Did you miss this column in Tableware Today, DOES YOUR BRIDAL REGISTRY WORK?
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SOME PEOPLE READ COOKBOOKS OR mystery novels. I read bridal registries. In my consulting gig for Bridge Catalog, an e-commerce platform for the tabletop industry, my role is to train subscribing retailers on how to utilize the platform for better sales. Since wedding registries are the cornerstone of online sales for many independent retailers, I thought I should know what brides are looking for these days, and that means poring over 20 to 30 registries a week.
I missed out on a big wedding (I eloped to South Africa) and never got to wear the dress or have any of the bells and whistles. So here I was finally getting my chance to faux register. I was excited to set up a wedding website on TheKnot. com. I shaved some years, pretended
I was part of a millennial couple, and used the details of my nephew’s impending wedding, including their how-we-met story, bridal party, venue, honeymoon destination, proposal, and pictures. I simply changed their names to mine and my husband’s and set up registries. This time I was going to have it all!
Let me take you through my process. I clicked on The Knot registries section which took me to the logos of several stores and I set up registries directly with them. I started with Bloomingdale’s and Crate and Barrel. Stores pay big money to be a retail partner and there were plenty to choose among: Bed, Bath & Beyond; Macy’s; Belk; as well as brands like Riedel and Lenox. I opted for online-only registries, like Zola. Amazon came later, but not via The Knot. Independent higher-end retailers with luxury goods were next on my list. Gearys was a perfect choice. I wanted to fairly evaluate the wedding registry platform of Bridge against the others, so I also registered at LCR Westport, a Bridge member that carries high-end goods. I manually added LCR to my Knot web page. Since it’s common practice for brands to have their own bridal registries as well, I added Vietri to the mix. The LCR and Crate & Barrel registries were done totally on my phone. The registry for Zola was set up on my desktop, but I switched to the app to add products. I also registered at Michael C. Fina, a once brick and mortar merchant now online-only retailer, through Amazon, although it was a bit hard to find.
I wasn’t picky in what I registered for. I opted for formal and causal dinner-ware, stemware, flatware, and serving pieces. Occasionally, gifts were added to test the functionality of the store’s platform. Gearys was an exception; I let the selection seduce me.
In all cases, establishing the registries was pretty much the same. Name of bride and groom, date of wedding, wedding size, delivery information. I added a picture of my nephew and his future wife and I was good to go.
All online registries seem to have been designed to make the online experience a silent salesperson. Like many websites, it is very self-serve. Some online services have features including live chat, email links to ask questions, and in a few cases, a real telephone number. A 10% registry completion bonus or discount, a thank you manager to keep track of purchases, and private registry events round out the services generally offered.
Zola and Amazon have tools that install on your browser bar, allowing a bride to add any item from any website to the Zola or Amazon registries. Adding a mid-century Hans Wegner chair from 1stdibs.com to my Zola registry or a set of luggage from Tumi.com to my Amazon registry was a cool perk, a powerful tool that works like Pinterest across the web. Zola has a great co-gifting feature where guests chip in for expensive purchases. The site also offers activities – short trips, couples cooking classes, city tours – designed to answer the needs for millennials’ experiences, not stuff. The biggest difference in registries is in product selection. Some stores, like Fina, curate showings, which has positive and negative consequences. But those results will have to wait for the JUNE/JULY issue. In part two of my registry experience, I’ll clue you into what you can do through your bridal registry selections to get the best sales from brides. Until then you can check out my registry at http://www
theknot.com/us/Diane-scatter-and-ivan-hotz. The Véga Flutissimo flutes are still available. ?
Have you ever put yourself in a bride’s shoes and registered on your store’s registry? What might you discover about your store with this exercise? Well, there’s plenty to learn. I took the time to register at a variety of tabletop websites to help you sell more.