Universal Gift Registries: The New Must-Have in Retail Mobility Solutions
With the dawn of the digital era, the retail industry has implemented a wide variety of mobility solutions and other enhancements to drive new revenue streams and boost customer engagement. But one key area is often overlooked in this effort: the gift registry.
While registries were once the domain of weddings and other major life events, the past few years has seen an explosion in their use for more common occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. Meanwhile, the array of goods being purchased through registries has expanded from fine china and silverware to common household items, toys and even tools. This has helped make gift registries a $35 billion-per-year industry,1 giving retailers a critical asset in an increasingly competitive environment.
In many cases, however, retailers have failed to take full advantage of emerging technology to lower the capital and operating costs of their registries and to ensure they can fully engage with customers through the plethora of newly available access channels. This is where a universal gift registry can have a major impact. By uniting advanced technologies like IBM’s kiosk and retail support systems with established online registry service providers like MyRegistry.com, retailers gain a powerful platform to meet all of their registry needs both now and in the future.
As experience from early adopters has shown, a universal gift registry can benefit retailers in a number of ways:
Low Startup Costs
Building a registry through an online provider can be done at a fraction of the cost of creating one internally, and it’s much cheaper to maintain on an ongoing basis. Very little in-house expertise is required, and the user interface is highly intuitive, allowing for a simplified and rapid development cycle.
Expanded Marketing Opportunities
By logging on to MyRegistry, customers are no longer limited to a single retailer’s goods but can expand their searches to a wide variety of categories. A shoe store, for example, can gain traffic from shoppers who entered the registry through a clothing store or an athletic equipment supplier. A toymaker can pick up feeds from a party store or a children’s apparel shop. And for smaller specialty retailers, this provides a crucial competitive advantage in an era of global e-commerce and big-box stores.
Omnichannel Customer Engagement
By combining the MyRegistry.com online service with IBM’s kiosk and data support systems — which are provided under a service-based model to reduce startup costs — retailers have the ability to link customers to their registries in any way they choose, whether it be in-store, online or mobile. At the same time, IBM provides a number of integrated point-of-sale support capabilities, such as order management, asset and inventory tracking and return logistics.
The service-based model also provides a streamlined process for implementing new services and technologies as they become available. Since ongoing support is handled by MyRegistry.com and IBM, the combined platform can be upgraded with device-level and machine-to-machine capabilities that support the burgeoning Internet of Things, as well as the latest in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. These capabilities continually improve the customer experience without overburdening sales staff and support personnel.
By implementing a universal gift registry, retailers benefit from a full, turnkey solution that meets all the requirements of a modern, digitally oriented business model optimized around revenue expansion.
The retail industry has always revolved around lowering costs and improving customer service. By improving the effectiveness of their gift registry, organizations can take advantage of a rapidly evolving retail environment rather than be outplayed by the next generation of nimble competitors.