Gift Registries Miss the Mark on Customer Courtship

Posted on November 24th, 2009 by

Our Mystery Shoppers recently turned their focus to gift registries, living the process both online and off at 25 stores and on 26 websites with bridal, baby and/or general gift registries. While compiling their experiences into a report (available for pre-order to download February 2010), I was astounded to learn how many merchants are “leaving the bride after the honeymoon.”

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On JCPenney’s website this instructional illustration familiarizes customers with use of the in-store kiosk before heading to the local retailer

Within stores, retailers woo customers by devoting resources and real estate to kiosks and dedicated personnel. Upfront 74% of these merchants shower registrants with guides, checklist, and tips to facilitate the process. And yes, technology investments have truly improved registry accessibility. Information is readily available and on more than half the systems we studied, kept active for a year!

Understanding today’s channel-agnostic consumers seek convenience and value, 84% of these merchants invest in cross-channel marketing to promote their registries. Across channels registrants are enticed with completion plan discounts. Then online, from the home page to registry-specific pages, customers are further romanced via conditional free shipping, partner offers, onsite tools, and many more promotional, traditional merchandising or gifting tactics.

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Land of Nod’s Shipping Confirmation Email : – “Good news…” is a nice lead-in for an email confirming that an order has shipped – Tracking links are present in the text and the order summary – Merchandising touts entice customers to check out seasonal products and new storage options – A call for product reviews suggests that they are “the quickest and easiest way to get your opinion heard”

But after the lists were made, and the orders placed, very few merchants continued to court these customers and sustain relationships with relevant email communication. For example, beyond their welcome and/or thank-you emails, just 4% provided email notification that the registry was available online or sent a follow-up survey about the registry experience for valuable feedback.

Opportunities to drive store traffic in support of a cross-channel experience were lost as 75% neglected to email registrants about store events for brides/babies. Only 12% sent a reminder to update the registry; even fewer (4%) sent notice of discontinued items or completion program certificates. Perhaps most surprising was that we never received notification when something was purchased from a registry and, on average, only 7.2 emails registry related emails were sent at all.

So, my message to merchants with registries is: continue to “ask for the next dance” post-registration, post-order and your ROI will be rewarded with increased AOV as these customers shop your channels ever after.

How do you think merchants can best use gift registries to build relationships with their customers?

To pre-order this report you may register for the download today. Thank you.
Tags: Gift registry, Bridal registries, kiosks, cross-channel marketing

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