Reaching the Bridal Market

Now is the time when retailers must prepare for the fast approaching wedding season. While the height of wedding season lies in July, August, September and October, couples are thinking about their registries early. A recent study, The Knot Market Intelligence Bridal Registry Study, found that 1.5 million (88 percent) of engaged couples in the U.S. registered for gifts the past couple years. It further discovered that the average family member spends $146 on a wedding gift, while friends typically spend $79. And while there is an obvious big store bias when it comes to gift registries, independent retailers can compete for a cut of the wedding day sales. Don’t let big box stores or ecommerce sites take over the billion dollar wedding registry market.

Outstanding efforts by buy local supporters, such as Alison Grappone, ensure independents’ success in increasing wedding gift sales. After planning her wedding four years ago, Grappone became aware of the lack of independent retail gift registries. As The Telegraph reports, “Grappone and her husband wanted local gifts from independent book shops and the community playhouse, or a share in a community supported agriculture program.” As a result, Grappone saw the opportunity to create a gift registry dedicated to independent retailers and nonprofits.

But there are other methods to provide gift registry services to those looking to support their local economies without the assistance of online directories. Independent retailers, especially those retailing kitchenware, can build their bridal business now by following a few simple steps. With an average number of 151 gifts on a couple’s registry, according to The Knot, retailers are encouraged to build their registry business through a focus on outstanding customer service, in-store incentives and a convenient, enjoyable process. Below are a few tips in reaching these goals:

1) Help the couple pick out products that fit their lifestyle. As any store owner should do, get to know your customer. The greater the effort you put in, the more likely you will gain a repeat customer. Couples looking to register don’t want to waste their wish list on items they won’t use. For instance, kitchenware retailers have the best opportunity to launch a successful registry as bakeware (91 percent) and kitchen appliances (90 percent) are the most popular gift selections. So, ask couples about their culinary lifestyle and use their answers to help determine what they need. A few questions to ask include: How frequently will you prepare meals at home?; Who will be doing the cooking?; Do you enjoy entertaining?; Are you inclined to assemble meals, rather than actually cook foods?

2) Help gift-givers envision the gift they are giving. Most wedding registries are online, providing customers with little chance to see the product before shipping. Independents, however, have the opportunity to make the shopping experience unique. For gift-givers looking to fulfill their purchases in-store, retailers could provide a bridal registry display center. These displays would feature a representative sample of the items on a couple’s registry. As Marg Junkan, owner of Cook’s Emporium, tells The Gourmet Retailer, “The response has been great. If you just hand someone a registry sheet they’re sort of lost. The displays really help because customers don’t have to walk all over the store looking for the registry items. It’s really encouraged them