It comes as no surprise that the pandemic accelerated the growth of online shopping – and subsequently – gift planning for many customers. While the shift was initially due to necessity, now surveys suggest that the new habits customers have adopted are likely to continue.
Here at MyRegistry, we encourage every partner to take advantage of these new customer routines. Why not? When it comes to gifting and registry use, there are certainly benefits to using a website to create a registry or shop for a gift you know will be perfect. After all, there is the ease and convenience of being able to take action whenever and wherever a customer pleases…sitting behind a desktop, grabbing a tablet or mobile device, or searching a social platform. These stores are, for all intents and purposes, open 24/7 and accessible anywhere.
- Of course, all of this convenient access makes us big fans of online shopping; anything that helps a customer build a gift list of their personal favorites and then makes it easily shareable and shoppable for family and friends wins high marks from us. (That’s why our software, and the marketing we offer to do on behalf of our partners, is designed to display on desktop, phones, and more).
- And, we love how online registry activity opens up possibilities for our partners to reach and serve a broader customer base – literally from anywhere in the world. That’s a huge benefit and brand builder for any business.
But despite that, we are just as big fans of physical stores and see a special role for brick and mortar locations to support a wonderful registry experience. It’s not either-or, but rather a ‘both’ opportunity for our partners who have both a website and physical stores.
The Power of In-Store:
As all you store owners already know, the opportunity for customers to directly engage with products firsthand, often with supportive advice from a knowledgeable sales associate, is just what’s needed to seal the deal. In fact, our research shows the same thing: registries and gift lists created in store (either in full or partially) typically have more items on them and generate higher sales. Why? Easy – in many cases the customer takes full advantage of features offered in store that are not as easily provided online:
- Knowledgeable associates can make personal connections and align advice to meet specific registrant needs. This enhances their credibility and makes it easier to guide gift decisions. Sharing information about product care or usage, or even how competitive products perform, validates customers’ choices. And, these associates can then confidently suggest other useful items not automatically considered.
- Informative signage including product tips, checklists, etc. can also guide customers to products they might otherwise overlook.
- The opportunity to touch/hold products instill added confidence that the product meets customer expectations.
- Merchandise displays help customers envision how they can use products
- Customer ‘displays’ should also be encouraged. Don’t overlook the fact that customers can aggregate their own favorite items to see how they look together – gauging color matching or seeing how certain textures work together is not possible when products are on different web pages.
Bottom line, your stores offer opportunities for more personalized attention (even stores that are largely self-service can rely on directional signage and readily available collateral, etc.) to guide customers through their gift selection. Most customers we talk to tell us that they crave advice to help them select the perfect items for their registries and gift lists. The ‘more significant the event, the more they want to make just the ‘right choices’. At the same time, these customers also value the chance to explore a store and its products on their own… so be sure to support them either way.
How to Leverage Store Features:
Here are some tips to make sure you maximize the opportunities your store has to bring the customer’s attention to your registry.
- Make the registry visible: Just as we encourage every partner to include ‘Gift Registry’ in their site navigation (and display it again in the page footer), make sure store shoppers know you have a registry.
- Integrate messages into your overall visual strategy – adding a mention to existing signage while even including some dedicated signage as well. Whether you use banners, posters, hangtags, tent cards or subtle messages displayed in frames around the store, just get the word out that you have a registry available to assist whenever customers are planning a gifting event.
- Don’t forget to include signage in storefront windows or at entrances that can attract passers-by as well.
- Weave gifting/registry mentions into your merchandise displays; chances are you already create presentations around big events, holidays, etc. It’s a perfect opportunity to enhance your reputation as a great gift resource.
- Even mentioning the registry as another ‘reason’ to shop with you in bag stuffers or packing inserts so it’s a reminder even after the shopping visit is over.
- Make registry use easy and accessible: if your store can accommodate it, carve out a small space where you keep your kiosk/tablet, etc. for all registry activity. At the very least, try to designate a consistent location so store associates can easily direct customers to it. Keep any other supportive registry materials and collateral here as well; that keeps everything organized and easily findable.
- Signage indicating this location serves as a reminder that you offer the service even as it directs customers where to use it.
- If space allows, a comfortable place to sit is always especially appreciated by pregnant moms or even any harried shopper.
- Collateral such as guides, suggested/must-have gifts and checklists – are always appreciated.
- Make store associates your best marketing tool: Whether you offer highly personalized shopping assistance or operate with a self-service philosophy, your team should know about the registry and be encouraged to promote its use. This applies to ALL associates – not just those who work directly with customers. After all, everyone has family and friends who may benefit from using a gift list.
- If it aligns with your business model, invite customers to set up appointments for guaranteed personal attention and support.
And, don’t forget to encourage cross channel use. You want every customer to know you are there to support them wherever and whenever they want to connect with you. Online customers/registry users should be encouraged to go hybrid and schedule a store consultation via zoom and in-store customers should know that your commitment to meet their needs is accessible through your website.
As you continue to move forward with your gift registry marketing plans, let us know how we can help! We can always be reached at email@example.com.