to capitalize on them.
    • You can quickly and easily measure the effectiveness of your follow-up email marketing campaigns and pinpoint which tactics are producing the best results: do people respond to flash sales, coupons, or free shipping offers?
    • You can easily measure the effectiveness of your overall marketing efforts by tracking which items end up in your customers’ wishlists.
    • You can analyze the data to see what items people save for later and what items they actually buy, which will help you identify the underlying issues hampering your sales: do customers need more information? Is the price point right? Are they waiting for special offers? Etc.  
  • Wishlists provide a glimpse into your customer's world. A successful eCommerce business has a robust understanding of its target audience and often uses buyer personas to fine-tune its marketing and merchandising campaigns. A clear indicator of what customers want ‘in the moment’, wishlists can also provide a unique insight into the customer’s world, dreams, and aspirations. This data can help businesses to inform their branding and marketing strategies, establish a deeper, emotional bond with their customers, and ultimately, drive more sales.
  • Wishlists can drive a lot of traffic. Making your wishlists shareable is a surefire way to attract a lot of new visitors. It’s a wonderful way to raise awareness for your brand and promote your products, and the best thing about it is that it’s free. The general rule of thumb is that more visitors should eventually translate into more customers, so implementing this feature within your store is a reliable revenue optimization tactic, too.
  • Wishlists can help you deal with out of stock items. Losing customers due to out of stock products is the bane of eCommerce. The wishlist feature can be a great tool to minimize losses. Simply offer customers to save the out of stock product to their wishlist and alert them via email or in-app notification once it is back in supply.
  • Wishlists are a great way to alert customers about a sale. Smart shoppers often use wishlists to save items for future flash sale occasions. Informing your customers that items in their wishlist have gone on sale is an excellent tactic to pull them back in and convince them to complete the purchase. You can also use the data gathered from analyzing all wishlists to decide which items you should discount – items often saved in wishlists have a better chance of generating more sales.

Wishlists Drive Customer Engagement

Wishlists are important to many people for many different reasons. As mentioned above wishlists are great for companies as it can give them valuable insight into consumer buying behaviors but wishlists are obviously valuable to customers too.

  • Wishlists are reminders. Creating a wishlist doesn’t mean that you need to buy things right now. A wishlist could be for the house that you are in the process of buying, or the dog you will adopt in a few months. They act as reminders to purchase things you will need in the future and are very important when customers are looking for organization in their lives.
  • Wishlists can educate customers. Most ecommerce online stores require you to create an account to save a wishlist. By creating this account, customers can receive more information about the products on their wishlist. This education will help customers justify buying products and help them engage more with the store to build trust.
  • Wishlists are for sharing. For Christmas, birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions wishlists can be the easiest way to let people know what you want from them. Your list can be shared with loved ones and close friends, and as people buy items they can cross them off the list to avoid duplication.

All these great reasons for customers to make wishlists with your online ecommerce store act as reasons for their friends to use your store too. Word of mouth through these great added features can win you more customers in the long run.

Start selling online now with Shopify

Start your free trial

Want to Learn More?