It’s a trend that we’ve been seeing a lot more of lately – the link to ‘Gift Registry’ on many retailer’s websites is becoming smaller and smaller and falling lower and lower on their homepage.  The frequency with which we see it being relegated to a semi-hidden status among other footer links or within a general gifts category is amazing.

My thought on why this seems to be happening is that e-commerce technology is progressing at a rapid pace.  And, while leading retailers are rushing to keep up, their gift registry is like the youngest child that gets left behind amongst all the chaos.    The e-commerce platforms get all the care and feeding leaving too little time and too few resources to properly maintain the gift registry platform. The unfortunate result is a multibillion dollar brand with a state of the art e-commerce site and a gift registry solution that looks and feels like it’s from a previous decade.  Hence, it’s slow migration to the bottom of the page and semi-hidden status.

While leading retailers are rushing to keep up with advanced e-commerce technology, their gift registry is like the youngest child that gets left behind amongst all the chaos.

Retailers can’t be blamed. Although gift registry is a massive $30 billion market annually, an advanced gift registry experience that attracts users requires a robust system that crosses many retail channels and can be extremely complex to implement and expensive to maintain.

As mentioned earlier, the leading e-commerce and POS system providers are moving at a rapid pace. They offer cutting edge technologies and omni-channel experiences that many retailers can only dream of. But when it comes to gift registry, they only offer the most basic functionality – implemented as some kind of ‘widget’ or an application that provides little more than a basic e-commerce experience.  Their built-in registry features fall short of what today’s millennial and Gen Z generations have come to expect from an online experience. So, while they may be a loyal day-to-day customer, they are often forced to seek gift registry services from a different retailer when it comes to their milestone life event. And that is where retailers are losing out on thousands of dollars’ worth of purchases created by a single customer.

Retailers need to acknowledge the immense sales and marketing value of gift registry and recognize it as standalone platform. As a separate technology that requires a very focused and dedicated user experience

So what’s the answer?  I believe that retailers need to acknowledge the immense sales and marketing value of gift registry and recognize it as standalone platform. As a separate technology that requires a very focused and dedicated user experience while functioning seamlessly with their core systems.

We don’t expect our car dealer to specialize in the safest car seats to put in our new car.  So maybe we shouldn’t expect today’s e-commerce platforms to specialize in gift registry.  It’s just not their core focus.