4 Weddings and a Bridal Shower: A Look at How the Wedding Registry Has Changed

4 Weddings and a Shower: A Look at the Wedding Registry

It’s been a month since our very own Stacy became a Mrs. As all good coworkers do, we threw her a surprise shower before the big day. Scanning her wedding registry to pick out the best gift got me thinking. Four women from the Ketner crew in Austin have now tied the knot. So, as the retail industry has evolved, how have our registry experiences differed?

From Catherine’s nuptials in 2003 to the Tung wedding over Memorial Day weekend, a number of things have changed.

Quick facts:

  • Wedding years represented – 2003, 2012, 2015, 2019 
  • Retailers represented for wedding registries – Target, Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Crate and Barrel, Pier 1
  • What were the biggest differences? A shift away from formal wedding china to post-wedding travel funds. 
  • And where did we find common ground? Come on, who doesn’t like getting gifts?

Going to the Chapel…and the Store…and Online

The argument in the industry is that despite the rise of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail isn’t dead. That trend can be seen in our wedding registry experiences too. Almost 17 years ago, Catherine and her husband did their registering in-store. This meant they didn’t have online access to make changes or sneak peeks to see what was purchased. Fast forward to my wedding in 2012, and Stacy’s this year. You’ll see that the store still has an important role. We enjoyed going in-person to kick off the act of registering, but found the digital experience helpful for reading product reviews and managing our lists.

In the movies, you’ll see couples buzzing excitedly through the store, using a barcode scanner to add to their wishlist. Stacy and her now-husband Alvin found that aspect of registering fun! My husband Thomas and I enjoyed the private event Crate and Barrel hosted (and still offers today). Engaged couples are allowed into the store early Sunday mornings for undistracted registering. Plus, there’s wedding vendor promos and free samples. Cake before lunch? Yes, please!

Love and Marriage, But Don’t Forget the Honeymoon!

Mariana and her husband Richie shared a home before their big day, which influenced their decision for how and where to register. Their two-bedroom apartment was pretty cozy, so they signed up for a Honeyfund account instead of a traditional wedding registry. What they wanted more than bedding or kitchen gadgets was to share experiences together. Through Honeyfund, family and friends could gift the travel-loving Fischbachs a surf lesson or a snorkeling excursion for their Hawaiian honeymoon. Although Mariana did say they received several Home Depot gift cards, which were spent pretty quick!

While Stacy and I share some similarities in our registry experience, Mariana and Catherine also have some parallels. Where they overlap is specific to their housing’s influence on wedding gift requests. While the Fishbachs opted for experiences over “things” because they were saving for a down payment, the Seeds were building a home. For this reason, Catherine needed practical things like end tables and a coffee table for their living room. She was also excited to pick out China settings. While she doesn’t use it often now, Catherine loves having something she will pass down to her kids. 

I Do…Love Wedding Gifts

Wedding season is underway, and we’re not the only ones contemplating the evolution of registries. Just last week, Retail Dive reflected on the history of the traditional registry, and Honeyfund’s founder gives her perspective there also. Here’s a stat we found interesting. Despite emerging trends around experiential requests and cash gifts, The Knot found that 97% of couples this year say they registered for retail products. 

Since we obsess over retail data for clients during the week, it’s fun when we get to discuss the overlap into our lives as consumers. Our conclusion is that retailers who will find relevance with the brides and grooms of tomorrow will be the ones that mirror broader retail trends. These retailers will provide options for both the thrill of in-store memory making, plus convenience and practicality too. Retailers should see wedding registries as a way to build brand loyalty, as couples associate a retailer with a joyful time in their lives.

retail technology news

Retail Technology News Roundup: Q1 2019

At Ketner Group, our year always starts off with a deep dive into the latest retail technology trends at NRF. However, after a three-day frenzy of innovation and announcements, the retail technology news doesn’t stop – it hits the ground running. While it may be hard to keep up with every piece of news, we’ve done our due diligence of tracking the important retail technology news in Q1. Check out the following highlights for the latest and greatest in all things retail.

Amazon Continues To Make Headlines

It’s hard to imagine a quarterly roundup where Amazon isn’t included. However, the company definitely made waves in several different areas in Q1. The first was when they backed out of their plans for a New York City campus. After their announcement, the community and a number of politicians made it clear that they opposed the retail giant’s presence. Surprisingly, the negative attention worked, and the company reversed its decision.

Also in Q1, reports showed that Amazon’s online grocery sales growth had slowed in 2018. Given their struggle with Amazon Fresh and Prime Pantry, it makes sense that their continued focus is on expanding Amazon Go stores. It will be interesting to see if Amazon leaves fresh management to the more veteran grocers and continues to focus on other products. According to Retail Dive, the company has “gained traction as a destination for plenty of products brick-and-mortar stores are known to stock.”

Surprising Statistics

The exciting part about following retail technology trends is that every now and again, new statistics or studies come out that conflict with what we may have thought about shopper behavior. For example, eMarketer forecasted that more than half of U.S. households will have Amazon Prime this year, in part due to their expanded offerings of product categories. Despite this projection, shoppers spent twice as much in physical stores than at Amazon during the 2018 holiday season.

These findings are interesting to explore, especially with an overwhelming number of “retail apocalypse” stories in the news. Perhaps consumers prefer eCommerce for routine purchases, but physical stores when shopping for one-off items. What’s more, the growing number of convenient click and collect options may be another factor, as well. This also helps retailers increase foot traffic as these shoppers often end up making another purchase once in the store. Not to mention the ability to be able to touch and feel products is still very important to consumers.

Brick And Mortar Or eCommerce?

This might explain why digital native brands continued to move into the brick-and-mortar space in Q1, including Wayfair. Webrooming and showrooming have only increased in popularity as consumers continue to research products before making a purchase. Conversely, Instagram announced a new checkout feature where users can buy a product without having to leave the app. This new feature offers an even more convenient path to purchase, as a Facebook survey found 87% of people have taken action after seeing product information on Instagram. This has the potential to make a great impact, especially as many influencers continue to use the app.

Ever-Changing Retail Technology News

The speed and unpredictability behind the retail technology industry is exactly why we like it! While certain patterns may emerge, keeping tabs on industry pioneers and leaders is essential to one’s own success. If you’d like to chat about the latest industry trends, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected]!

A Lou & Grey Love Story

This blog was furnished by our Nashville-based Account Manager, Kirsty Hughan.

Photo courtesy of Lou & Grey
Photo courtesy of Lou & Grey

I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it!

My sweetheart? The flagship store of a soon-to-be big time brand called Lou & Grey.

You may be familiar with the name. If you are an Ann Inc. fan, you’ll have seen the name on some of their clothing’s tags at Ann Taylor Loft. Lou & Grey started off as a line within Loft and has now branched into their own division under Ann Inc. The new retailer is slowly opening brick and mortar spaces throughout the country, positioned as a “tomboyish fusion of active and street wear, or ‘lifewear.’”

But this post is not about style—and trust me I could go on and on about how much I love the style—the post is about how the decisions of the brand tapped into ongoing trends in technology and buyer behavior to develop a retail environment that’s both fresh and effective.

The first trend the retailer noticed and ran with was active-wear. Traditional retailers like Urban Outfitters and Tory Burch, among others, have launched their own active-wear lines in the past few years based on the success of fitness brands like Lululemon and Under Armour. Beyond that, the clothing line draws from the way modern women dress: focused on comfort, switching outfits seamlessly from day to night and valuing fit. That translates to natural fabrics, beautiful neutrals and fit perfect for any body type or age. There was a hole in the market, “lifewear,” and Lou & Grey filled it.

Photo courtesy of Lou & Grey
Photo courtesy of Lou & Grey

Next up, mobile POS. Lou & Grey has the benefit of opening brand new stores, meaning brand new POS software, while harnessing the deep technology already present in Ann Inc., namely their CRM. Open the door to the flagship store and you’ll find clothes on wall racks to either side, a long table with folded items and at the very end a beautiful, curated table. On that table? Accessories, books and a sheaf of tissue. Worked in retail? You’ll see a traditional Cash Wrap missing one item: a clunky computer powering POS. That’s because Lou and Grey’s point-of-sale is stealth, iPad powered and easy to move through the store. This not only declutters the space, increasing the easy going feel of the brand, it makes customer interaction easy. Need to do a quick ring up in the dressing room? No problem.

But my personal favorite trend Lou & Grey builds upon is the re-valuing of local artisans. Integral to the brand is the Makers Movement, Lou & Grey’s curated collection of third-party vendors focused on their craft. The Westport store features makers from throughout the country, with a larger focus on vendors from New York and Connecticut than their Texas store, who focuses more highly on—you guessed it!—Texas. Next to each maker’s items is a beautiful, hand written card featuring the name of the maker, their location and a description of why they come highly recommended. Talk about educating the consumer, and the sales associates. As someone easily swayed to shop locally instead of with a large chain, this personal touch wins me over and increases my brand loyalty.

What strikes me about each and every one of these trends and executions is the ease by which Lou & Grey integrates them into a retail space. As big brands grapple with how to capture customer attention and launch challenging technological tools, it is refreshing to see a retailer focus on a few key trends integral to their brand. Now you know more about my sweetheart I wouldn’t be upset if you fell just a little in love too.