Traditional gift stores are taking the biggest hit in the bridal industry with online registries such as OurWishingWell.com now claiming a large share of the rapidly expanding $5 billion industry - making giving and receiving gifts easy and time-friendly.
At the end of this month, Sydney a couple will do what over one hundred thousand people do each year in Australia - get married. But well before that sacred moment, their engagement has already transformed them into something else: a dream target for practically every retailer in the country.
The 2006 Bride to Be cost of love survey has estimated the Australian Bridal Industry to have revenues of over $5 billion per year, with the average twenty-something couple spending around $35,000 on the event itself. The gift registry sector - where the happy couple lists what they would like their guests to buy for them - is estimated at tens of millions. Take all those marriage-minded twenty somethings and all that shopping, and the only next logical step was for the bridal space to go online. And it's not only the wedding space that has taken the registry idea online - many other special occasion registries have moved online too.
From an IT point of view, a retail store gift registry is a relatively complex set of database and supply chain interactions. The database has to present a secure environment to the person who's registering. That information is then displayed to those who are buying the gifts. If a specific gift is selected, it is removed from the list before anyone else orders the same thing. Meanwhile, the database has to interact with the retailer's inventory lists, showing what's in stock and, in the best of all possible worlds, alerting buyers and registrants when things are on back-order.
In an increased number of cases, there is a very narrow window between wedding announcement and wedding date which leaves no time to be back-ordering and waiting for items which are out of stock.
To address this gap in the online gift registry model, Joseph Renzi created OurWishingWell.com - a new concept gift registry where the bride and groom can list items from any store - or even money to help pay for the event.
Joseph Renzi, says online giving is becoming very popular. "Online gift registries are a big draw for busy people. Usually you have to go to multiple stores and consolidate what you do, which can be very painful, especially dragging the groom to the mall,"
"We wanted to make sure everything was made easy for the guests - we didn't think it was right to ask for cash, so OurWishingWell.com was the perfect answer," says bride-to-be Melanie. With friends and family scattered around the country, she says, "today, it's almost a must."
"When we started this project, it was really important that we maintained common services and developed an online solution catering to different needs, as opposed to a single store registry," says Joseph Renzi, CEO of OurWishingWell.com.
"The problem with working with retailers in this type of situation is they have order systems that are slow and may not be updated as quickly as people who use the Web are accustomed to," Renzi said.
"Not everybody wants to order all their gifts from one location".
OurWishingWell.com has become so popular amongst all type of celebrations, that the brick-and-mortar stores' are running scared. "OurWishingWell.com is more efficient for both the hosts of the event, and saves time for the guests," says Renzi.