When is a Gift Registry right for your business?

Large and small businesses alike are always looking for the best way to add or grow revenue streams. Gift registries are a common answer to this question. Why is it that gift registries are a growth point? You might think, I have an in-store registry. So I have that revenue stream, but do you really?

The simple answer is no. A registry is not just an avenue to make a small number of sales but an opportunity to market your business. Companies that utilize registry systems see increased traffic on their web presence. Your loyal shoppers will love the opportunity and they will share their experience with others. In addition to their sharing they will become even more loyal when they know there are more features for them to use.

Registries give businesses a low cost approach to marketing and increasing revenue. By opening up this vertical market to your customers without having to increase product or SKU offerings. A registry gives the average shopper more reasons to visit your site or your store.

So you see Registries bring shoppers into your store, and on to your website. They give shoppers a reason to visit your store that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. This gives their guests or their family and friends exposure to your web or store presence that they otherwise may not have had.

So why now? Today’s shoppers are all about features and ease of use. Think of Amazon. It’s fast, easy to use, and packed with options. That’s how your web presence should feel now too. So what options do you have? You can only sell so many different things and still be successful. So options and features are all the craze.

Whether it’s from their phone on the way to work, from home on their Laptop, or walking into your store. People want to know they can buy gifts for loved ones from anywhere now. This increased traffic creates free marketing through the increased reasoning to shop your store.

Gift registries are one of those features available for retailers large and small. Marcole gives that to you. Not only do we give you custom formatted look and feel but we integrate it and manage it. What does that mean and why is that important? Full integration means you can use it in your locations and online to make purchases and monitor your sales.

As for that back-end, isn’t that the hard part? You have to upload and update your site when it needs to be. You need to make sure it runs well and fix it when it doesn’t, or do you? Be careful, some high end systems could come in at a low price. That just means they have a low assistance. This is the biggest thing you need. Experts that understand eCommerce and Gift registry, means that no matter the purpose of your website, or what you need done and it could be done and how you want it. So this dream sounds to good to be true. Only major retailers can afford that right? Not anymore.



Keeping Customers

How to keep customers.

Having been in the Gift registry software business for decades, we at Marcole get lots of questions from retailers. And the number one question is always about conversion. “How do we get customers to use the Gift registry system?” From the successful retailers we have worked with, we find the answer.  They get what conversion is about and it’s not about the software. Of course, the gift registry software must be, easy to use, accessible, customizable, and intuitive. However, we have to admit, their success in not only due to our Gift registry software.

The successful retailers understand that Gift registry is a rare touch point and it’s a huge opportunity to earn a customer for life. When a retailer is keyed in to the fact, that gift registry software is not about money… only, they will win customers over. What is gift registry software for? It’s a conduit, a support system, a tool, used by people at one of their most joyous times of their lives. There’s a reason the gift registry business is booming, and it’s not because of bleeding edge technology, mobile apps, or great deals on wedding gifts. It’s the people! Weddings, Graduations are life changing experiences in people’s life, as in our life. The successful retailers we talk to know this. They treat each event special, because it is special. They focus on the customer experience. Instead of pointing to the Kiosk in the corner, when asked if they have a registry system. They smile and walk the Guest over to it. Knowing, they are about to be part of something special.

I suggest that, as retailers make the reason for their Gift registry business, to make the event special for all those involved in the, Wedding Registry, Baby shower, Graduation, Housewarming events.  They could gain customers for life.

The next blog we can talk about how to motivate the second most important people in the event, your store associates!




Successful Gift Registry and Point of Sale Integration(POS) Guidelines

Successful Gift Registry and Point of Sale Integration(POS) Guidelines

When retailers think about adding Gift Registry, one of the first questions right “after how much is it?”, is “how hard is it to add a Gift Registry solution to my site”. And “how much work do I have to do?”.

These are great questions and need to be addressed right away. At Marcole we have encountered many different scenarios and discovered the “best” implementation is the one that matches up with your unique situation. Below are main points that should be included in any implementing plan. Remember if the implementation cost money or time, then it should have a plan.

Asking the Right Questions

First, you probably already have a template for your standard implementing plan. But before you start filling it out and checking boxes let’s start with some questions. There is no one solution that works for all situations. When integrating anything, not just Gift Registry, the retailer and potential integrator need to take stock of all the potential integration points. It’s not the customer(retailers) responsibility to determine all the points, it’s the Integrators. An experience Integrator needs to ask the right questions and more importantly, listen to the answers.  The partnership starts in the initial conversations. In a good partnership, the integrator and customer want the same result, a cost-effective and timely solution that best fits the customer’s needs and the production environment.  Asking good questions will also help you build trust with your customer.

Good Questions to Ask

If you have an experienced integrator you will hear questions like these.

  • Are you wanting to host the gift registry solution on your servers are do you want us to host the solution?
  • What is your current e-commerce platform?
  • What is your current POS system?
  • Do want Kiosks in your store for your customers?
  • Is shipping items an issue? Do you ship globally?
  • Would you want your customers to scan items to add to gift registries while in they are in your store(s)?
  • How busy is your website and or store(s)? Meaning how much gift registry traffic are you expecting?
  • What are you looking for in a Gift Registry system?
  • How do you want to handle item and price management?
  • What about images, where are they stored?
  • Do you have an IT support team? Or how do you want to handle technical support issues?
  • What kind of reports are you use to?
  • How will your team handle administrating the Gift registry?

These are just some of the main questions that need answering. There are more, but I wanted to give you a flavor of the questions. Too many times, integrators or Retailers just want to “getter done”, before they realize what the customers’ expectations and requirements are.

One last thing about asking the right questions. Depending on the size of the organization, you may need to check if the right person is being asked the questions. Check with the team who will be using the system. They could have valuable feedback and requirements, and make sure those who “sign the checks” give sign off on the new project as well.

The next post we will go into different types of ways of integrating, including using APIs. Then finally we will talk about a plan!


Is Gift Registry Right for Your Business?

Is Gift Registry Right for Your Business?

How can I measure the Gift Registry Return-on-Investment?

One of the questions forward thinking retailers ponder is – what creative marketing activity can I undertake at a reasonable cost, to maximize my business revenue while generating a respectable return-on-investment?

Clearly, today’s retail climate demands that astute retailers discover new ways to increase revenue, draw new customers to their stores and keep them coming back.  Gift Registry has proven time-and-again to do just that!  Unlike many retail automation projects Gift Registry does not profess to save money rather the Gift Registry value-proposition is about making money.

Gift Registry was first implemented by Department Stores reaching out to engaged couples.  The earliest gift registry programs utilized labor intensive paper-based systems and catered exclusively to weddings.  At first, the only products typically registered for were fine china, crystal stemware and sometimes silverware.  More often than not, these products were not stocked in quantity by the Department Stores and registries enabled them to special order pre-sold known quantities of merchandise.

In recent years, gift registry has grown well beyond Department Stores and their Wedding Registries.  Today, independent specialty, lifestyle and gift retailers are finding that traditional registries and “wish lists” can definitely help smaller businesses compete more effectively in-store and on the web. Gift registry helps to build customer loyalty and makes shopping easier.

The tangible benefits for the retailer are that the Gift Registry drives revenue brings in new customers, and minimizes returns. The intangible benefits are that Gift Registry builds long-term customer relationships, generates incremental sales as unrelated purchases are made when gift buyers shop and the Gift Registry facilitates database driven personalized marketing campaigns.

Customers who register their selections at their favorite store benefit from the satisfaction of receiving what they want and need.  It also eliminates the unpleasant and inconvenient task of returning unwanted items to the store for a refund or exchange, not to mention disappointing the gift giver for making the wrong selection.

Finally, the customer who is shopping for gifts gains satisfaction by selecting gifts that they know the recipient really wants.  The result is a satisfied customer who can’t wait to present their gift with full confidence knowing that it will be appreciated.

Automated gift-registry systems can range from a clerk-assisted application installed on a single PC – to a global enterprise, multilingual deployment; combining in-store full-service and self-service application modules plus tightly integrated web-based item selection and transactional functionality offering an omni-channel experience.  System architecture and features will vary dependent upon the functionality and level of service to be offered.

Small to mid-size retailers typically do not have the resources to build their own applications in-house and therefore should rely upon Gift Registry specialists who will be able to provide a high-quality turn-key solution at a reasonable cost.  Larger retailers who may have the capability to build their own systems more often than not choose to reduce risk, lower costs and expedite deployment by purchasing well known and proven systems.

The return-on-investment for a Gift Registry implementation will be a function of management and marketing support in addition to a wide variety of retailer-specific variable factors.

Consideration must be given to:

  • The number of registries per-store – per-year
  • Average number of items per registry
  • Average Item retail
  • Average item margin
  • Average percentage of registry sell-through
  • Software cost
  • Hardware cost
  • Web hosting costs (if applicable)

Reputable Gift Registry software vendors can help retailers calculate an ROI based on their particular situation.

Marketing a Gift Registry should be an integral part of an integrated marketing campaign – not an add-on or afterthought.  In-store signage, links from the company web-site, inclusion in advertising campaigns and public relations efforts are all mandatory for success.  Marketing support can include a welcome package for registrants that include checklists suggesting item Categories to include in a registry.  Some retailers provide tastefully printed cards that registrants can provide to guests stating that: “Our gift preferences have been registered with your store.”  Others keep customers coming back with post-event targeted marketing campaigns for “registry completion.” Contact Marcole sales team to help, you provide a Gift Registry your customers’ deserve.

Marcole Gift Registry Team