Choosing Amazon's Gift Registry Over the Price Gun

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Customer Engagement
Customer Experience
Before I got engaged, I assumed waving a registry gun at household items in a store would be part of my prea-wedding experience. I was wrong. Instead, my fiancé and I registered on Amazon and filled our registry list in one hour. We chose the online retailer for the variety of items and price ranges as well as convenience.

Before I got engaged, I assumed waving a registry gun at household items in a store would be part of my pre-wedding experience. I was wrong. Instead, my fiancé and I registered on Amazon and filled our registry list in one hour. We chose the online retailer for the variety of items and price ranges as well as convenience.
Instead of walking into a store, it was much easier to click on the merchandise we wanted and update the list at any time on our smartphones.

Weddings are a multi-billion dollar industry and brick-and-mortar stores cannot afford to lose revenue to online retailers. However, foot traffic in U.S. stores is steadily declining. Brick-and-mortar retailers received only about half the holiday traffic in 2013 as they did three years earlier, according to in-store analytics provider ShopperTrak, which tracks visits at malls and large retailers via approximately 60,000 shopper-counting devices.

Bed Bath & Beyond, which also owns Buybuy Baby and Cost Plus World Market stores, is one of the latest retailers to fill the pinch from online rivals. The company's net income for Q1 2014 fell 7.6 percent to $187.1 million, or 93 cents per share. Analysts had expected 95 cents per share.

The Union, New Jersey company's stock has continued to drop from an $80.48 high in January. It closed at $59.19 yesterday. The company's second-quarter earnings forecast also missed estimates. Bed Bath & Beyond expects a profit of $1.08 to $1.16 a share in Q2, whereas analysts had forecast $1.20 on average.

Bed Bath and Beyond is fighting back with its own online and mobile offerings, such as an app that lets users scan barcodes and acts as a personal registry gun with added features. However, the company's efforts have yet to show results.

Part of the problem could be Bed Bath and Beyond's use of data. Amazon, for example, leverages its vast trove of user data to offer numerous recommendations. On its registry page alone, it lets users compare registries from couples who have registered for similar items to find complementary products, in addition to filtering products by room, brand, most popular, etc. Bed Bath and Beyond has yet to match those capabilities.

Other retailers are trying to integrate technology into store experiences. Macy's offers an app that, in addition to letting users scan barcodes into registries, uses GPS data to provide in-store directions for its flagship location in New York City's Herald Square.

Nordstrom's app lets users check if a clothing size and color are available in stores and the company experimented with sending sales associates the profiles of customers as they entered a location.

Even as in-store retailers try to catch up however, e-commerce continues to gain traction. Mobile e-commerce revenue could reach $50 billion this year, up nearly $8 billion from last year, according to predictive analytics provider Custora.

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EXPERT OPINION