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Registered Independent

The Gourmet Retailer
July, 2011
By Jennifer Strailey


Local Retailers Build Bridal Business One Happy Cookware Customer at a Time

Now We're Cooking

Cookware is the most requested item on bridal registries. In this second installment of The Gourmet Retailer's 2011 Cookware Series, we share bridal registry sales strategies from successful retailers, plus new products from leading manufacturers.


Stainless-steel cookware is a vital part of the product mix at The Chef's Shop in Great Barrington, Mass.


Like many independent retailers of kitchenware, you may be wondering how to compete for a greater share of the billion-dollar wedding registry market as consumers become increasingly wrapped up in big-box store gift-giving. While the competition is unquestionably fierce, independents distinguish themselves with unparalleled, personalized service that has new generations of customers saying 'I do' want to register with my local kitchenware retailer.

Courting engaged couples for their registry business can be well worth the effort. According to The Knot Market Intelligence 2010 Bridal Registry Study, 1.5 million or 88 percent of engaged couples in the United States registered for gifts last year. The third-annual study from the media company that runs the top two wedding websites – TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com – further found that the average family member spends $146 on a wedding gift, while friends of the couple typically spend $79.

For the last decade, cookware has topped china as the most favored registry item. The Knot study found that the average number of gifts a couple registers for is 151, with bakeware (91 percent) and kitchen appliances/electrics (90 percent) being the most popular registry selections.



The growth potential for independent retailers determined to build their cookware and high-end category sales through wedding registries is limitless. Successful specialty stores are expanding their registry business through a focus on outstanding customer service both for the engaged and their gift-givers, online and in-store incentives, and making the entire process convenient and enjoyable for all involved.

Good Things in Small Packages
Janis Johnson, president and founder of the Dallas, Texas-based Gourmet Catalog & Buying Group, a company dedicated to the success of independents by providing solutions to big-box advantages, has been a champion of mom-and-pop retailers for more than 30 years. She is a firm believer that there are benefits to being small and that independents can leverage those assets to win over customers with their bridal registries and beyond.

'In-store assistance is the No. 1 advantage small retailers have to support their in-store registry,' Johnson says. 'Most stores advertise that they have bridal registry, and taking the next step by truly marketing a bridal registry program and training the staff to follow certain protocol will result in a greater dollar volume generated by the registry. In addition, this level of customer service will ensure return visits.'

Every time a couple registers with your store, you have a captive audience and the opportunity to educate potentially lifelong customers. Use this time to get answers to key questions about the couple's culinary lifestyle, says Johnson, who recommends that retailers ask the following:

  • How frequently will you prepare meals at home?
  • Which of you will be doing the cooking?
  • What pans are currently in your kitchen?
  • Do your pans need to be upgraded, or have you already focused on quality?
  • Do you enjoy entertaining?
  • Are you inclined to assemble meals, rather than actually cook foods?

(For retailers new to the registry business, Johnson also recommends a service used by many Gourmet Catalog retail members called Your Registry. The California company, owned by Elsa Pinto-Melikian, assists independent stores with the set-up of in-store registry, which also extends to online, and includes a basic program and custom a la carte service.)


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© 2011 Stagnito Media

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