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Gift registries only solve half their users' problems

Why gift registries only get their users halfway there, and the integration they need to take it over the finish line.

The ‘present’ present

Anyone celebrating Father’s Day today has likely set up one or more gift registries for their babies, and many have also had to do something similar with a wedding registry. Advances in ecommerce have expanded these registries across multiple retailers. Want to get your kiddo a Wilco Onesie? Or a mustachifier? With the proliferation of online registries, it’s yours! Anything is possible…sort of. 

Novelty binkies aside, gift registries today are still little more than lists with links. The primary function is only to discover what people want (which is a pretty basic functionality), not an efficient way to keep all parties in sync about what they want, what’s been purchased, and when it may arrive. If we break it down, this “list-with-links” approach is a very basic way to abstract the relationship between three parties:

  • Receivers 
  • Givers 
  • Merchants 

The current model primarily benefits merchants: the primary effect is to direct traffic to the merchant’s online store.

Shoppers have to link out to purchase the product. That creates some undue friction. Registries can’t do bi-directional updates to gift givers and receivers because they lack direct connections with merchants. This means there’s no efficient way to know if a product was purchased. Unless you really want three identical “Jammin’ with Daddy” tees, this puts an unnecessary burden on the gift giver to manually make sure the registry is accurate.

While that bi-directional data exchange is crucial to solve the second half of the gift registry equation, registries today also: 

  1. Lack accurate or up-to-date product info, 
  2. Don’t offer the ability to buy from multiple merchants at once, 
  3. Don’t provide tracking or other updates after an item is purchased. 

All of these mean headaches for the shoppers, confusion for the receiving parties, and big missed opportunities for the registries themselves.

It could be so much better.

The possibility

A more integrated registry experience that focused on all three parties would offer a smoother experience for gift-receivers and gift-givers. This would only help the registry improve their customer experience and maximize revenue in the process. We’ll call this the “integrated” gift registry. 

An integrated gift registry would focus on optimizing the experience for both givers and receivers. It would do this by providing:

  • Accurate product info: Perfectly accurate product info sourced in real time from a merchants product catalog. That info would automatically populate when a receiver builds their list. 
  • Multi-merchant carts: Gift givers could create their own custom gift assortments and purchase with a single transaction, even if the items come from different merchants. 
  • Embedded checkout: Embedded checkout would offer expediency to the gift giver (who likely just wants to enter the registry, find what they need, and purchase without ever visiting the merchant’s site. 
  • Live registry updates: A gift receiver’s list automatically updates once an item has been purchased. No manually updating, and no duplicate (or triplicate!) orders.  
  • Order updates: With an integrated gift registry, gift receivers would have a single destination to track all of their gifts before, during, and after they’ve been purchased.

These potential features are not from a distant future, nor do they require an entire new tech stack. To offer integrated gift registries, these channels only need one thing: a well-designed ecommerce integration with ecommerce platforms and/or merchant stores.

The future

That API is Violet. 

Our ecommerce platform integration was built for scenarios just like this. Violet gives any online channel (in this case the registry) the ability to reduce friction, increase retention, and streamline commissions and payouts. For gifting platforms this kind of integration finally delivers on the full promise of their product.

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10.4.2022
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