Shopko brings an online gift registry to its stores
January 23, 2015 05:30 PM
Brides-to-be, expectant mothers and others looking forward to big gifting events can now set up online gift registries at all 307 of the locations of Shopko Stores Operating Co., whose general merchandise stores are spread from the Upper Midwest to the Pacific Northwest.
Shopko is using technology from MyRegistry.com, an online service that allows consumers to create a single registry with items from a variety of retailers, including Target Corp., Crate and Barrel and Williams-Sonoma. The Shopko deployment represents the largest installation of MyRegistry.com’s technology in physical stores, says Nancy Lee, president of MyRegistry.com. She says other major chains will soon deploy the technology, though she declines to name them.
The technology Shopko launched Jan. 15 lets a shopper open a registry at a store customer service counter. The store sends her an e-mail with a link that lets her download the MyRegistry.com mobile app to her smartphone. Once she has the app, she can go through the store and scan the bar codes of items she wants to add them to her gift registry.
Previously, Shopko only offered gift registries in its 131 larger-format stores, says Michael Cooper, senior vice president and chief customer officer at Shopko, No. 620 in the Internet Retailer Second 500.
“What we gained with My Registry was an online presence, expansion to our Hometown markets, which was an additional 166 stores, as well as the scanning functionality through their mobile app,” Cooper says. “Partnering with My Registry allowed us to get into market chainwide, as well as dot-com, for very little upfront investment. We really liked the features and capabilities that My Registry offered, so instead of trying to recreate that technology, it made sense for us to partner with them.” Shopko’s Hometown markets are its smaller-format stores.
Cooper notes that each Shopko store has a unique log-in to the MyRegistry.com portal used to set up a customer account so that the chain can track sign-ups by store.
For MyRegistry.com, which has been in business since December 2005, the addition of technology for use in retail stores adds to its options for retailers. Twenty-one retailers let customers that set up registries on their web sites aggregate those items into a single gift list that friends and relatives can view on MyRegistry.com. Some 300 mostly web-only retailers use MyRegistry.com technology to offer their own online gift registries, Lee says. In addition, she says hundreds of thousands of consumers have downloaded a MyRegistry.com button to their web browsers, which lets them click on any product they see online to add it to their gift list.
Traffic to MyRegistry.com has increased rapidly in the past year, according to web measurement firm Compete, which shows nearly 169,000 unique visitors to the site in December 2014 compared with just over 40,000 a year earlier. “2014 was a year of tremendous growth, and in 2015 we’re going to double or triple our business,” Lee says.
Part of the appeal of MyRegistry.com for retailers is that they can let shoppers create a universal registry of items they want from many stores, says Shawna Hausman, vice president of e-commerce and digital marketing at Giggle, a retailer of higher-end baby products that sells through eight stores and Giggle.com.
That, she says, lets participating retailers join forces against what is increasingly the common enemy, Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500.
“We’re all banding together to fight the Amazon effect, which comes up in everything retailers are doing,” she says. “People are very comfortable shopping on Amazon, and many have Prime so they get free two-day shipping. We have to do what we do so much better than Amazon, the product curation and customer service and education on baby products. We’re all linking arms and working with Nancy to create universal registries.”
Lee says the typical bride registers with three or four stores, and wants to add a dozen or so other items from various boutiques. Plus, she says, “the groom may want a power drill from Home Depot.” By setting up a registry on MyRegistry.com, all those items can be aggregated in a single list for friends and relatives to view. She says the typical baby registry leads to about $1,800 in purchases, and a bridal registry around $2,500.
One problem Hausman encountered when she joined Giggle in December 2013 was that many consumers creating a registry on Giggle weren’t checking a box to have their product choices added to a consolidated registry on MyRegistry.com. Having previously worked with MyRegistry.com while she was at the West Elm brand of Williams-Sonoma, Hausman contacted Lee for advice and Lee suggested that Giggle leave that box checked, letting customers uncheck it if they did not want to have their Giggle selections listed on MyRegistry.com. That change significantly increased the number of customers whose products now appear on MyRegistry.com, Hausman says, without providing details.
Giggle also has enhanced its registry, aware of the competition from Amazon, including the free shipping for members of Amazon Prime, the service that provides free, two-day shipping and other perks for an annual fee of $99. The Amazon Baby registry also offers 10% off every item purchases from a gift registry, and 15% off for members of the Amazon Mom program, as well as free returns for 90 days. Giggle now offers free shipping on everything bought from a gift registry, and promises the customer who creates the registry rewards in the form of a gift card—the customer gets 10% of the value of purchases from the registry plus $25 in value. But she only gets the card once the discount adds up to $100, which means purchases from the registry must total at least $750.
That creates an incentive to add more, higher-ticket items to a registry, Hausman says. It’s not unusual for a shopper to receive a $225 gift card from the promotion, and that sometimes leads the customer to use the value on the card for “a stretch purchase,” such as an $1,800 baby glider.
Giggle and MyRegistry.com also have integrated their systems, so that an item bought on Giggle, for example, quickly comes off the MyRegistry list, while items added show up on both sites. Hausman says that’s important, because many brides or expectant moms check their registries several times a day, sometimes adding or deleting items. “They manage it like their stock portfolios,” she says.
Retailers pay MyRegistry.com a fee for items purchased on the site. That commission generally ranges from 5-12%, Lee says, with lower fees for low-margin products like consumer electronics. The registry service for bricks-and-mortar stores is charged on a per-store basis, with the fee running about $200 per month per store, she says.