Carole Sloan, founding editor-in-chief -- Home Textiles Today, 9/10/2001 12:00:00 AM
Attention all senior retail management with registry programs!
It's time to pay a visit to your sites and try to use them. It's also time, perhaps, to try to develop your own list for others to use.
Recent experience pointed out some of the challenges facing those registered and those trying to make a purchase.
Knowing the soon-to-be-wed couple had registered at one of metro New York's largest department stores, I searched the retailer's newspaper advertising for a clue as to what phone number could be used. Surprisingly, this department store listed metro locations but no phone numbers. Have you ever tried to get through a major retailer's main switchboard?
The store did publish the number of its personal shopper service, and a phone call to that number connected me to bridal registry. Now the fun began.
A nice enough person answered the phone and assured me the wish list would be faxed post haste; and after nearly a day it arrived.
Selections made, I made a phone call to the registry number, and a less-than-alert person took the order; they checked, found out that neither item I chose was available, and had no clue when they would be.
Back to the drawing board. Made a second series of selections, made the phone call and — yes — these were not in stock, no clue as to when, etc.
These were not exotic items. They were the basic kind of things for the home that customers expect department stores to have in stock, or at least have them on order for reasonable delivery.
Then there's the case of a soon-to-be bride who registered at a department store and a national specialty chain, the latter because she couldn't put enough together online at the department store to fill her needs. And the gizmo that Target promotes for its Wedd Club that lets customers walk the store and electronically make their selections does not appeal to this bride. She wants to make selections on the website, which does not nearly replicate the headquarter store's assortments.
Only a personal relationship with a senior store official who assigned a star registry person to the situation saved the day.
What this points out is that registrants shopping at branches of department stores don't have full access to the retailer's assortment, and also that there's a long way to go in shopping online and via registries.
We would love your feedback!
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