Insider tips for building a successful gift registry

Smart Marketing: Plan Now for the Gifting Season Ahead

Smart Marketing: Plan Now for the Gifting Season Ahead, an open laptop behind an open book with a pen sitting on it and on the left of a coffee mug and a plant.


With fall just weeks away, we’re heading into a busy time of year. A new school year is beginning, work will pick up after a bit of summer relaxation, and before we know it, thoughts will turn to holiday plans.

Things are a bit different this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but don’t let that deter you. While this year’s fall weddings will likely be a bit muted, with some even rescheduled for 2021, both scenarios will continue to drive gift activity. Babies will keep arriving as well, birthdays and anniversaries will still happen right on schedule, and December will usher in the holiday season.

Survey after survey points to customer desire to shop and use gifting to (re)connect with friends and loved ones—particularly as some physical gatherings continue to be limited. One study by the Meredith Corporation noted that 75 percent of consumers are looking forward to making plans and celebrating the holidays. This sentiment extends to all major events and occasions as well.

But accompanying this positive outlook, you should be aware of some key consumer attitudes that will shape shopping this season.

  • Customers will spend but want to be very thoughtful about what they spend their money on—the more confident they are that a gift will be happily received, the more likely they are to buy it.
  • Customers want their gift to be something the recipient is excited about—and all the more so if in-person celebrations and gatherings are limited.
  • There will be more promotional activity going on to tempt customers, but customers indicate they will also be swayed by “value,” meaning a retailer makes it easy and hassle free to find the perfect gift.

Bottom line, customers will be more interested than ever in making smart gift choices.

How perfect, because it just so happens your gift registry can satisfy those customer expectations. Now, more than ever, the core benefits of a gift registry will be appreciated—your customers have a chance to thoughtfully curate the items they most want, and gift purchasers (also customers!) are relieved of shopping stress.

That’s all good news for a registry. But your registry also lets you be mindful of your marketing spending. A gift registry is a cost-efficient way to generate more business from the customers and the products you already have, by literally creating new business opportunities from your existing business.

Here are a few ways to make your registry and your marketing efforts around it impactful and still cost effective.

Tap into the intensified consumer interest in making gifting thoughtful and “smart.” Look at every customer as a prospect for a registry or Wish List, and keep up your current gift registry messaging in all you do, to encourage new registry signups.

  • With gifting expected to be so important, take every opportunity to let customers know how smart they are to use a registry or Wish List to make gift planning thoughtful and stress free.
  • Make the message about them and how the gifts will serve their needs and wants. Whether they’re searching for a gift that makes them look/feel good, helps make a living space more personalized and comfortable, or supports a social cause they care about, show how your products are relevant to their lives. Seeing that value in a gift also makes the gift purchaser feel good about buying it.
  • The tone and voice of gifting and registry messaging should continue to be upbeat, warm, and positive. In deference to the times, focus on the enduring pleasure gained from receiving the gift, as that adds value.
  • More than ever before, be sure to encourage registrants to share their registry with family and friends. This will benefit everyone, ensuring each gift will be gratefully received and the purchase will be money well spent.

Expand your thinking about your current registrants, and discover new registry opportunities with them that add sales with ease.

  • Most partners typically see their registry as aligned with specific life events, targeting, for example, engaged couples or expectant parents. Or you might have registrants who created a Wish List for a housewarming or a milestone like graduation, kicking off a bright new opportunity or life stage.
  • Think again, as those registrants are not one dimensional. They may be celebrating one big event now, but their life has lots more going on that you can tap into as well. And no doubt they now realize there are additional items they still want or need.

Talk to all of them about extending the benefits of their current registry or Wish List. You don’t need to convince them of the benefits of a registry, just give them a little nudge to create a new list or dust off the one they already have and add fresh items. After all, almost everyone celebrates other events.

  • Most of us celebrate a year-end holiday, and gift spending for these events still generates the largest share of all gift spending. A first holiday can be extra special for newlyweds or new parents.
  • Approximately one in three customers will have a birthday coming up before year’s end, another good reason for them to put a registry to work.
  • And with fall weddings appealing to many couples, the season brings yearly anniversaries to toast.

Smart Marketing: Plan Now for the Gifting Season Ahead, campaign ID tracker

Take advantage of our new Campaign ID Tracker to measure the results of your registry marketing efforts. Well aware that you want every marketing dollar to count, we developed this tool that lets you track registry activity generated by your different advertising campaigns.

  • The Campaign ID Tracker tool is accessible from your Partner Dashboard. See for yourself where your money is working its hardest, and where your best results are coming from—you might be surprised! The tool recently helped a partner identify where to invest advertising dollars to drive search and traffic to their site. They initially expected to see a more expensive program generate higher activity, but they were happily surprised to see that a lower-cost program actually generated 60 percent more registry activity than the more costly option. So in the end, they were able to spend less and get more!

Look at every product through a new lens—and challenge yourself to come up with reasons each is a “must have” for different registry occasions. Just as you encourage a customer to see a registry as useful for any occasion, apply the same thinking when it comes to your gift messaging suggestions. For instance:

  • The same home decor items that add warmth and charm to a newlywed living space can add pleasure to anyone who wants to refresh their home—and that makes them natural birthday, anniversary, or holiday gifts.
  • Babies born throughout the year will celebrate a first holiday, and that’s a big deal. Of course, their older siblings are growing and in need of new clothes, gear, or toys as well.

While you’re at it, make all your current marketing efforts work harder for you. Look for every opportunity to weave in registry and gift tips.

  • In store, add a tagline to signage or merchandise displays to spotlight great gifts. Include a bag stuffer or packing insert after purchase to feature all your gift-related services, along with a strong message about making smart shopping choices.
  • Online, increase the use of visual “bursts” or product shout-outs to highlight great gifts—just tweak the event reference to be seasonally appropriate.
  • Direct marketing emails or traditional mailings offer a chance to support customers and help them make their celebrations easier and less stressful. Create a story around the idea that the registry will solve a problem for them.
  • Social media posts can reinforce those same messages.

There’s never been a better time for a gift registry to enhance your overall business. You and your customers will appreciate more than ever how easy it makes gifting for everyone.

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