They announce their engagement via Twitter and post a picture of the ring on Facebook. Once the wedding plans get underway, the happy couple pins their choices for cakes, flowers and gifts on Pinterest. The bride has a social media posse and they become a critical factor in her decision-making process.
In its 2014 American Wedding Survey, Brides magazine revealed that social media is the No. 1 way for brides-to-be to connect with all things wedding during the planning phase, with 75 percent doing so vs. 56 percent just two years earlier.
Technology and social media, which are part of the fabric of everyday life for millennials, has carried over to all wedding planning activities, including registry. “A bride and groom today won’t register at a store unless it has an online element,” said Elsa Pinto-Melikian, president and founder of Your Gift Registry, which works with independent retailers, including Gourmet Catalog members and Ace Hardware stores, to provide the registry infrastructure for merchants.
“A bride and groom today won’t register at a store unless it has an online element,” said Elsa Pinto-Melikian, president and founder of Your Gift Registry, which works with independent retailers, including Gourmet Catalog members and Ace Hardware stores, to provide the registry infrastructure for merchants.
In the business for 18 years now, Pinto-Melikian said today’s couples— many of whom are millennials— have embraced technology and expect that to be a part of their wedding planning as well.
Both members of a couple are involved in the process, she said, and more than 90 percent are looking for an online registry experience. “What’s happening if stores are seeing waning registry business, is it’s because of a lack of technology,” she explained. “We need to help stores embrace this person. The bride and her relatives and guests are your future customers. And registry is the cost of gaining new customers.”
Fortunately, said Pinto-Melikian, stores don’t need to alter their product mix, just how couples register and how gifts can be reviewed and purchased. “Just go on with the fabulousity you already have,” she said.
Even though registrants believe an online shopping experience is critical to their registry — “brides and grooms think it needs to be online to be seen” — Pinto-Melikian said studies show that 80 percent of purchases of registry gifts happen in store.
“This plays well for the retailer,” she said, “because it brings someone into the store.” What family and guests are doing is going online to look at the list and checking out the items on the website.
As part of embracing this new type of customer, Pinto-Melikian suggested stores ramp up their own social media efforts.
“Social media is fabulous for marketing your store,” she explained. Stores using her service can have brides link their wedding registry to their own website — and many brides do create a website. The Brides wedding survey noted that 37 percent of brides-to-be post photos and updates on everything from cake tasting to vendor visits and 64 percent pin content on Pinterest related to items they want to purchase or use for their wedding.
Getting the millennial bride to be part of a store’s social media network can be the start of creating a lifelong customer, said Pinto-Melikian. “What she will do is share her info with her posse. Create a fantastic experience for her, and you have her for life.”
If they have the ability to do so, she advised retailers to following their brides on social media and to create Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts to promote the store in a setting that appeals to the millennial couple.
“You probably have a millennial working for you,” she said, “who can keep a profile in that space.”
The millennial bridal couple is very different from their generation X and boomer parents and grandparents, said Pinto-Melikian. “You have a bride with a specific behavior pattern,” she said. “Don’t be afraid; suspend your judgment; and just provide the technology.”
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