It’s nice to see that people are out and about more. Warmer weather and confidence that the worst of the pandemic is behind us have everyone eager to make physical connections and return to their normal routines—including everyday activities like shopping and gifting. No doubt we’ll see an increase in store traffic again, as customers relish the opportunity to explore what’s fresh and new and benefit from seeing just how products look and feel in person. Not to mention the benefits of having a knowledgeable associate available to address questions, give tips, and share suggestions.
That’s good news for all you partners out there with physical stores, as you will have a chance to more directly engage with customers again and show them your best service to keep them coming back. That service has been shown to help customers shop more productively—and when a gifting event has been planned with the help of an associate, registry lists tend to include more items that can generate more sales for you in the future.
But there will still be tremendous opportunities for online gifting and shopping as well. After all, the pandemic forced us to rely on technology and remote connections to do even the simplest of daily tasks, and we all formed new habits. Shopping (and even gift planning) often revolved around minimal in-person contact, and online activity surged as a result. While research suggests that some of those new habits will stick (such as enjoying the convenience of BOPIS—Buy Online, Pickup In Store—or curbside pickup and other ways to minimize contact), many customers are looking to find a balance.
So let’s make sure you put your best foot forward and align with the new normal that’s evolving. It’s very timely, as these coming months will bring lots of gift-giving celebrations.
Here’s how to make the most of upcoming events, whether it’s major life-stage events like weddings and new babies, milestones like graduations or housewarmings, or the birthdays and anniversaries we’ll gather for.
STEP 1: Recognize that your registry is more valued than ever. By its very design, a gift registry is a perfect solution for a post-pandemic world. It’s an ideal way to shop for gifts, providing flexible and convenient service, and now it easily accommodates the overlay of concerns for safe and healthy celebrations. How convenient is that?
- As always, a registrant can create a list of just what they want and then share it, so it’s easy for family and friends to know what will be unwrapped with a smile. No worries about returns, exchanges, or adding clutter with unwanted gifts.
- Gift givers want it to be safe and easy to find that perfect gift. A registry presents that opportunity, and shopping then becomes a breeze.
STEP 2: Reframe your best gift ideas as you develop any marketing and merchandising plans to guide registrants who are building their gift lists.
- We challenge you to rethink what most-desired gifts might look like post-pandemic. After all, many customers found themselves adopting new habits—for eating, socializing, relaxing, exercising, and more. Consider what opportunities this can present, and suggest gift ideas that accommodate more home cooking, new social plans, and outdoor activities. Registrants will appreciate recommendations that show you’re aligned with their new routines.
STEP 3: Reposition your business, whether you have physical stores and/or a website, to focus on how well you address issues important to customers these days.
- A heightened focus on health and safety concerns will persist. Respect that, and you send a clear signal that customer well-being is a top priority.
- In stores: For those customers who are ready, even excited, to come into your store, create layout and traffic-flow patterns that make it easy to socially distance. Where appropriate and possible, provide opportunities for contactless checkout, and offer curbside service for pickups and returns.
- Online: Make it clear that your fulfillment and shipping policies ensure products are safely handled and securely packaged for safe delivery. If you have a store as well, talk up BOPIS and other accommodations.
- Gift planning and shopping will combine both in-person/in-store and remote/online activity. As always, show you’re happy to assist wherever and whenever a customer chooses to shop.
- Your staff can be helpful either way. Whether it’s in-person conversation walking through a store or sharing tips via chat or Zoom, your team can make gift planning efficient, yet still fun and productive.
- Complement those efforts with useful content, tips, and checklists that are easily accessible. Content can be presented on a website or saved as a digital document available for viewing on a smart phone in the store, if printed materials make customers uncomfortable.
- Visual guides are more important than ever. Online, use bursts or banners to spotlight must-have gifts.
- Don’t be afraid to host small events, if your space allows it. Shared ideas among registrants are a great way to build more registry lists.
STEP 4: Refresh your marketing. Happily, you can (and should) use most of the marketing tools you’ve always used. Just add in a little twist to underscore your commitment to keeping registry activity easy, convenient, and sensitive to concerns about spending time in a store, touching merchandise and/or being surrounded by strangers. Also reassure customers that all gifts are handled with safety in mind.
- Key messages to weave into your communications:
- Commitment to maintaining safe and healthy operations and customer relationships.
- Availability (if possible) of appointments, live chat, and the like to ensure dedicated attention.
- Accessibility of any and all contactless services you have that are helpful to both registrants during the gift selection process and gift givers as they purchase.
- For partners with websites, reinforce the convenience of anytime/anywhere gifting.
- And for partners with both stores and a website, you can’t overstate the flexibility to use both options.
STEP 5: Rev up your social media. The pandemic prompted a surge in the use of social media for shopping and the exchange of gift ideas. Partly motivated by convenience and the socially distanced opportunity to connect, customers now rely on social media to ask for/share all sorts of information, and brands have responded by adding new ways to shop. Take advantage of your social media and digital platforms to connect to customers.
- Post and invite comments, on best gift ideas and more.
- Make your posts interactive by injecting a personal connection, posing questions, even creating games and contests that invite registrants to respond.
- Start conversations and encourage registry users to share them broadly, making it a community exchange.
We’re excited to see the overall economy open up, and it’s all the more exciting to anticipate how well your gift registry will serve your customers during this time.
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It’s wonderful to connect with many of you each week to talk about the specific needs of your business and how MyRegistry can support you. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com to discuss marketing ideas for your unique registry business.
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