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A wishlist is a functionality of an online store that allows visitors to add items they have expressed interest in to their own wishlist.


Most often, items are added to the wishlist by visitors who want them but, for various reasons, cannot purchase them at that moment. The reasons for this can be economic or the desired items may not be in stock at the time of shopping.

The entire functionality works by having items with a link hidden under the name "Add to wishlist." By clicking on the link, the user adds the item to a special list where all the items they have added to the list are sorted. The most commonly used icon for adding to the wishlist is a heart or star icon, which visually changes as items are added or removed from the list. 

Example of animated adding to the wishlist (animated floating hearts) on the Asos.com website. 

Wishlists have various functionalities depending on the chosen technological platform, including sharing lists, automatically refreshing the list's status, and providing various notifications of changes to the list. 

Sharing the wishlist allows users to share their own wishlist with other visitors. Specifically, users can share the list with friends, giving them insight into the specific person's desired items. In such cases, the list can save the user from receiving unwanted/duplicate gifts from friends.

We've all probably received gifts we didn't want, didn't need, already had, or even received multiple of the same gifts. Imagine having a friend who loves fantasy literature. A world-famous book like Harry Potter has just been released and is advertised and available everywhere. In this case, there's a high likelihood that many guests will buy the same book as a gift for the recipient.

For similar reasons, it is common for recipients to prepare special wishlists for significant events such as the birth of a child, weddings, birthdays, or other important occasions. This helps recipients avoid unwanted/duplicate gifts.

Despite having a wishlist, duplicate purchases can still occur. Therefore, it is advisable to have a wishlist that allows refreshing. This means that an item someone has already purchased is removed from the current list or is otherwise clearly marked to prevent ordering the same items again. In online orders from various online stores, this type of purchase is becoming more relevant, as it is easy to forget a purchase from the time it is ordered to when the item is received. This situation can occur when an item was not in stock or available for delivery.

Just as there can be queues in physical stores, there can also be queues in online stores.

Of course, there are also better ways to order items out of stock, with the most common methods being pre-ordering an item and signing up for stock notifications.

In cases where visitors add an item to the wishlist that is out of stock, the notification of wishlist changes functionality is particularly useful. In practice, this means that the user receives a notification in the event of a change in the stock status of the item and can make a purchase when the item becomes available. Notifications are also recommended when the price of an item changes due to special events (e.g., sales), making the purchase more accessible to users. You would probably want to know when the item you've viewed is available at a discounted price.

Benefits of Wishlists for Retailers

In addition to providing the best user experience for their customers, one of the main advantages of wishlists is the ability to gain insight into their users' desires and their purchasing processBy reviewing the items on the wishlist, you can see which items users like. This way, you can better predict future stock purchases and use current items for promotional campaigns in the future. 

If you also monitor the process of adding and purchasing items, you may learn even more about customers, such as individual customer responses to different events (promotions) and the timing of purchases.

As a store owner, with a good offer and user experience, along with wishlist sharing and notifications of special occasions, you can attract numerous additional visitors and new customers. If someone has a wishlist for their wedding on your online store, most of the guests will be compelled to buy items from your store. This way, the list is refreshed, and from the convenience standpoint, shopping in your store makes the most sense.

Stop browsing. Start selling. Contact me now at anze@degriz.net.

My name is Anže, and I am a Magento certified expert in solutions and a creator of multiple award-winning online stores.

I am the architect behind all Degriz projects. You will surely come across me if we collaborate. Even though the phone keeps ringing, you can always tap me on the shoulder if you need advice regarding online stores and their functioning.

I specialize in building custom online stores and I am a master of unique techniques to enhance conversion on your website.

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