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New Niches: Gift Registry that Keeps on Giving

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Hardware Retailing
January, 2011



Retailers today are becoming more creative to serve the needs of their markets and stay ahead of the game. Retailers like Cole Hardware in San Francisco, are using gift registry services more frequently as a way to attract business from new homeowners and future newlyweds.

Rick Karp, president of Cole Hardware, uses the services of Your Gift Registry, an all-inclusive registry company that implements custom solutions for all sizes and types of stores.

"Having stores in San Francisco, we felt that 'Urban Gift Registry' would resonate," Karp said. "Our vision is for people to register for weddings, birthdays, housewarming parties, etc. Partnering with YourGiftRegistry.com was a natural. Now we have a program in place from A to Z."

Elsa Pinto-Melikian, president of Your Gift Registry, thought of offering registry for hardware stores when she wanted to register for her own wedding at a hardware store, but the store didn't offer the service.

"I started Your Gift Registry 12 years ago because I noticed that a lot of independant retailers didn't have an online registry," she says. "I don't shop at big-box stores because I want good service and I wanted to be able to register at the places I shop. Our goal is to even the playing field for the independant retailer when it came to registry services."

Your Gift Registry focuses on three areas to implement registry services in your store. First, it provides a store with all the necessary documents, complete with a registry planner specific to the store to help customers plan their gift registry. Second, Melikian will personally train managers and staff either in person or via phone. Third, the online component of the registry is created. Using the store's inventory and a POS scanner, the customer will scan their "wish list" of products, which is tansformed into an electronic list. Your Gift Registry takes the list and formats it online — including photography of products — onto the registry website that becomes part of the store's website.

"Hardware stores that sell housewares, garden items, giftware, and have the depth in tools and household goods are a natural place for people to register. I'd highly recommend it to businesses that are willing to commit the time, energy, marketing and investment dollars," Karp says. "Customers will recognize and appreciate it, even if they don't use it heavily."

Melikian agrees, which is why she partners with so many independant hardware stores.

"The best thing about registry is that it's not only an opportunity to make money, but it's also an opportunity to make a relationship with new customers," she says.

For more information, check out YourGiftRegistry.com.

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© 2010 North American Retail Hardware Association.

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