Eight Tips for Creating a Bridal Registry

Picture courtesy of Something Special in Vincennes, IN: Once a couple creates a wedding registry, they get their own shelf in the “bridal bays” area of the shop. A selection of the chosen items are displayed along with a notebook that includes a report listing the couples’ information, wedding and shower dates, item descriptions and a photo of each item. The reports are updated regularly as items are purchased.

According to research conducted by Bride’s Magazine, the bridal registry business is bigger and more profitable than ever before.  Now, 99% of engaged women register and of those, 93% expect that the majority of their guests will make purchases from the registry.  In addition, today’s couples create a bridal registry at an average of three retailers, 42% of them register at specialty stores.  Implement these five tips to increase your success of starting or building your store’s wedding registry:

  1. Automate the registry process–Most of the POS systems in the marketplace today offer retailers the opportunity to automate the process.  This will ensure speedy registration for the couple, it may encourage them to register for even more items, it is a great way for wedding and shower attendees to quickly access the wish list in-store or online and a fantastic tool for you to track the sales for each bride.  If you are not able to computerize the process, consider encouraging couples to use a universal registry, such as www.myregistry.com. These types of universal registry sites allow couples to register, free of charge, for gifts at a multitude of online and brick-and-mortar stores via one website.
  2. Spread the word that your store offers a registry–It’s critical to market your gift registry outside of the store. Promote your registry via social media, through networking with other wedding vendors such as florists, stationers, caterers and bridal stores.
  3. Incentive brides for registering with your store–Offer a free gift to the bride for registering at your store.  Be sure to promote this incentive via social media, your store’s website and in-store signage.  While this may seem expensive, a bride can registry for upwards of $15,000 worth of products, so it’s worth your while.
  4. Picture courtesy of Melinda’s Fine Gifts in Picayune, MS: A tiered display fixture can provide a showcase area on a top shelf for a couple’s registry and still allow for the lower shelves to be merchandised with additional wedding gift ideas.

    Build a Bridal List–Consider participating in local bridal shows and expos to build a bridal list.  At the bridal expo, set-up a drawing for a $100 store gift certificate to incentivize couples for sharing their email and mailing address.  Then, create an email and direct mail campaign around your store’s registry.  Be sure to market all of the benefits of registering including the free bridal gift.  In addition, many local town newspapers publish a list of recent engagements.  This can be a great lead source as well.

  5. Prominent in-store signage promoting your registry–Don’t miss out on the opportunity to let every patron visiting the store know that your store offers a registry.  One creative retailer set-up a display table with framed photos of couples who have registered at her store as a way of spreading the word that her stores offers a registry and it also serves a nice “thank you” for all the couples who have registered there.
  6. Sell registry add-ons–For each registry purchase, encourage customers to buy related accessories to the gift.  For example, if the customer is buying champagne glasses, suggest a bottle opener.  Of course, every customer will need to give a wedding card so this is a perfect add-on item.
  7. Picture courtesy of Parkleigh in Rochester, NY: Stores that sell tabletop products can set up place settings and tablescape vignettes featuring the wedding registry products of several couples. A place card at each setting can be used to identify the couples.

    Offer free registry announcement cards–It is customary for brides to mail out a registry card when sending out the wedding shower invites.  Even if she decides to simply list your store on her invite, it’s a nice gesture for your store to offer the cards.7.  Bridal discount on unpurchased items–After the couple gets married, consider sending a congratulatory note, along with a coupon that she can use towards the unpurchased items on her registry.

    With a few creative ideas and efficient planning, a gift registry can be a vital part of your shop’s growth.

    Patricia Norins is the founder and publisher of two national trade magazines and two trade shows. Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and temporary in-line stores) has a readership of more than 75,000 and GIFT SHOP, the magazine for independent gift shop owners, has a readership of more than 80,000. She also serves as spokesperson for Small Business Saturday, a national iniative to encourage consumers to shop locally, and is an internationally renowned speaker who focuses on delivering savvy business strategies to help retailers grow their businesses effectively and inexpensively.

    In-store Displays pictures courtesy of Becky Tyre. Becky Tyre is a visual merchandising consultant, the owner of the Retail Details blog at www.SwirlMarketing.com and the Trends Editor for GIFT SHOP Magazine. You can reach her at swirlmarketing@comcast.net