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

A Spooky Anniversary Celebration to Remember

By Catherine LeBlanc, 7/9/2012

Owner Dorine Dilandji loves toys.  So much that she opened her very own store in October of 2010.  But before she could open her store, she had some personal issues and health concerns to overcome.  Although these were road blocks in her life, Dorine managed to persevere and continue onward towards her dream of owning her own store.

Having dabbled with starting her online business, she felt the next step was to open a physical location.  She pursued a number of locations around Frisco, Texas and found the perfect spot.  With the help and assistance from her landlord, she signed the lease.  The location was once a bookstore which still had many bookshelves left.  Luckily, Dorine did not have to purchase additional shelving when she opened the doors to her store, The Cute Little Shop.

With two years under her belt, Dorine is growing and flourishing.  The Cute Little Shop offers an array of children’s toys and accessories in addition to gifts for all years.  Dorine strives to sell unique and one-of-a-kind pieces that you cannot find at the big box stores.  “We are a specialty store and are always bringing in products that are different” says Dorine.  “I love working with my customers when they walk in and really need help finding that special gift.”

With half a year done for 2012, The Cute Little Shop is doing very well for their second year in business. “2012, so far, has been a great year” says Dorine.  “Although we are noticing our customers are feeling better about the economy and buying more, they are not spending like they did before.”  Around this time of year, The Cute Little Shop is focusing on back-to-school products like their hot selling items, Locker Lookz which are décor items for students to accessorize their school lockers. Birthday gift buying is also a huge part of the business for Dorine.

Excellent customer service is at the forefront of The Cute Little Shop.  “I am always here and love taking care of my customers” says Dorine.  When Dorine is not traveling for buying trips, she makes every effort to be in her store and out in the front working one-on-one with her customers.  “My customers feel like they are being taken care of and you can’t get that in the big stores.  We make them feel welcomed and really at home when they walk through our doors.  Plus they love finding truly unique products and can feel great about giving their special someone their gift.”

At The Cute Little Shop, Dorine always has something new to show her customers.  “We offer up-to-date products and hot items that are always on trend” says Dorine.  “Plus we really listen to our customers.  When they ask for a specific product, I will do my best to research it and see about bringing it into our store.”  You will not find Barbie Dolls at The Cute Little Shop “We try and help our customers think outside of the box when it comes to toys.  We say ‘Don’t you think the birthday girl will get Barbie’s?  Give her something different.” Dorine and her staff treat their customers like friends where with honesty and loyalty every time.

Dorine does her share of marketing her business with the assistance of a local marketing company.  “We hired a small local marketing company to help us with our advertising and marketing efforts” says Dorine. “They really know the area and what works.”  The Cute Little Shop has been advertised in their local newspaper and magazines along with help from their Chamber of Commerce.  In fact, The Cute Little Shop is in the running a best gift shop in the local D Magazine (Dallas Area local magazine).  “If we win this honor, it will be so good for the store and we will get some great exposure.”  They also have their own Facebook page, website, email marketing and blogs to promote their store.  “We also do many events each month.  Soon, Dorine will host her first-ever event called “Hope Olympics”.  This special event is a fundraiser that will help raise money to build a local playground specifically for children with special needs. “If all goes well, we will continue to host this event until they raise enough money to build the playground” says Dorine.  The event and fundraiser will include selling raffle tickets for giveaways and 10% of all the sales for the event will go towards the playground fund. “To me, doing events like this is very important.  Giving back to the community is near and dear to our hearts.” Around the holiday time, they do another charity event where they collect new and gently used clothes for needy children.  In turn, they give their patrons who donate a coupon to use in their store. It’s a win-win for everyone.

October 2012 marks The Cute Little Shop’s second Anniversary. And what better way to celebrate this occasion then with a spectacular Halloween theme event.  “We have a lot planned for our anniversary event” says Dorine. “Not only will our store be decorated with Halloween items and décor, but we also will be selling Halloween toys and products.” According to Dorine, there will be drawing to enter and face-painting plus lots of food and drinks.  Additionally, The Cute Little Shop will conduct a costume contest for all ages.  “We are having only a one day event, but it will be a great one.”

For The Cute Little Shop, their first two years in business has been exciting and worthwhile.  “As a local business owner, we know that it’s very important to be involved with your community and local charities.  Again, it’s our way of giving back when we can “says Dorine.  Many other facets make up a productive, growing independent retail store including a strong and caring customer service along with a creative marketing plan.  “But for us, word of mouth is also shaping up to be very important.  It feels so good to have a customer come in and say they heard about us from other friends or acquaintances.  That is the best marketing tool around.”

Bridal Displays to Love and Cherish

By Catherine LeBlanc, 7/9/2012

Be inspired by these amazing window and tabletop displays that feature all things bridal and wedding. Here we are honored to have Absolutely Fabulous, a gift and home décor store in Huntington Beach, California, who LOVES sharing their creative display ideas with us.
Here we start off with a mystical trip down the aisle with this elegant window display.  WOW is all we can say.
The fairyland-like look and romantic elegance are exhibited in these bridal vignettes with lots of sparkle and mirrors.
When creating your wedding displays be sure and include floral boutiques and vases.  Whether they are silk or real flowers, the displays will bloom with romance.
Show off your wedding products in it’s full grandeur.  Remove specific pieces from their packaging such as wedding glasses and serving pieces and display them proudly out in the open.  This will allow your customers to touch and feel to their hearts content.
Absolutely Fabulous Unique Gifts and Decor is a national award-winning family-owned store in Huntington Beach, California. If you’re looking for that special and unique gift for her or him, on any budget, then Absolutely Fabulous is the place to go. From gifts for your wife or husband, to gifts for a newborn or a co-worker, and even gifts for your pet! Absolutely Fabulous has that unique gift for virtually any occasion. We are not your regular gift store. Visit us athttp:/store.absolutelyfabulous1.com/