May 4, 2004, 12:00 AM

REI gets 6,000 customer gift lists in first 8 weeks of gift registry

In the first eight weeks of offering a multi-channel gift registry, REI garnered 6,000 gift lists and thousands more new customers, says Joan Broughton, vice president of multi-channel programs.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

In the first eight weeks of offering a multi-channel gift registry, outdoor sports gear and apparel retailer REI Inc. garnered 6,000 gift lists and thousands more new customers, says Joan Broughton, vice president of multi-channel programs. "The response to our integrated gift registry has exceeded every projection," she says.

The gift registry, which can be accessed through REI’s REI.com and REIOutlet.com, by telephone and through in-store web-based kiosks, was launched without an extensive marketing campaign, Broughton says. REI limited its promotional efforts for the registry to home-page links, in-store signage and communications between in-store shoppers and store employees.

Customers can set up REI gift registries by calling a customer service agent, building the registry online or using a hand-held device to scan selected items in a store. Purchases, whether made online, by phone or in stores, result in automatic updates of the registries so customers who created the registry can see online which items have yet to be purchased. REI will also make suggestions online for additional products.

REI took about a year and a half to prepare for the gift registry’s launch, Broughton says. To see how significant outdoor sports equipment and apparel could serve as gift-giving items, for example, it commissioned a national telephone survey of 800 consumers who had been known to participate in outdoor recreational activities. It found that 77% of women and 73% of men said they enjoyed socializing with friends when recreating outdoors, and that about half of both men and women said outdoor activities are a great way to build romantic relationships. The majority of its 6,000 gift lists are for planned weddings of couples who share such outdoor activities as skiing, hiking and cycling – all categories for which REI sells gear and apparel, REI says.

REI also modified its fulfillment operation to support the multi-channel registry, Broughton says. To accommodate online ordering of gift-wrapped boxes, for example, it needed to extend its pick-and-pack conveyor belt and train additional workers in the art of gift-wrapping, she adds. Purchasers can have the gifts delivered to an addressed provided in the registry, to themselves, or to a store for customer pick-up.

 

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