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Registry Offers Growth For Independents

April, 2006
By Cynthia Ward Vesey, Associate Editor


NEW YORK— By helping stores significantly increase their business and gain loyal customers, gift registries have become a popular offering at many independent retailers.

Elsa Pinto-Melikian, the founder and president of Your Registry, Inc., has been a registry consultant since 1998.

Headquartered in Sacramento, CA, Your Registry offers complete registry services to retail and service merchants and their clients, providing data, registrant and guest management.

Registry Do's & Don'ts

Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for developing a successful registry program from Elsa Pinto-Melikian, the founder and president of Your Registry, Inc.:

Do make an educated decision about registry. Take time to see whom you are selling to.

Do create a store that has heart and personality. You want it to be a destination resort.

Do focus on good customer service and the product mix. Know what the customer wants, likes and dislikes.

Don’t let the registry sit— plan, delegate, execute and promote. The challenge is the execution and promotion of the
registry— following through.

Don’t do it on paper. Have an on-line registry and use technology.

Pinto-Melikian’s extensive knowledge of registries has led her to run seminars on the subject, and she has been featured live on CNN to discuss the registry business. She has now written The Registry Book, which provides independent retailers with market information and tools for assessing and creating a registry program. The book, which is available on the YourGiftRegistry.com Website, is in a binder format and includes two hours of consulting.

“One of the goals of the manual is to empower specialty retailers— to give them the tools and do the work of preparing a registry,” commented Pinto-Melikian. “The book educates, assists and empowers independent retailers.”

She added, “My company is about leveling the playing field for independent retailers.”

Analyze This

According to Pinto-Melikian, it’s important to do a market analysis before taking on a gift registry. She suggests doing an analysis over 14 months. Here are the top questions she recommends retailers ask themselves:


You need to know who your market is and understand the demographics you’re dealing with, including the age of your customers. Do you have a young set of customers to enable you to launch a program and obtain revenue?


What is the community around you and who is your competition?


Who is your customer? If you have a more affluent clientele, what are you selling to them?

Succeeding in Business

There are many key elements needed in order for an independent retailer to produce a successful gift registry, noted Pinto-Melikian. Here are her top tips to help retailers create a successful registry:


Due Diligence— Do your homework. In doing your homework, you understand if you have the infrastructure— whether a small, medium or large specialty store— to manage and delegate [tasks] for a registry.


Technology— Don’t convince yourself that paper is going to work [for a registry]. If you don’t offer an on-line registry you’re not in the game. The perception by the couple is that more people will see the list and buy what they need.

You need to pay attention to young, technologically savvy brides and grooms. The number-one way to get their attention is through technology.


Promote— Every advertisement [for a retail store] should mention your registry. You need a visible presence in the store for the registry, and the staff needs to mention the registry to customers.

The Big Event

In order to improve a registry program and attract more customers to the registry service, Pinto-Melikian suggests her clients have small focus group events, inviting customers who are interested in registering or who are already registered. This allows retailers to find out directly from brides what they are looking for and interested in, she noted.

It is also beneficial to offer a variety of other events geared to brides and grooms, she said. “Focused events work better, such as newlywed cooking classes just for the bride and groom. If they get hooked on cooking, you’ll get more purchases.”

Advanced Technology

Pinto-Melikian emphasized that there are many benefits of having an on-line registry. Following are her main reasons why an on-line registry will enhance a store’s registry program:


An on-line registry gives you a bigger share of the pie and brands and promotes the store.


It gets the younger generation into the store so they age with the store. If you offer what they need they stay with you.

•  You capture [around] 150 qualified buyers and increase your customer base.


© 2006 - ICD Publications

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